Students look to temporary seasonal jobs for source of extra income
Robert Alcaraz / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Marcus Purry, a cashier at Century Park Place 20, assists movie attendees on Nov. 25.
While many people saw Black Friday as an opportunity to score a deal or two on items on their holiday shopping list, some UA students saw the year’s busiest retail day as a chance to earn a few extra dollars. A number of businesses, both local and chain, hire temporary employees to compensate for the year-end rush. As the UA population is typically on vacation during these times, save for a week of finals in December, the university has proven to be a good place for employers to go in search of extra help.
“Teachers and college kids are the best to hire during the holiday season,” said Tony Bauer, the general manager of Century Theatres in the Park Place Mall on Broadway Boulevard. “When school’s out, they don’t have a job … when school goes back in, we slow down and they go back to school.”
Bauer currently employs two UA students, and although they aren’t seasonal employees, they said the theater’s schedule and flexibility are what make it possible to work there and be a full-time student. Leyla Sadatmousavi, a freshman studying family studies and human development, said she’s worked at the theater since February.
“I’m a freshman, so I’m not really used to the work at the U of A yet,” she said. “So they’re [the theater] pretty understanding about it.”
Some of those who are hired at the theater for seasonal work end up making a permanent job out of it, like Tylee Hall, a junior studying elementary education and Italian, who started during the holiday season last year.
A long break from school is a perfect time to make extra money, Hall said. “It gives you the extra opportunity and experience to squeeze in whatever skills … you need,” Hall said. “It’s a good use of your idle time.”
But Cinemark’s Century Theatres isn’t the only business making use of UA students and their time off.
After being hired a month ago at Express, a clothing store at Park Place Mall, Otto Castillo, a pre-business junior, said his job is quick, easy and tailored to students who would like a basic and
interactive job. A temporary job allows students to make money without having to commit to working at the same place for an extended period of time.
“A lot of times, a company is looking for commitment and students can’t really give that,” Cantillo said. “But I mean in the holidays we have that long break.” Laura Jackson, a freshman studying visual communications, has also taken a temporary job at Delia’s in the Tucson Mall, starting on Black Friday. Jackson said that the income toward the end of the semester would be nice and that she hopes to have a permanent job at the end of the season.
“I’m totally broke, as most college students are,” Jackson said. “I’m really hoping they actually hire me after this, because a lot of time they say that it’s seasonal but then they end up keeping the ones that show a lot of promise. So I’m really hoping that it’ll turn into something long-term.”
Students in various managerial positions also said that the seasonal hiring process was a good way to get a foot in the door for part-time work. Dario Silva, a microbiology sophomore and a sales lead at Aeropostale in the Park Place Mall, said he’s hired around 25 temporary employees, including a handful of UA students. Silva said the scheduling flexibility typically keeps students coming in for jobs, as well as the prospect of getting a permanent position. “We always make it a point to emphasize, ‘Definitely try your hardest because we always keep our favorites,’” he said.
But the experience isn’t for everyone.
Alan Lane, assistant manager at Shiekh, a shoe store at Park Place Mall, said they hired 10 seasonal employees this year, most of whom are not students. While jobs at the mall can be fun and provide
students with customer service experience, a busy schedule can keep students from seeking retail jobs at the mall, Lane added. “It usually doesn’t work out for people who have a strict study program or school that they have to focus on,” she said.