Career: I'm Leaving H&M

Hello Im Clo, Career at H&M 02

So! The time has come, today is my last shift at H&M, it's been over two years since I started the job I don't even remember applying for in the first place and it feels like I'm closing off a very important chapter of my life. I get lots of questions about working at H&M and as I am officially no longer an employee, I thought I'd answer some of those questions, whilst documenting some of my experiences I've had, that I can look back on when I'm old and grey or if I ever need to give my future children career advice and the brains a bit hazy. (Talk about planning in advance.

First up!  Why am I leaving H&M?  I have a new job! I'm off to work in research, concept development and future forecasting at an agency in London. I'm putting my degree to use and pursuing something I'm truly motivated by and excited about.  I've learnt a lot at H&M and I'm going transfer some of that knowledge into my new job.

For the first 18 months after joining H&M I loved my job. Being paid to look after clothes was just amazing. I loved it and the people I worked with made it fun and enjoyable, but over time the customers were grinding me down. They'd shout in your face, blame you for everything, be rude, messy, disrespectful and take a shit in the fitting room and cover it with clothes. Yes, that really happened. I was sick and tired of horrible people and the things they'd do to get a discount or find someone to blame. It wasn't just one store either, I've been in several stores where customer have been this way. People wouldn't behave like that in Prada, but because the clothes are cheaper at H&M people behave like a pack of fucking wolves and in sale season, savage wolves. I could go on forever about the vile customers I've had, the threats and the truly hurtful things they've said about me, to my face and everyone in the queue behind. 'This ones a bitch ain't she' springs to mind. Happened. Totally mortifying. Just doing my job. I don't make the rules.   

Hello Im Clo, Career at H&M 03

I majorly digress. That's another post to write. Safe to say I have huge respect for retail workers and will always been clean, tidy and super polite when shopping in stores.

The teams I've been a part of have all got their positives and negatives but the positives outweighed the negatives. I've made some fantastic friends that will be life long buddies, I've learnt so much over my time with the company and have really developed a new set of skills. 

Getting a job in retail has taught me how to be a nice person, it has taught me that retail workers are more than people with a badge and that there is always a much bigger picture that people never see. 
I've had visual merchandising training, above and beyond what I'd had before joining H&M and have been able to grow better personally and professionally. 

H&M is an inclusive group of people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. The team is made up of people from all over the world bringing in their experiences from other markets and their previous teams and you feel that you really benefit from this global viewpoint. I've heard lots of negative things about other fashion companies, but H&M is one of the loveliest companies, full of vibrant characters allowed to be exactly who they are. Personality is not suppressed at H&M. 

Hello Im Clo, Career at H&M 04

Being sent to New Zealand was of course, a huge highlight and a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was brill, but very busy and very hard work, but what I learnt from that experience really stuck with me. And I made a few more friends along the way too! (*You ok UK!?*

After coming back from New Zealand I kind of hit a brick wall at work. I would have liked to progress and go into store expansion planning or visual expansion, but to do that with H&M they expect you to go through the career check points such as department manager, store manager and area team, even if you have a degree. All of that can take around 10 years to get to where I want to be and without sounding entitled, I have a degree that I want to use and I want to use it right now! I don't have any interest in any of the check point job roles and I'm a firm believer in not doing things for the sake of it. After all, no one wants a manager who hates their job. So with some support, feedback and guidance from university I looked at other options; starting with what I enjoyed doing, what I was interested in and I found a mind field of fantastic opportunities career wise I could pursue with my experience and my degree combined, and from that moment I knew that my journey with H&M would be soon be coming to an end.  I wanted to try something new.

I'm going into my new role (I'm so excited!) taking my in store experience and point of view and combining it with my interests in trends, street style and research. OMG I AM SO EXCITED. The feeling I feel now is how I felt when I started H&M and you really should be excited about your job, life is too short to spend a huge majority of your life at work, being miserable.

This post has gone on way more than I thought it would!

In summary, I've loved my time at H&M, I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for a long term career in retail and you don't have a degree and I'd recommend it if you're looking for part time work along side studying. The pay is great, the discount and offers are too good for your bank account and the team values really resonate throughout the entire company, which keeps everyone on the same page and working to the same goal.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teams that I've been a part of, both at home and abroad. I've learnt so much and there are probably too many people to name individually but you all know who you are! Thank you to H&M for having me, believing in me and trusting me.  I'm going to miss that discount card, the seasonal kick off parties and all my work buddies, but London is calling!

I wish everyone the very best with everything they do in the future. 

Lots of love,

Clo  :)

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