Office, factory or retail, dream job or glimpse of hell, seasonal jobs are a major part of the college break experience.
Sophomore Katrina Rudolph had never worked in a store before and she was intimidated when she took a job as a cashier at Michael’s Craft Supplies.
“They hired me in the middle of the Christmas season and only gave me an hour of training,” she said. “It was so overwhelming [on] the first day.”
She was surprised how tired she became after standing behind the counter. After three weeks of working with customers and coming home with sore joints, Rudolph said she appreciates cashiers more.
Once she got used to the job, she found it was filled with “long moments of boredom between periods of chaos.” She enjoyed talking to customers. It was interesting, she said, to see “what people were creating” with the craft supplies they bought.
Rudolph did not like the long commute and minimum wage. They were enough to deter her from working at Michael’s again. She said she would be willing to work retail again if she had to but would rather do something different.
“I’m not a customer service person,” she said.
Sophomore Karla Gasca, however, is. She has been working at Torrid, a clothing store, since she was a junior in high school. Over break, she worked as a key holder, a part-time manager and also took a job as a stylist (sales associate) at Levi’s.
It was odd for her to move between a managerial position she had had for years and her new job as a salesperson. Torrid only carries clothing for plus-size women, but Levi’s has clothing for people of all ages and sizes, which meant it had a much larger inventory for Gasca to learn and remember.
“When I walked into my store, I felt I had more power,” Gasca said. She felt “100 percent more confident” in Torrid, but working at Levi’s also had its upsides.
Gasca felt free to be more “laid-back” when she did not have the responsibility of being a manager and after she finished her training, she said the job was “really easy.”
Gasca liked helping customers that appreciated her help. In Torrid, she loved helping women who had “no wardrobe” feel confident by finding clothing that looked good on them.
If someone wants a job, Gasca insists he or she should “apply to everything” and not be afraid to let people know they are looking. “Post it to Facebook: I’m looking for a job in this area.”
Networking worked for sophomore Grant Lowe who found a paid internship as an IT coordinator at Gallagher-Basset Insurance.
“My mom works there as the head of the telecommunications division,” Lowe said.
Managers from the company’s branches around the country would send in databases requesting phones for their offices and it was Lowe’s job to check over the lists and assign phones to each employee.
“I was in that in-between spot where they need me and they don’t have enough for me to do for eight hours a day,” Lowe said. Although he enjoyed some of the downtime, it could become boring.
Other times, he had to deal with “technological illiteracy.” One manager called a phone’s hold feature the “sleepy phone button.” Another wrote zeros instead of O’s whenever he wrote the word no in a spreadsheet, which Lowe had to replace.
Although Lowe was glad for the job’s paycheck, he warned those going into office work not to take it for less than $10 an hour and “bring a book.”