Students Take Advantage of Local Job Opportunities

May 16, 2014

Over the summer, many teenagers are looking to earn a few extra dollars. Whether it’s helping out with energetic children or lending a hand to customers at a local retail store, Charlottesville has an abundance of job opportunities for teens.

“A positive aspect of having a job is the real world experience you gain from interactions and actual job experience,” senior Tyler Poole said. Poole works at Harris Teeter, one of the many grocery stores in Charlottesville. “I think it definitely helps a lot and can prepare kids for life after high school.”

“You get to meet a whole different society and social class. It’s very interesting,” junior Blair Doby said. Doby works at Target, a popular retail and grocery store. “You get to meet a whole different part of Charlottesville.”

According to sophomore Elizabeth Baber, having a job can even help you with some of your subjects, like counting out the change with math. Baber works at Chandlers, a family owned bakery. “I learn a lot of people skills while doing it and later on in life I’m going to need to learn how to balance a job with school and social activities.”

“Some of the positives of having a job would definitely be not having to rely on my parents for money every time I want to go to the movies with friends or go shopping,” freshman Emily Peery said. Peery works at a children’s gym called Bounce and Play. “It’s nice to feel independent and responsible.

Sophomore Izzy Pfund, chose to babysit. “The hours are really relaxed and they just call you in when they need you.”

All though the cash and freedom is nice, there are also some drawbacks to having a job.

“You don’t have as much time to spend with friends as you want, it’s a lot harder to find free time,” sophomore Shoshana Hoffman said. Hoffman is a lifeguard at Forest Lakes pools during the summer.

Along with a busier schedule, you also might not always get along with your fellow co-workers, according to sophomore Ayushi Singh. Singh works at the clothing store American Eagle Outfitters.

“The negative aspects are obvious….a reduced social life, you are tired a lot of the time, and you just get frustrated sometimes if you’re in AP classes,” Poole said.

These hardworking teens also had some advice for upcoming employees.

“Manage your time! Getting paid is great but it’s not worth sacrificing your grades and social life.” said senior Hannah Williams. Williams works at the sandwich shop called Which Wich. “This job was actually one of the few hiring last summer, and it was the first I applied to so I just rolled with it.”

“Moderate how many hours you work. Ease your way in so you know the kind of workload you can handle added onto schoolwork,” senior Tyler Poole said. “Be prepared to be up really late a few nights.”

The Virginia Workforce Center held a job fair on April 29th. There, many teens went to learn about available job opportunities and talk to employers.

“We look for great communication skills. We look for great customer service skills. We look for specifically in our temporary employees, people that would be flexible and adaptable,” Manager Janet Turner-Giles said. ┬áTurner-Giles manages the temporary search group at University of Virginia.

“We are looking for someone who has a positive attitude and a smile,” Cookout general manager Paul Hook said. “We can teach them how to do the job, we just can’t teach them how to have the right attitude.”

Target looks for people with a really good work ethic. “At Target, we expect a lot out of the employees from the time they clock in ’till the time they leave,” Target Human Resources employee Jamie Pitts. “It takes a lot to make a store look as neat as Target; and we expect everyone to pitch in, but more important, is a good attitude.”

Having a strong work ethic and positive attitude is a good advantage when applying for a job. However, some habits that you may think are harmless can keep you from getting employed.

According to Vic Garber, Albemarle County Parks and Recreation are discouraged when potential employees act like they know it all, and have a poor attitude or work ethic. “They want to make money, but they just don’t want to work. We want to work with you, and we want to pay you, but there’s a certain amount of integrity and respect that goes both ways and you have to want to work.”

“Complaining about previous employers. Complaining about previous managers and just overall negativity.” Hooke said.

“When they’re asking questions that are just about themselves and not asking questions about the team or about the store that’s a red flag.” Pitts said.

“I don’t know that anything truly turns us off because we’re always looking for great people.” Turner- Giles said. “Everyone has something to bring. Whether it’s a skill or whether it is the right attitude.”


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