So you’ve been meandering about the world for a month, sixth months… a year after graduation. You need to work because even your best friends are giving you the stink eye for being so entitled. Maybe you’ve even gotten the dreaded, “Why are you out right now if you’re so stressed?” from a friend who has her stuff together.
Okay, calm down. You have to get a part-time job. If this is you, you might expect to Tibby-it-up at a Super Store—an inhumane part-time position where you might as well use your diploma to wipe your
ass tears because your snarky entitled customers, managers, and co-workers surely won’t.
But it may not have to be like this—a part-time job may be something you can actually learn from and reap some benefits. Recently, part-time positions have become more and more employee-friendly and the companies leading the pack are seeing results.
Starbucks is not cool just because their lattes are in every other picture on Insta—it is actually a great place to work.
The perks of brewing include part-time benefits that make you feel like a human being (health, 401k, stock) and perks in the form of comp-ed caffeine for your shift. Furthermore, Starbucks encourages its employees to take part in CityU’s online courses—on them! Yes, marketing, social media, even an intro MBA course. They provide paid compensation for major weather emergencies and holidays, and they have an easy transfer system that’ll let you start up again at a store in the U.S. that needs a barista! For the most part your every transaction isn’t watched by a supervisor, and the “solve a problem” button is open for you to use independently. When you feel like your in control of the customer-barista relationship, we’d bet you even start to like it.
The downsides: Aside from wanting to stay a barista forever, there are a few downsides to working at Starbucks Corp as a post-grad. Starbucks customers can be the worst. Picky, mean, rushed, and rude—everything you were during finals week. The trash can be stuffed with anything from left-overs to Q-tips. No one seems to know what it’s like to work a 630am-230pm shift and wonder why you can’t punch their broken credit card number in faster. Still, navigating all types of personalities is really just an added perk. It’ll toughen your skin because you’re probably soft anyway.
On the other hand, it’s interesting that Starbucks and Abercrombie—both aspiring for the accessible luxury feeling would be so different in treating its employees. It’s safe to say Abercrombie offers none of these things to its part-time employees. Filled with kids who can call in on the weekends and don’t mind doing repeated tasks, there’s no sense in development academically or professionally. Moreover, it is no secret to the employees that a huge part of this job is how you look whether it is the winter season, the size of your jeans, or your nail polish (and it’s not food service). The horrifying marketing plan Abercrombie CEO tried to explain all hip like he was the creator of Vice, would make any quality person recoil in disgust and any employee nod in defeat. No one can feel proud in this situation. Nice is the new cool, a-hole.
Don’t take my word for it though, let’s look at the numbers. These two companies don’t operate in the same industry so the causality between how they treat their employees and their financial success a bit of a stretch, and yet something to look at, right? The attitude and aura of each company leaves a completely different taste in your mouth, and one tastes like nasty perfume for young white skinny kids while the other tastes like a Hazelnut Mocha for your entire community. Coincidence? We’d bet not.
If you do decide to take a part-time job, you’ll meet people from all places in life. You’ll find part-time benefits are not a way for lazy people to get free things (not that you educated people think like that anyway). Part-time employees: It is you and your in-between time, but it is also the young single mother, the once-retired wedding planner, the between-careers-during-the recession-master’s degree holder. Being part-time means you have time to get things together with a net, and in return you do your best for the company because you feel included. It’s for-profit humanity and it works.
Whether your dream job is part-time, you are studying for higher education, or need a second to sort everything out, if you’re going to throw on an apron, do so consciously. There are companies that have hopped on employees-as-partners bandwagon. We think if you must, seek those out immediately. You’ll be happy you did.