Selling a Big Chain to Locals (By Bourree Lam, The Atlantic, September 15, 2016)
There have been decades of predictions that salespeople would soon be replaced by machines and robots, but the profession has proved them wrong: Roughly 8 million Americans currently work as cashiers and retail salespeople according to the Labor Department, up from a decade ago, making them the two most common jobs in the country.
But despite the job’s prevalence, many people don’t see retail jobs as careers. I spoke with Frankie Israel, a sales and service manager at West Elm in Charlotte, North Carolina, who switched from working as a teacher to retail. Israel talks about why shopping is so stressful, how your dream job might not be your career at the end of the day, and how being homeless for a stretch affected his job hunt. The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.