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Job advice, please!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by BigB08822, May 20, 2010.

  1. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I spent quite a while trying to find the perfect job while I was back in school. That job never came and I ended up taking a job waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant. I hate waiting tables as I am a very high strung individual and have anxiety issues. I can't relax and enjoy that type of job as I am always so worried everyone is needing something, angry about their food, etc. I took the job because I had to do something to make money.

    It has been about 2 weeks and it IS getting better. I am getting more comfortable although I have not yet had to wait on more than 3 or 4 tables at a time. So I am still not sure how I would handle a full section of 8 or so tables.

    To make things interesting, I got a call from a lady at a local dry cleaner. She wants to talk to me about a position they have open. I know I would prefer this job even though the drive is a bit further. My biggest fear is taking this job, leaving my other job and then it not working out and having no job again. What questions should I ask when I go speak to her tomorrow? Obviously I have to make sure the pay is worth it and that I can get enough hours. When I originally called about the job she told me that someone had just started and she would call me if they didn't work out. Should I ask about that person and why it didn't work? I don't want to take this job if I am going to be shoved out in 3 days! Maybe that person quit but maybe they were a good worker and just didn't "fit in" or something?

    I just feel like I am in a good position since I already have a job and I don't want to mess everything up, so I kind of feel like I am interviewing them more than the other way around. Any advice on what things I should ask would be great!
  2. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    I think you can absolutely ask what happened to the other person, as she brought it up to you in the first place. Of course, you may have to read between the lines, but it should give you some valuable clues.

    The other thing you can do, depending on where the interview is, is ask to see the job site and meet the other workers. Before you make a decision, you can also drop by either before or after the interview to check it out on your own. Or send a good friend in with some drycleaning to see what it's like when the boss isn't around.

    Be careful of too many questions focused on yourself, ie benefits, work hours, vacation, etc. Try to have most of your questions focused on things like how you can contribute, what the other employees are like, how the business is doing, what makes the business successful, what the owners plans might be for expansion, things like that. In other words, show that you are interested in the company and would like to be a positive contributor to the team.

    Good luck - and be sure to let us know how it goes!
  3. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

    I worked at a dry cleaners for almost 3 years while in school and I loved it. My experience might be different though since it was an "upscale cleaners." We charged up to $7 for a shirt if it had silk in it :eek: And this was 6 years ago. We were all university students and were all grossly overpaid for what we did, but we all had a blast working there cause it felt more like hanging out with your friends and we all hung out outside of work.

    I would ask specifically what your job duties will be. I was only required to help customers, separate and tag clothes, input tickets, hang clothes when they were ready and reconcile the cash register.Those were all my job duties. My schedule allowed me to work 20-25 hours a week.
  4. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member


    My biggest questions will be how many hours can I work and at what pay. If they are only paying minimum wage (which is my guess) and only offering 20 hours a week then it is all for nothing as I won't take the job. Then after that I will get into what my contributions would be and try to get a feel for the place and if I feel like they offer job security. Oh, and one other thing, when I talked to her and she told me about the other person who was employed, she asked me my age. I know this isn't really allowed in an interview but as it was over the phone I went ahead and answered her, plus being 27 has its advantages when she is probably used to dealing with younger college aged kids. So she seemed excited and told me that the previous employee they had (the one she was replacing) was a male college student and he was perfect and worked there for 3 years. So I know not to worry too much about why this last person only worked there for a few days.

    El Rey, what other job duties were there? I figure that is what I would be doing but are there any undesirable duties some people are stuck with at a dry cleaners?
  5. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Can you work both jobs? I'm wondering if you could work the dry cleaning job during the day, and wait tables at night. Typically tips are better for dinner service anyway.
  6. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I could during the summer but I am thinking mostly about how this will work with my school schedule. I can't handle working 2 jobs AND going to school full time. I have tons of respect for those that can do it but 1 of each is more than enough for me. You're right, tips are way better at night. I work my butt off at lunch and make the same amount of money that I would on a slow dinner shift. I just really want out of waiting tables if possible. I prefer a nice family owned business where I know that my schedule is always the same.

    To be honest, I am really not expecting the dry cleaners position to work out. On the phone she asked if I was available to work M-F from about noon - 6 and then on Saturday from 8-12. I said yes because I am available those hours during the summer but I actually wont be able to do that during the school year as I like to keep my class on a Tue/Thur schedule. A perfect scenario for me would be to be able to work all day Mon-Wed-Fri and the few hours they are open on Sat. That would get me about 30 hours a week and if they pay even slightly above minimum wage then I might be able to make it work and it would be really nice having a steady pay check.
  7. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Could you work both jobs just for the summer? I'm thinking that this way you can try out the drycleaners position and see if you like it without jeopardizing your other job.

    Also, if you really like the drycleaners and they really like you, they may be willing to be more flexible on the hours come next Fall. If nothing else, you'll have some extra money saved up which always comes in handy when you're a student ;).
  8. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    I agree with the work both if you can and see which you can deal with (schedule-wise and anxiety-wise) next fall. You might be a little busy all summer, but you'd have extra cash in pocket and no time to spend it!
  9. overedge

    overedge Janny uber


    This is setting off a few alarm bells for me. An interview over the phone is still an interview, so how she asked isn't the issue - it's that she asked in the first place. If what she wanted to know was how available or experienced you are, that has nothing to do with age, and I'm concerned that she seems to be confusing the two.

    And I would worry about the previous job holder. If the guy who had the job before that was "perfect" and his replacement only lasted a few days, maybe she has unrealistic expectations about someone being able to live up to the guy who was there for three years. You might not be that "perfect" either (no insult to you, but what I mean is that maybe no one will ever be able to measure up to that guy).
  10. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Point taken, overedge.

    As for working both jobs, I don't think it would be possible. She would need me there until close which is 6pm at the drycleaners and night shifts start no later than 5:30 at the restaurant. I haven't been there long enough to get special treatment, I doubt I would be able to come in until 7pm because there may be closing duties I have to do at the dry cleaners.

    I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow morning!
  11. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

    Absolutely agree with this. I temped at a job where a guy basically invented his job description as he went along, and had done the job for five years. Nobody was even sure exactly what he did, and the manager not only admitted it, she said she didn't want to be bothered with knowing all he did.

    The company was an ISO job, but there was no documentation or procedures written up on how to do this job. It involved inventory and planning work orders, but when I ran the reports that were supposed to drive the work order requirements, the manager of the dept would tell me about how certain customers and products had special circumstances where you weren't really supposed to go by the reports, nor was it written down in any form (totally violates the ISO requirements, BTW). You were supposed to "just know" who got what special treatment. The guy was supposed to be there for a week before I'd be on my own (still not enough to bring me up to speed to his five-year stint IMHO). Of that final week, he missed 2 days. On the days he came in, he was at least two hours late twice, took long lunches and left early. I'm betting in all I got maybe 4 hours training for stuff I was supposed to "just know" about their internal structure and special customers (that went against what the reports were supposed to require). Compared to his five year knowledge, and his self-invented job.

    Needless to say, there was no way I could live up to his performance, with only 4 hours training. After a couple of weeks, the temp assignment ended, and they brought in someone else.
  12. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

    Maybe El Rey can answer this, was it hot in there, were there chemicals, was there good ventilation? I noticed a "green" dry cleaner in my area and was going to investigate, but am sure that it is expensive. But my dry cleaner is surely hot and smelly...
  13. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    A good employer will take you back if they like you and you let them know you want to explore other job avenues for a while.
  14. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Ugh, I really hope tomorrow morning goes well. I had a horrible night at work, I just can't do this for much longer while keeping my sanity!
  15. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Good luck with the interview BigBO - and take care to ensure that you are not replacing one job you hate with another job you equally hate.
  16. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Getting ready to head to the interview. My interview is set for 8:30 so I will leave here at 7:45 to give me plenty of time. I would rather have to sit in the parking lot for 15 minutes than to even be a minute late. I am a little nervous but I will be taking all of the great advice with me and that makes me feel a lot better. Thanks for the good lucks, hopefully I will be coming back to post good news. :)
  17. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    Late to the party, but working at a dry cleaner is one of the jobs where the employer has to verify that the person is over 18. While it would have been better if she asked "Are you 18 or older?", the owner was getting information required by law.
  18. MOIJTO

    MOIJTO Banned Member

    Not all the time, but worth asking anyway.

    I work 3 jobs, its difficult but it can be done.
  19. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

    This dry cleaners had five locations, but the cleaning was done at only one store. The others were just drop off locations. It wasn't hot at the cleaning location. There was AC and all the ironing ladies had an AC duct blowing lots of air over their stations. We were considered an eco-friendly cleaners so I don't remember any smells.

    BigB08822, the only other job duties we had were taking out the trash. Which wasn't much. Basically just papers and stuff we found in pockets. We would also take out trash from the bathroom, but since bathrooms were only for employee use it wasn't that gross. We had a cleaning service so we were never required to clean them.

    You're probably having the interview as I'm typing this, so hopefully you got all your questions answered.
  20. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Well I think it went well. The pay is such that I am completely torn on what to do. The pay really isn't enough to pay all my bills and have enough left over but I didn't expect to get that working part time, the only way to really make all my bills is a full time job. However, I have been averaging the same amount at the restaurant so I would rather take a job I don't hate if the pay is the same. The restaurant has higher potential, you can always have a great night and make great money but I've seen 2 weeks worth of tips to feel like I know what is average.

    The only red flag I got was that she is clearly very conservative. She had a picture of the Pope on her desk, a ProLife sticker, Support the Troops sticker, etc. Being gay, it is a potential warning but I have no idea what her opinion is on all of that, not that I plan on ever sharing that information with her anyway.

    I do think I am going to take it. The downside is I will be working 6 days a week but then again, I might be working 6 days a week at the restaurant.
  21. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I called and accepted the job. I hope I made the right decision! 6 days a week will be a little tough to get used to but I will really enjoy that even with a full class schedule I will be done every day by 6pm which is not very different from most people with an 8-5 job. I only have to work on Saturdays from 8-2 so my day is not completely taken. I will also be working with another girl in the afternoons and on Saturday so that is nice, won't be all alone. I hope it is nice, haven't met her yet, haha.