Why Retail Is Better Than Journalism

Sure, Caitlin Kelly was desperate when the freelance writer took a shopgirl job 18 months ago. But you know? It beats the endless, stupid drama of the newsroom in many ways.

Compared with journalism, here's where retail is superior, as outlined in Kelly's New York Times column Sunday:

  • No divas. " In journalism, ... my workplaces often felt like rooms filled with... enormous and fragile egos."
  • No yelling. "In journalism, I've had managers who routinely shrieked abuse."
  • Sales numbers trump politics. "In journalism, all too often perception helps people get ahead."

Kelly's ongoing retail adventure has the ring of a common urban fantasy: a simpler, happier life maybe on a farm, or in what is assumed to be a less intellectual, more physical job. She warns it's not so wonderful. The pay is so bad she couldn't go full time if she wanted to, and some customers are total jerks.

And yet such a career shift should particularly seductive to media workers right about now. With the pool of jobs shrinking, office politics aren't getting any less intense or byzantine. Everyone, save perhaps for the well-connected rich, is getting a little desperate, paying for the skimpiest of positions, writing for free on blogs and elsewhere and sniping viciously at current and former bosses.

At a clothing store, PR agency or a strip club, dropping out of media has never looked better. (Actually it probably looked better back when there were some other jobs. Especially in finance. And maybe during the Great Depression. But you know what we mean we're coming from, right, fellow hacks?)