At school, we receive criticism on every piece of work. It's a teacher's job to mark our work, in merciless red pen no less, and not only to highlight the small errors, but to tell us in sweeping statements to do better, in general. Remember school reports? Where we weren't only judged on academic work, but sporting ability, manners, and social skills. When you think about it, professional criticism is nothing on secondary school criticism.
In retail, we’re criticised for our approach to the public – or criticised by the public (which is awful and another beast altogether.) When I worked at a staffing agency one summer, I was criticised for talking too loudly and for my approach to filing and Excel spreadsheets. When I worked in a restaurant, I was criticised for my uniform and early-days mix-up of table numbers. And when I worked at a bank, I was criticised for... everything. I was very, very bad at working at a bank and probably should’ve been fired. (I quit after six months.)
So it’s true: when we’re starting out, regardless of industry, it seems we can do no right. And, usually when coming to terms with our status as flawed humans, we realise we have a lot to learn, that we’re not perfect (despite our desire to be or belief that we are), and that those who’ve been around the professional block a few times have earned the right to assert what they know. This doesn’t mean they can be mean or cruel, but they do have the right to be annoyed. Because I’ll be honest: I know I was when, working in retail, a new employee accidentally locked my store keys in a fitting room which meant we couldn’t lock the front doors. Just like my manager got annoyed with me when I accidentally refunded $3000 to a con artist.