Getting to know ‘Jack’

While many people spend summers working as lifeguards or camp counselors, I really didn’t have much substantial work experience before the start of my senior year, with the exception of odd babysitting jobs and such here and there.

I’ve sought out work opportunities in the past but due to impossible sports and summer schedules, I could never find a large enough block of time to get a real job.

However, after decreasing my athletic participation at school, I decided that now was a better time than ever to join the work force. My reasons for getting a job were one, I simply wanted work experience and two, I wouldn’t mind having a few extra dollars in my pocket to sustain both my online shopping problem and Starbucks obsession.

In October, I started working as a sales associate for Jack Wills on Greenwich Avenue once a week until the end of my cross-country season. Jack Wills is a British clothing company started in 1999 that opened its first U.S. stores in 2010 and markets towards university students.

Starting out as a small shop in Salcombe, Devon (which is comparable to a Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard here in America), the company has grown to one of England’s leading brands, with 49 stores in the U.K., 13 stores in the U.S., and two in Hong Kong. Now I generally work 10 hours a week, a commitment that has been far more manageable and enjoyable than I had originally expected.

Since I’m used to playing competitive sport schedules, having a job after school has actually been a nice way to keep me busy. It has not once interfered with schoolwork, but has only forced me to improve my time management skills. Working has also opened me up somewhat to the “real world” of employment and the responsibilities that come with it.

Most importantly, it’s forced me to think a lot more about my own expenses, yet I’ll regretfully admit that I think I have spent 100% of my earnings this year, even with a lofty discount and free outfit each season. Regardless, I understand the value of a dollar and am more cognizant of what I’m spending every time I swipe my debit card.

In addition to these valuable life skills, I have made many great relationships as a result of working at Jack Wills. Our store cultivates such a positive work environment, something I will try not to take for granted as I move on to other jobs in the future. A really cool and unique aspect of Jack Wills is their use of an unconventional advertising model.

You will never see Jack Wills in a magazine or on a billboard, but rather the company emphasizes employees living a “Jack Wills lifestyle.” As a result, all of the employees are pretty involved in the company and subsequently, each other. I’ve become very close with a lot of my co-workers this year who I would otherwise never have met. Both inside and outside of work, we always can find a way to have fun. Between our “under-20 employees” group chat, holiday video to Jingle Bell Rock, and dinners at Abis, our store has become almost like a family.

I encourage all high schoolers to try to gain some sort of work experience. It’s important to learn the value of a day’s work, gain responsibility, and be able to be more independent and self-reliant. On top of that, you never know the great friendships you might make.

 

Julie Kukral is a senior at Greenwich Academy.

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