2015 was a weird year of change and discovery for me. I left a job to study makeup artistry at Weltec in the first half of the year, and after gaining my qualification I became Assistant Counter Manager for Clinique at Farmers Lambton Quay. In December I handed in my resignation after working for Clinique for six months.
There’s a lot I could say about the past year, and I’m sure I will in time. Unfortunately, working in cosmetics retail doesn’t really work for me at a fundamental philosophical level. Working with skincare and makeup all day is great. Introducing people to new products and routines that can help them achieve the changes they want in their skin is great. Showing people how to apply makeup is great. Clinique is great!
Having a monetary target to reach each day is not great. Sometimes I’d have customers who clearly didn’t have a lot of money or were unprepared to commit to the expense of the full 3 step system that Clinique is based around, and I just don’t have it in me to try and push someone to spend money if they don’t want to. I’d spend fifteen minutes with a client applying their makeup, talking about their skin and then their day and then their life, and I’d want to tell them they didn’t need to spend $70 on some foundation; their priorities were clearly elsewhere. It’s painful to think about how many mothers brought their pre-teen daughters to counter, projecting their own insecurities on their children and wanting to get their nine year olds onto anti-acne skincare they just didn’t need.
Other things that are more mundane but equally unpleasant are all the aspects of working retail, which don’t need dwelling on. I know I’m spoiled for never having worked retail before, and I now have infinitely more compassion for everyone who does. I’ve always made a real effort to be kind and communicative with retail and hospo staff, but seeing how many people treated me like a robot or a servant, barking instructions at me or looking right past me, has made me want to be even nicer to everyone I meet. I also feel like I need mobilise all retail workers in the country into union action so they get treated better by their employers. That one’s probably not going to happen, but I have always been an advocate of unionisation so, sidenote, if you’re in a job where union membership is available to you, you should join.
Clinique is a great brand and I’ve learned a lot about skincare in the past six months. I’ve also learned a lot about myself, and I’m prepared to admit that it’s not where I belong. I don’t think I made a mistake doing what I did; if I hadn’t done it, I would always wonder what it would be like. Next week I’m starting a new job that I’m pretty excited about. Hopefully 2016 will be a lot happier for me than 2015 was, and I’m hoping that will mean I have more room in my life for blogging, too.