The sunsets are starting earlier and earlier these days, and even though the summer humidity is still with us, I can sense that autumn is not too far around the corner. It seems like the warm season here in Minnesota is flying by. Before I know it, I’ll be counting the number of days that I can still hit the links or go for a run without bundling up. But at work, it is a whole different story.
For anyone that works in retail, you know what I am talking about. Right now everything is focused on HOLIDAY.
HOLIDAY: those magical nine weeks between the beginning of November and the end of December. HOLIDAY: the period when an entire year can be made…or not. HOLIDAY: when planning never stops; we haven’t just been focused on HOLIDAY for the last month or so – there are teams in the office that have been focused on it since February
Like any business, we are always “planning to plan.” (Okay…actually we plan the plan, but I couldn’t help myself with a little “Office Space” reference.) Right now, in fact, work has started in preparation for the spring of 2012. But from my experience working in retail, there is that unique nature of having to balance the short term with the long term. And that just inherently turns my calendar upside-down.
I view my months and year in a completely different way since moving into this industry. My prior gigs in the entertainment business or the advertising sector (for financial services clients) weren’t quite as relegated to seasonal peaks and valleys. It was about driving new entertainment titles whenever they would be released or continuously driving customer acquisition.
My entire take on events and holidays is completely skewed by my work. Thanksgiving isn’t about spending time with family around a great meal….Thanksgiving happens to be the day before the biggest shopping day of the year. Christmas is not just be about sharing gifts with loved ones, it represents the day following the last big day to grab customer sales. I don’t just remember Mother’s Day because of the holiday it symbolizes; I have it etched in my brain that the week leading up to Mom’s Day is one of the biggest shopping periods outside of December. Labor Day isn’t about a day of rest from working; it signals the conclusion of the back-to-school shopping season.
But even with my calendar thrown off, there are byproducts to this effect that I never appreciated before. I love going into stores on Black Friday and feeling the buzz in the air. I dig seeing the reports coming in from our field teams on major holidays about how we are doing and what the competition is up to. I find it refreshing to get the feedback of our sales associates during major campaigns such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and hear what their take is on how the marketing efforts are working.
There’s still about a month left before Labor Day comes around. That’s enough time for me to get out there and enjoy the rest of the short Minnesota summer. Ride the bike. Hit the lakes. Swing the clubs. But when my mind turns to the office and my work, it’s like it is already 2012.
(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons license: Federico Fasce.)