Working in retail is humbling.
I have worked in retail before. This is not the first time. But it is humbling to do it again after having risen into the ranks of the middle class.
When you work in retail it is as if your former life never happened. People look right through you as though you do not exist. People feel a need to treat you a certain way, as a person below their station in life. It is a strange feeling because in any other context they might be looking at me as an equal or a superior.
I do not mind the hard work of retail. Keeping busy makes the time go by. And I do not mind helping the customers. I don't even mind being treated as a second-class citizen, either, because I know that I am not one.
When I go home, I'm a Web developer again with all the awe and wonder that entails. People believe you are a genius and a wizard just because you can tell a computer what to do. I'm also a hiker and a musician. These things, too, bring me a measure of status in others' eyes.
But really I am just me no matter what I am doing. I'm always me, whether I stand behind a counter and ring up sales or whether I push pixels around the screen or whether I walk a marathon every day for 3 months.