Monday, November 30, 2009

My first day in retail

The view from behind the counter at Food For ThoughtToday I worked a cash register for the first time as a new volunteer at Food For Thought, the little cafe/store inside SOM. Just basics are sold -- coffee, bagels, granola bars, candy, Advil, nuts, chips, cold drinks, etc. -- and the profits [(P - MC)Q] benefit students who embark on summer internships with nonprofit organizations that don't pay well. To qualify for these funds, students have to work 25 shifts during the year; each shift is 50 minutes.

I don't expect to work in public service this summer, although I may. But I am volunteering for five primary reasons:

1. If I do end up working for a nonprofit this summer somehow, I don't want to miss out on these necessary funds.

2. I wanted another activity for my resume.

3. I wanted to do something fun that involves interacting with fellow students and whomever.

4. I wanted to do something that would be relatively low-stress and take my mind off more pressing matters.

5. I wanted to volunteer and do something good for the school; I sorta do that by giving tours to prospective students, but this is a little more directly do-goodery.

I've had a variety of jobs in my day, but none have involved a cash register. Fortunately, the one at Food For Thought is basically a drawer with a button that opens it -- not rocket science. And the prices are round, even numbers, so this shouldn't be a mind-bending job. For my first shift, I picked a 50-minute interval that did not contain a between-class transition; I did that so it would be relatively quiet, and it was. I'm volunteering again on Wednesday, though, and that shift will have more traffic. We'll see how I cope.

Meanwhile, it's another busy week, especially with cover-letter writing to get done. We have a "resume drop" on Dec. 3, which means that certain companies that recruit on campus want resumes and, usually, cover letters from students interested in interning there. I really need to get on the ball with these letters -- I'm planning to apply to maybe three or four places in this round. We'll see.

Speaking of recruiting, I've got three events with two companies this week that should be really interesting. Tomorrow, I'm going to a marketing workshop put on by DuPont, and then later in the day I have a half-hour info session with them, which is my opportunity to ask questions, although it's also something of a mini-interview. If nothing else, this will be good practice interviewing. Then on Friday I'm going on a company trek to Mars, which should be really exciting. I think I may get to see how they make M&Ms!

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