My Summer Jobs - Part Two: Target Portrait Studio

Welcome to the next installment of my summer job horror stories. Ok, ok, they're not ALL horror stories, but you get the idea. I realized I never linked correctly in my last post to the Summer Academy post I had written a long while back. So, first off, you can read about my first real job here. There. That's better. Now onto job number three.

Toward the end of my senior year of high school I had the bug to get a job again. Things were winding down at school, all my friends had jobs, I felt like I was slacking a bit. So again, I applied a bunch of places, but this time I stayed away from the mall. If I was going to work, especially during the school year, I needed to work somewhere closer to home. I started applying places in mid to late February and there were slim pickings. Again, I took a friend's suggestion - she had a job at the Portrait Studio at Target and they were hiring. She said it was great, the studio wasn't open any later than 7 on weekdays and about 6:00 on weekends. It didn't sound too bad, seeing as school let out at 2:30, I could make the 3:00 start time, work until 7 and still have the evening free. So I applied and I was hired on the spot.

At first - everything was perfect and totally appealing. I got the Target employee discount, that was a huge deal to me! I was given extensive training on not just sales, but also taking real live portraits. The manager was young and somewhat hip and fun to be around. And once I was good and trained, I would even be stationed on my own and was told if there weren't appointments or whatever I could totally do my homework. Ok, this gig isn't half bad!

The busiest days were Saturdays, but I was usually not alone those days. My manager would usually take the portraits and I'd do the sales. Since she was so good at the portraits, the sales were pretty easy for me! Pretty soon the friend who initially told me about the job ended up leaving, but another friend of mine was hired and I got to help train her in and sometimes we were scheduled together. That ended up being pretty fun for us!

Things started changing though around the same time. Once school was out, I told my manager I was available pretty much anytime. She did start scheduling me more and asked if I was willing to travel away from my store a little bit. I said ok as long as it wasn't too far. At first, it was just over to Roseville, which wasn't too big of a deal. Then things started getting worse.

My manager was asked to go open a brand new studio at the Target in Hudson. So, she needed me and the other employees to fill in at our store a lot. The District Manager was put in charge of us. And she wasn't not impressed with our sales in my manager's absence. She expected us to have a certain number of appointments, sales of specific packages and sales of extra things as well. We had "goals" we were supposed to meet and my regular manager wasn't as strict about them. As a result, once she was gone, the District Manager figured this all out pretty quickly and decided to put us through training AGAIN.

Also, I started getting scheduled at stores further away than I wanted, such as Forest Lake (almost a 1/2 hour drive for you non-MN people). But the District Manager said it would help me improve and they'd compensate me for gas and such. Also, I was having to put in extremely long days. I was finding it very exhausting, so many people just wanted to buy the advertised $1.99 portrait package and nothing else. I did not have much luck getting good pictures of little kids. I was finding myself feeling just sick on my days off thinking about having to go in and work again.

My friend was hanging in there too and usually on down times we'd call each other and lament. If it wasn't for her I probably wouldn't have stuck it out as long as I did. Even though we're not really friends anymore, I'll always be grateful to her for helping me get through that summer!

Similarly to the year I worked at Homeplace, I had two weeks off scheduled, again for Music Ministry Alive and another week to go to a cabin with Nate's family. This time though I waited until I came back and then put in my two week's notice. By then my manager was back full time at our store and she was sad to see me go, as we originally talked about my staying there once I started school since I was living at home. She was willing to work around my class schedule and I'm sure really wanted me around for the holiday rush. I told her I just wasn't cut out for that kind of work, which simply was the truth and we parted amicably. She said I was always welcome back, but I knew I wouldn't be back.

So fortunately I had a couple of weeks off before starting college and figured, maybe I'll just get an on campus job or something. I didn't - but I ended up taking the best job ever the following summer. But more on that later.

The hardest part was giving up that Target discount! I'd kill to have that back!

1 comment:

Jes said...

I can't even imagine working at a portrait studio like that and trying to take pics of little kids! And I take photos for a living! Lol!