Attn. all former customer service employees (need advice)

Given the broad range of people in both age/backgrounds on these forums, I am hoping to gather some insight or ideas of how I can build up my design resume with non-design related jobs.

I am mainly calling attention to those members who previously worked in any sort of customer service position in either retail or the food service industry. I am currently an assistant manager at a restaurant and was wondering if anyone could think of transferable skills from this position to a design position. Or I am in the situation where this job is worthless for design related skills and is just for funding any design studies or courses I need to help bolster my current skill set/knowledge. I realize that a job is a job sometimes (put aside any ego) and it is what you make of it. So with that thought, I am trying my best to either find design problems to solve within the workplace or utilizing my free time and increased pay to fund personal projects.

I believe that Bepster used to do something culinary related, Yo once worked at Mcdonalds oh so long ago, and a few other regulars I believe had retail type jobs (Most people sometime or another probably did a stint in customer service). Did these jobs help anyone in any way with their design career or simply give them some perspective and funding for their true passion towards a design career? Otherwise would it be in my best interest to leave this job and spend full time working towards finding design work? Or continue my job and spend whatever free-time I have leftover also working towards a design career?

I worked for 3 years at a grocery store and then 3 years at a call centre. I never thought of how the skills translate to design. I think it might be a too much of a stretch to try and elaborate in your resume. However, any previous job experience shows that you are reliable and loyal.

For giggles I used to have every job I ever had on my LinkedIn profile going back to my first job when I was 14. I’m not suggesting that you do that, but I personally feel that everyone should do a stint in customer service and/or retail, it is humbling and teaches you customer interaction skills, and design is a very customer-centric field. Being in the assistant manager role also shows that you have experience coordinating with employees than just doing a job, that’s not a bad thing either. What I’ve found is that these jobs show you have varied life/job experience and regardless of whether it relates to design it is still valuable.

If you are trying to parlay this experience into a design job without a design education then that’s a different story.

Of all 20 or so jobs I’ve had a few have been retail/customer service.

Probably the most useful was working in the trade section of a hardware store when I was studying ID. Learned a lot about buildings and hardware. Standard sizes of materials etc. This helped me with my furniture design path.

I can’t stress enough how important working in manufacturing is though. Retail is good, if it’s related but manufacturing gives you hands on experience with materials and tools. Nothing beats this.

Now when the guys in the factory at my work say something can’t be done, I can show them another way or accept what they are saying.

I was discussing this with one of my colleagues yesterday over lunch, if you can, definitely get experience in making stuff: manufacturing, welding, shoemaking, tailoring, whatever.

There’s an entire field called ‘service design’…some agencies lump it in with ‘experience’ design, and others call it out as their specialty…there’s a front page Core77 contributor, Tennyson-something, who is a practitioner.

How you literally parlay this experience into a design job is a challenge, without getting into the ‘meta’ aspects of the service job, how it flows, how each function supports the end experience or customer value…

Thanks for all the replies. I do have a degree in industrial design so I do have at least some foundation of knowledge. But based upon advice seen here, for the most part this job will simply show that I am loyal enough to work in an insanely high-turnover rate area and willing to work hard wherever necessary.

As far as information gathered for solving design problems, I am very aware of the POS system and the layout of the the store, otherwise the flow of duties and jobs assigned seems to be optimized for the most part. Currently the only problems to solve are lack of employees/cold weather.

Also, I am really considering signing up for classes at the Tech-Shop near by to help re-learn some various hard skills while also learning new ones and further developing soft skills at home like sketching and computer rendering. Given the money I have saved, maybe I can cut back on some hours at work while reeducating myself.

this job will simply show that I am loyal enough to work in an insanely high-turnover rate area and willing to work hard wherever necessary.

Cell phone sales?