Sophomore Zola Grey, junior Max Wu and senior Chris Wilson gained valuable skills, such as customer service, through their work at a concession stand, hair salon and farmers market, respectively. (Graphic by Brynne Barnard-Bahn)

Students gain work experience through summer, weekend jobs

During the summer or on weekends, multiple students have set aside time for their jobs.

Senior Chris Wilson is one. He worked as a vendor at a farmers market in Woodland. 

Wilson’s mother works for Upper Crust Baking (634 G St., Davis). She sold goods at the farmers market, and her boss needed a vendor at the market on Saturdays.

“She told her boss that I can work, and he offered me the job,” Wilson said.

Paid $11 per hour, Wilson began late last June, working eight hours every Saturday. He said the owner of the bakery is Jewish, so Wilson sold Jewish breads, such as challah.

Wilson said the amount of work that went into setting up the stand and standing for hours afterward, sometimes in poor weather conditions, surprised him.

“(It) made me appreciate vendors a lot more,” Wilson said.

While working there, Wilson also enjoyed free items from the bakery.

“Some of that stuff is pretty good,” he said.

Wilson stopped vending recently because it is “slow season” for the baking company.

“Once the markets pick back up (in May), I’m intending to start (vending again),” he said.

Wilson added that he gained valuable experience working in a real job setting for the first time.

“My people skills (improved) due to constant customer service,” he said. “I learned how to deal with difficult people in a professional manner and how to easily relate with people based on first impressions alone.”

One downside he noted was the early start time.

“(The) worst part was waking up at 5:10 a.m. on a Saturday morning,” he said.

Junior Max Wu also found a job through parental connections. He works at his parents’ hair salon, Salon Bravissimo (2358 Fair Oaks Blvd.), as a front desk receptionist, earning the minimum wage of $12 per hour.

Wu said he and his parents agreed he should learn about the family business. He added that he also wanted to gain professional experience.

Wu began working at the salon in August 2019. He works for five to eight hours on Saturdays.

He plans to continue working there, he said, including during college if he stays in the Sacramento area.

Wu said that when it comes to balancing his job with schoolwork, it is unfortunate that he loses one day of his weekend. However, the experience, and getting to help his family, is “absolutely worth it.”

One challenge he said he faced was understanding customers over the phone. The possibility of misinterpreting customers’ questions made it difficult, according to Wu.

Wu said his “customer service and ability to multitask under pressure” has improved.

“I’ve learned how to properly treat customers and make them feel welcomed as they step inside,” he said.

While Wu’s job is year-round, sophomore Zola Grey held a summer job. Grey earned $175 as a concession worker at Raley Field (now Sutter Health Park). She learned about the opportunity through her mother, who works for TNT Gymnastics, which is connected to where Grey takes classes.

The concession stand raised money for the children of TNT Gymnastics workers. According to Grey, the money would be used to pay for gym fees.

She said she sold food such as tacos, nachos, popcorn and drinks such as lemonade.

“The best part was interacting with different types of people,” she said.

One memorable experience for Grey was an encounter with a drunk couple.

“(They) were super nice but all over the place,” she said. “The husband spilled his beer on the counter.

“Another (time), a woman came up to me and started yelling at me because I got her order wrong, even though I didn’t.”

Grey said she plans to work at the stand next summer.

—By Ethan Monasa