When Zen Duruisseau ’22 wanted to earn her own money and gain a deeper sense of responsibility, she took matters into her own hands and sought out a job. She put on her suit and went to local establishments, speaking directly to managers about hiring opportunities.
“When I went to Cold Stone [Creamery], they offered me an interview the day after, and I was hired on the spot,” Duruisseau said.
She began her job in mid-August and now works six to 15 hours a week during the school year . Though her job can be difficult when interacting with disrespectful customers, Duruisseau said she has learned the value of hard work and the pride of earning money and providing for herself.
Like Duruisseau, other students at the school have jobs in public establishments. Out of 145 students surveyed in a Chronicle poll , 14.5% answered that they currently have jobs, and 31.7% responded that they had jobs in the past but not at the moment. The remaining 53.8% replied that they have never had a job.
Students say time management skills are necessary to balance school work and a job.
After the pandemic led to the cancellation of his crew season, Jack Hartmeier ’22 applied for a position at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Over the summer, he worked 30 hours a week and has since decreased his hours to 10 due to the school year. Hartmeier said that strong time management skills are crucial to balance school work and his job.
“It takes a lot of time management; I just know that I have to finish my homework before I leave for work because when I get home, I have to go to sleep,” Hartmeier said.
Hartmeier, who once received a 20-person order five minutes before closing time, said he has learned how to quickly adjust to new circumstances.
“It has taught me a lot about adapting to situations, but also the service industry,” Hartmeier said. “I have learned many skills that I probably wouldn’t learn otherwise, and [I have learned] how to deal with different people’s needs and adapting to them.”
While Hartmeier feels safe at work, he said surges of customers can create COVID-19 concerns.
“I feel pretty safe because we get health screenings and are required to wear masks,” Hartmeier said. “It does get a little stressful when there is a rush of customers because we’re one of the only places open in Brentwood.”
Students say their job is a rewarding learning experience.
While both Duruisseau and Hartmeier hold positions in the service industry, Paisley Kandler ’22, a book enthusiast, works at her local bookstore DIESEL. Kandler, who has been working at DIESEL for five months, said she loves her job and feels connected to her work community.
“I think the most rewarding part is sharing my favorite books with customers, especially those with nostalgia attached,” Kandler said. “Honestly, nothing beats the days when I sell little kids their first Harry Potter book, or when I heard a mother read ‘Madeline’ to her daughter for the first time.”
Kandler said communicating with customers at DIESEL has helped develop her sense of confidence. Before her job, Kandler said phone calls were nerve-wracking for her; however, DIESEL requires her to take numerous calls. One particular call held the greatest impact, Kandler said.
“The very familiar voice on the other line said, ‘Hi, DIESEL. This is Tom Hanks,'” Kandler said. “I had a ten-minute conversation with Mr. Hanks, who was incredibly friendly. After that moment, I was determined to get better at phone calls. I’ve become a lot more confident now and will make a call without trying to text first out of fear.”
Students develop different methods of managing their school work and job.
Kandler works on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and said her system for keeping up with both school work and DIESEL work can be intense at times. Though her Saturdays are spent at DIESEL, and her Sundays are dedicated for school work, Kandler said her days at DIESEL are so enjoyable that her job doesn’t feel like work.
“It may seem draining, but my hours at DIESEL are so engaging that it feels like I only have one day of work per weekend,” Kandler said.
Unlike Kandler, George Adamson ’21 said he finds it difficult to make time for school work, as he spends most of his weekend working at the grocery store Pavilions. His job requires employees to work a total of 16 hours each week.
“My first eight-hour shift over the summer was brutal, as I could barely walk afterward due to my feet aching,” Adamson said. “Overtime, I have been able to overcome [and] build resistance to the pain [and] fatigue. However, I am still extremely tired.”
Adamson works a 9 a.m.-to-6 p.m. shift on Saturday and a 6:30 a.m.-to-2 p.m. shift on Sunday. He said that it can be challenging to manage both his job and his academic commitments.
“To get eight hours of sleep for my [Sunday] shift, I only have two-ish hours to do work on top of [already] being tired,” Adamson said.
Despite the long hours of his job , Adamson said he feels thankful that he can continue working on the weekends, as opposed to during the school week, and appreciates the community he has found.
“I really enjoy my job, as I like looking at the people in Santa Monica’s community and making new, older friends,” Adamson said. “All of my co-workers are super nice and supportive, which really helped me have an easy experience coming into the job.”