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The stark florescent lights of a grocery store...the quiet "ching" of a cash register...the bustling sound of shoppers pushing their way through crowds at the mall...who's life hasn't been affected by the retail industry?

Retail jobs are not the most glamorous. They don't pay top dollar; they require you to work nights and weekends. That said, retail jobs are readily available, provide employees with tons of opportunities for advancement, and, in short, make the world go 'round.

Think about it - what would happen if all the store clerks in the country just suddenly decided not to show up one day?

The truth is, at some point in your life, you're probably going to hold a job in the retail industry. Retail jobs come in all shapes and sizes (from cashier positions available to teens to administrative positions that require degrees) and there are both advantages and disadvantages to these positions. The key when it comes to the retail industry is to always strive for advancement. You can start off as a lowly retail sales clerk, move up to a retail manager position with some hard work, and then, someday, run the company.

It is important to note, however, that even though there are tons of retail jobs available at any given time in any part of the country you aren't guaranteed a position when you apply. Retail store owners and managers are still looking for employees who are willing to work hard, put on a smile when dealing with customers, and make that sale. Retail jobs aren't easy, and holding down a position in the retail industry - no matter where you are in your career - will teach you valuable lessons that you can take to other jobs over the course of your entire career.

Think a retail position might be right for you? Do your homework. Research a bit about pay rate, schedules, and job duties for whatever positions you are considering so that you're sure you're applying for a job that will fit your needs well.