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Office vs. Retail

April 25, 2006 Business 1 Comment

Those of us who haven’t spent our lives building up a resume replete with volunteer jobs in Somalia, fear the searing rays of Sol, and reject the menacing effort of physical labour, have basically two choices for summer jobs: office and retail. Now, often a retail job is a lot easier to get, but if you’ve already gotten a lot of experience at one, then you have a real shot at getting an office job. If you are in just such a position, then I am here to help make the decision a little easier. So, office or retail?


In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, ultimate control over a population is achieved when citizens are not simply forced to serve a ruler, but for their will’s and mind’s to be broken, so that they actually love their ruler, known in the novel as “Big Brother.” This is precisely the procedure applied in the working world, and the degree to which it is applied is the main difference between office and retail. In a retail job, even high ranking officials are often willing to grant some admission of the shittyness of the job, and of the company as a whole. An employee working under this environment is able to maintain some miniscule shred of identity and dignity by wallowing in self pity and hatred of his position.

Retail companies give their employees the occasional “small thing,” like some candy for good sales, generally rewards so meaningless they are offensive. Retail companies also take the occasional “big thing,” like robbing an employee of a promotion, or stealing his wages, these big things are obviously met with complete rage, and can be easily dealt with by pretending that one day you’re just going to quit.

The range of these small gives and big takes is severely restricted in an office position, thereby fully breaking the free will of employees and causing their unconditioned love of their employer. The “small gives” come in the form of casual Fridays and donuts, things that, rather than try to reward you, simply remind you that you work in an office. The big takes usually involve giving to a new employee their own desk, with their own computer and the promise that this will be their space for the duration of their stay with the company, then promptly kicking the new employee from this position. This leaves the new employee in a situation where he must work out of a goddamn box, latching onto the work stations of vacationing employees like a virus. These small gyrations in treatment quickly destroy an employee, and drive him to love his captors, as part of a conscious effort within a company to create a Stockholm syndrome amongst employees. The actions of employers can be compared to hypnotism, something that lulls a person into comfort and surreptitiously robs them of free will.

Office jobs have a definite tendency to let you sit down for the majority of the day. It really depends on who hires you, but the tasks you perform while sitting will likely range from the most monotonous and inane tasks on the planet to non-existent tasks, where you just pretend to do something, hoping every breath will be your last so that you may escape the crushing boredom of your existence. Retail jobs typically force you to stand in one spot for long hours. While in this position, you are likely to be forced to interact with the most notoriously evil segment of humanity, customers. Though thankless and miserable, this task does have the benefit that you’re actually doing something, and don’t quite have the time to beg for death.

Office jobs typically pay better than retail, which is theoretically a benefit, but in reality fairly meaningless. See, the boredom faced in an office usually exceeds that of a retail position so much that an employee often finds himself spending much more money whilst in the job. For a summer student this may mean an increased intake of video games and music, things which demand ever increasing funds, yet never seem to fill that vacancy of a satisfying existence. This is also why society is constructed to push people into unsatisfying office positions, so as to allow maximum consumption of useless shit to drive the economy. Also, be warned that long term positions result in hard hitting addictions like hookers and cocaine. A retail employee is much more likely to spend his time drinking, partying, and trying to get laid. While these activities may sound as expensive as those listed for an office employee, they are actually required in much smaller doses due to a retail employee not needing to fill the gaping void left by his departed independence, as opposed to his office counterpart.

It is my solemn task that for all of these reasons I must declare retail work preferable to office work. Keep in mind that I am referring only to the kinds of jobs people do for money because they can’t think of anything better to do over a summer, and that if by some random chance or circumstance you find something you actually enjoy, you should cling to it and never let it go, for you truly are the luckiest.

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. ShufflingHead says:

    Well. I believe the author intended to educate, but the piece swiftly degenerated into a satirical diatribe on the nature of work-society. Yes, both office and retail positions have their ups and downs, but to state that a mind-numbing deskjob would lead one to spend their money on hookers and cocaine is a leap of fanciful thinking that is one too great. I instead suggest that you try both positions, and find which one you like on the basis of experience. PERSONAL experience. Realize that neither of these positions will challenge even the least ambitious of you.

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