Entering the Working World

First account of food and retail jobs


Ally Mclaughlin

There are several different resturants and stores that are perfect places for high school students to work.

High school is expensive. QuikTrip ice cream cones, PopSockets and Target t-shirts add up after a while, so maybe it is time to get a job. When deciding where to work, go ahead and scratch off doctor, lawyer and engineer off the list of options for right now. Two of the most popular job industries for young people just entering the workforce are food and retail.


McAlister’s is a family-friendly deli that offers a variety of job options when applying. They have both a cooking or ‘back of house’ position and a cashier or ‘front of house’ position. Senior Ally Mclaughlin works the front counter helping customers and busing tables for the majority of her job. The pros of her job are a hefty 70 percent discount on food and sweet tea. Also, she has the ability to make tips when taking orders. To be fair, there are some drawbacks to this job.

“If touching other people’s plates that they have eaten off of bothers you, maybe this isn’t the job for you,” Mclaughlin said.

Also for most food service jobs, be prepared to deal with hungry customers who can get a little cranky.

“The regulars that come here really make my job amazing. I know some of them by name and they always bring a smile to my face when I see them,” Mclaughlin said.

Nevertheless, Mclaughlin would definitely recommend this job to anyone who is interested.


Kohl’s is a major clothing retailer that provides good value household necessities for families. The job options when applying are general because most retail employees do a little bit of everything. Senior Megan Phillips works as a cashier helping customers check out their items and organizes displays when they get messy.

“The best part about my job is that it’s super easy,” Phillips said. “The computer does almost all the work for you and most days you just talk to the customers and put clothes in bags.”

The only downside of Kohl’s and most retail jobs is that they are not as fast paced as some would think.

“It can get really boring at times,” Phillips said. “It can get slow to the point where there are not a lot people even coming in the store.”

Despite a few dull moments, she would still recommend her job to someone else that is wondering what it is like to work in retail. A 15 percent discount on merchandise and a flexible schedule does not hurt either.

“I really enjoy my job because I love talking to the customers, some of them are really funny and make my day,” Phillips said.

Entering the workforce can be daunting and scary especially for someone who has never had a job before. Do not worry though, getting a job is not as terrible as it may seem. There are tons of other food and retail jobs out there waiting to be found, everyone has got to start somewhere.