Part-Time Jobs, Full-Time Fun

Ivana Truong , Staff Writer

Like many people my age, I found searching for my first job very difficult. So many factors had to be considered, from pay to commute, and that was if I could even get a job offer. Summer was approaching, and I seemed no closer to getting a job than I was at the beginning of my search. In late May, I found a job listing where I least expected it, on Instagram. It was a posted by my favorite local violin shop, where I had bought the violin that I currently play. I applied thinking I had nothing to lose, and after a very brief interview, I got the job.

Despite the awful commute to St. Paul, I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. The experiences I’ve had at this shop have always been special and amazing. There is something so awe-inspiring about seeing walls lined with violins, some of which are over a hundred years old, and having someone help pick out the perfect violin for you. To be part of that for other violin students is something incredible.

My sister, Vivian Truong (10), works at a shop in downtown Lakeville called Board and Brush. Board and Brush provides hands-on art classes where customers can make wood signs based on a variety of stencils shown on their websites. The owner of Board and Brush got back to her very quickly, and they set up an interview over coffee where the owner explained the job.

She was offered the job, and she was going to start as soon as the shop opened in mid July. However, when she applied for the job, she was already in the midst of a three round interview with Target that looked pretty hopeless, but after three weeks she was also offered a job there. She ended up accepting both, and quit the Target job after school began.

When comparing the two she says “At Target both my coworkers and customers were generally very nice, but there was just a rush to get things done that Board and Brush doesn’t really have. Since Target is such a large company, working there seemed so standardized. Employees are always coming and going in waves. At Board and Brush, I get to see my boss every single day, and I actually get to know my coworkers. I feel more like a part of the company”

She loves the job because “At Board and Brush, customers are there to have fun, and you’re there to help them create art. It feels like you’re having fun together. You get to know them, and see them go through each step. At the end of the class, it feels like you can be proud of what they’ve created. It’s more than there is a question, here is the answer.”

Ava Byrne (12) worked at Sweet Treasures, a Lakeville cupcake shop that won Food Network’s “Cake Wars”. After seeing an ad on Facebook and applying, she worked there for 2 years as a cashier. Like Vivian, she found working for a small business gave her more of an opportunity to form connections with both coworkers and customers.

 She said “there’s a smaller store space and fewer staff members…I was able to form closer relationships with the people I worked with, and it made coming to work something to really look forward to…I met a lot of people that came to the shop regularly and I’ve formed friendships with them as well.” She now works with a different business, but says “nothing will compare to my first job”.

Ellie Chaouch (12) currently works as an assistant ice skating teacher at Bloomington Ice Gardens. She helps guide kids through 30 minute skating classes of various levels.  After figure skating with the program for several years, she let the program manager know she was interested in the job. When one of the previous assistant teachers left for college, she was offered the job.

Chaouch said “ I love seeing the students progress each week and connect with them over the two month period. The parents are very supportive and great to work with. I love the challenges of taking on new perspectives to help a child learn in a new way. This job allows me to enjoy my love of skating and teaching rolled into one amazing package.”

While searching for a work, jobs that sound cool are often more attractive. However, any student in this article would say that finding a job that you enjoy, whether or not other people consider it interesting or cool, is most important.