Last summer, I spent my first couple of months as a new college graduate inside a retail job (we'll call it Company F). This company were built with a somewhat toxic environment, and so i quit the second I could. When working there, I also had a retail job (Company X) within an environment so enjoyable I am still working there. Now that it's been several months since I left my job at F, I can look back on what I've learned since leaving the company. 

1. If possible, get out of a toxic work place. 

I know this isn't possible for everyone, but if your job is sucking the life out of you more than you would expect it to, do what's best for you and your mental and physical health. Removing unnecessary stressors is a great thing.  My job at F drained me physically and mentally, and I felt no sense of pride in what I accomplished. I felt unappreciated and lacked the motivation to do anything when I was off the clock. Luckily, I found another job to exchange the toxic environment, and that i now look forward to working. I suppose my organizational behavior course was right: An optimistic work environment is crucial to motivating employees.

2. Retail can be a good place to work! 

It really can be. F wasn't, but X is. Several people who started with me at F are now at X too and quit F as I did. If you need a few more bucks per week to make ends meet, apply at a favorite store. That way, you can use that sweet, sweet discount. You may even know some companies that have a good reputation for taking care of their employees. Recently, after giving us a project at X, my manager straight up said, “I really appreciate you.” Even though it's a textbook manager type of line, it was nice to listen to, especially since I didn't hear that usually while at F. That interaction made me realize I made the best decision. 

3. It's okay if you feel you're not using your degree right now. 

Everything in the world is a bit off, and many companies just aren't hiring. Suppose you're like me and graduated previously year or two and realized that jobs in your field might be a bit scarce or that you're competing against seasoned professionals looking for a replacement after being let go, looking for work can be a bit disheartening. At a certain point, I decided to stop looking for jobs in my field. I noticed there were small ways I had been, in fact, using my degree at my other jobs. So try to look for a way to spin it for your future resume. Before we all know it, the job market will be a little steadier.

While I didn't tumble out of college into a fancy degree-needing job, I still think my summer was a productive one.