Thursday, August 11th, 2011 | General

After going straight from finals to my internship with the Attorney General’s Office, I’m now on vacation for two weeks! Sleeping in, baking, buying health insurance, cleaning, eating chicken nuggets and mac n’cheese. This is the life.

While reading some articles, I came across this one from the Huffington Post. It’s about a day in the life of a Trader Joe’s employee. It’s mostly as I expected, except for the variety an employee is given throughout the day. Several times throughout the article, the employee mentions how boring working the register is, and that that’s the opinion of most employees there. It seems employees at Trader Joe’s only work the register 2 hours at a time. This is a far cry from what I experienced in my summer jobs.

Prior to coming to law school, I’d take a menial job each summer, in which I’d do the same task all day long. For instance, in one job, I removed staples for 8 hours a day. When I worked at Office Max, I worked customer service all day. I relished any opportunity I had to leave my area and help a customer grab a box of paper. Of course, that was rare because the managers weren’t too keen on the female employees doing any heavy lifting. Oddly enough, all females worked registers and all males assisted customers on the floor. Despite this, I mostly enjoyed the job. But the worst job I ever had has to be Circuit City.

At Circuit City, I would be assigned 11 hour shifts where my sole job was to stand in a 2×3′ area ringing up customers. Some days I was lucky to get the rubber floor pad. Days I didn’t were just horrible. While many of the customers were nice, others ruined my day. For instance, I had a couple come up to me and ask a question about a product. I told them the answer, and confirmed it for them by reading the packaging. They thanked me and said they would go double check with someone else. Just coincidentally, the person they checked with was male. I noticed it was quite rare for one of the female customer service employees to get questions in the store. But I’m straying from my original point, which has nothing to do with gender issues*.

What I originally was trying to say is that I imagine I would have had a much better experience at Circuit City if they used the same employee management as Trader Joe’s. Had I only worked in 2 hour increments, I think I would have been a much happier employee. The fact that Trader Joe’s employees find just 2 hours at the register tedious really surprises me. It’s not to say that it’s a joy to be working a register for 2 hours, but it just seems such an insignificant amount of time to me to find boring. I guess that’s one thing I can thank Circuit City for–I can now do menial,¬†repetitive¬†tasks for 11 hours at a time (with a break for lunch). I wonder if that skill will come in handy in my legal career.

*I want to add that Office Max wasn’t alone in its unwritten female customer service policy. Circuit City also mainly had women working customer service, rather than helping customers in the computer dept. or televisions. Funnily enough, employees in those areas of the store received higher pay. I’m glad Circuit City went out of business.

12 Responses to “Vacation!”

  1. Ashley Says:

    This post brings back fond memories. Remember that box I built for you at Sterling? I think it was made out of rubber bands. I think you should blog more stuff like this. I MISS YOU!

    P.S. I will return your call sometime tomorrow after my big test.

    August 11th, 2011 at 2:15 pm
  2. emilyadi Says:

    Oh, I remember the box. I hesitated to include it, lest I look crazy to any potential employers who might stumble upon this blog.

    What test?

    August 11th, 2011 at 2:22 pm
  3. Ashley Says:

    Insurance licensing for property and casualty. It is uncomfortably lawyerly.

    August 11th, 2011 at 5:52 pm
  4. Alison Says:

    That is the way they organize the shifts at trader joes…but it’s not necessarily just to please the employees. Charles and Megan both worked there for multiple years, and the store increased the physical requirements every six months or so. The workers there are required to be able to lift 75 pounds—which is like eight gallons of milk. If you were on your 2 hours of dairy duty, you might spend the entire 2 hours lifting up to 75 pounds. I think that is partially why they organize their shifts in two hour rotations. I’ve worked in a couple of retail and service jobs, and I have never heard of such strenuous physical requirements.

    August 19th, 2011 at 4:46 am
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