I joined Yes She Can’s job skills program this summer. I’ve learned that working at a job is not as easy as it sounds or looks. Sure, everyone has to work for a living, and life as an adult means freedom and choices, but people have to take work very seriously. Working requires responsibility, focus, good attitude, and confidence, and all these qualities last the rest of your life. Interaction between other workers varies by the job. Some jobs require working with other people while other jobs require little interaction.
I’ve learned that sometimes, the boss arranges meetings for workers. These meetings are used to discuss important topics such as changes in budget for a particular store. At some meetings, workers discuss how to improve the store so it doesn’t go out of business. Some stores have competition with rival stores; it happens most of the time, but the overall goal of the store is to make money.
I’ve learned to not get easily distracted by books (Beneesha’s favorite part of American Girl) or food (Girl AGain has yummy pretzels as snacks for trainees), as it can impact my work habits.
I’ve learned how to interact with customers, as it is an example of interacting with people outside the workforce. Sometimes people bring kids in, so there has to be little interaction with kids if needed. People come in all different shapes and sizes, so interaction with other people involves tolerance. Sometimes I have to talk to people on the phone. I have to answer in a way that I represent the store and have to use a formal yet friendly voice. I use that voice to welcome the customer to the store as well as answer any questions a customer has about our store.
I’ve learned that creativity and invention never end. I signed up to volunteer for the Doll Spa day event, where little girls bring their American Girl dolls for a spa treatment at Girl AGain. They handled their dolls so well and did their own creative spa treatments.
I’ve learned how to do transactions. People always told me I was very good in math, so calculating a customer’s total is easy and at the same time challenging, because I have to calculate the total amount that a customer is going to purchase within a time limit. Interacting with customers is a bit more challenging because I never know exactly what a customer might say. I might lose focus. A customer would sometimes pay with a credit card, and I needed to learn how to do transactions on a tablet and to swipe their card.
I’ve learned how to price and inventory items. Pricing items is not easy, because it requires thinking and reasoning. Pricing depends on how many items the doll has, as well as what condition the doll is in. We use the inventory system (an Excel spread sheet) to keep track of what items have come in donations and what items we have sold. Each item has its own unique code.
I’ve learned how to document donations without getting too distracted by the books, as some people have donated American Girl books (which Baneesha loves!)
Lastly, I’ve learned that a work setting is different from a school setting. In school, you learn the information needed for a particular class. At work, you learn how a store operates, what people do during their shifts, how to take breaks, how to interact with workers, other people and your boss, and how to manage your time, anxiety and focus.
Baneesha is a student at Manhattanville College. She first visited Girl AGain boutique because of her love for the American Girl books, particularly the books from each of the historical character series. She joined our job skills program as a trainee in June 2019.