The holiday season is approaching. What can be a total joy of snowy days (or not because you live in SoCal), hot chocolate, sweaters, decorating, looking forward to a delicious thanksgiving dinner and wrapping presents for Christmas, can be a total nightmare for some. Who you might ask? Retail workers, that is. But let’s focus more specifically on one of America’s favorite retailer: Target! Or as the suburban soccer moms like to call it, Targé.
Or as I like to call it, my very first retail (hell) job. One day I was job searching after leaving a comfortable, yet underpaid, little office clerk job with a far commute, when I decided to just go for Target. It was close by where I lived at the time and I liked the benefits that came with it. Six days after I applied, I was called in for an interview after not hearing from the ten other jobs I applied for. I was really eager and thought to myself “THIS IS IT, my big breakthrough”. And it actually did end up being my big breakthrough. I was hired on-the-spot, with no retail or cashier experience. Go figure!
Being hired on the spot at the time gave me tons of confidence, but obviously after the entire experience I realized the only reason I was hired on-the-spot. Not to doubt my own or anyone’s impeccable skills and traits, but the main reason mass merchandisers like Target may hire you super quick during the holidays is because they desperately need you. During the holidays these stores are chaotic & crowded and need all the help they can get, and that’s when you come in seasonal employee! I was very ignorant of the term “seasonal” at the time, but as time went on and Christmas had passed, I realize that there was a chance that I could be given the boot and would have to go back to job hunting. Which, indeed ended up happening.
source: The Odyssey Online
Please keep in mind that seasonal basically means that you’re a temporary hire for the holiday season. Which means while you’re indeed an employee just like a full-time regular, name badge and all, it also means that salary and that 10% employee discount may not last and you are more likely to be let go after New Years. The reason why Target cleans house after the holidays is because their hours are cut by a ton in January. They simply don’t have hours for you to work anymore. Which leaves many and myself wondering, is or was this job really worth it?
Well if you’re looking for full-time work in retail, you might want to job hunt before the holidays and seasonal hires begin. This would be a wise choice on account of the fact that mass merchandisers aren’t looking for full-time, or even part-time, by late-August or early-September. On the other hand, seasonal work is absolutely great to seek if you’re already working part-time and looking to pick up some extra pay for the holidays. On September 10, Target announced on their corporate website that they’ll be hiring more than 130,000 team members for the holidays.
Now that we’ve settled the understanding behind a seasonal retail position, and let’s say you’ve already got the job, what can you expect in a Target system? For starters, Target refers to their employees as “Team Members”, and their customers as “guests”. As ridiculous as it may sound, your supervisors or “team leaders” may jump to correct you on the apparently vile word that is customer, so make sure you’re referring to everyone who comes to your check lanes as guests!
If you are applying to be a seasonal cashier, just know that your Guest Service leader & store manager expects you to persuade every guest who comes to your check lane to sign up for Target’s Red Card. The Red Card is basically Target’s own Debit or Credit Card. Guests can save 5% with every purchase they make when they use the Red Card, and the card also comes with other perks as well that you will need to explain to your guests while ringing up their items. Your Target store will have a Red Card goal that they need to meet everyday, and your team leader will address you if they don’t hear you asking guests.
Another essential piece of info that you should know is your rights as an employee. Make sure you pay attention during your orientation if hired. Take notes if necessary! Of course you’ll be told about the dress code of a red top & khaki (or black) bottoms, but there’s other important information you’ll need to grasp. Within your paperwork, you will be given a phone number that is a hotline for employees where you can reach out anonymously if you’re having any problems with co-workers and/or want to report something immediately. That phone number will also be posted around your break room. At any job you’re at you might run into one of those co-workers who’s looking to start trouble or breaking the company’s code of conduct, so you should always know who to call.
As it was stated before, seasonal employees are more than likely to get cut after the holidays are done. You’re probably wondering, “If I give it my all and do a great job, they’ll have to keep me around”. In some cases where Target can keep only a few seasonals around, this could be true. While it’s not 100% guaranteed yet that they’ll take you off the schedule, a piece of advice that I desperately want to share is that you should really make sure you have a backup plan after your seasonal employment. Especially if this is your only job and source of income. I highly suggest that you start job-hunting for a more permanent job and filling out applications a month before January. You won’t know if you’re let go until the first week of January after New Years, so it’s wise that you get a head start to create a sort of employment safety net under you.
Often what your store manager or HR will tell you during the bad news of being let-go, is to simply re-apply in February if you really liked your experience at Target. Which isn’t a bad idea, because at least you will have the chance to aim for a more long-term position like full-time or part-time. So it’s not like you will be blackballed from Target forever, unless you get yourself terminated of course. Though seasonal employment isn’t promised to turn into full-time, don’t let that discourage you. Target has great benefits and is set to raise their minimum wage to $15 by the end of 2020, so it’s definitely worth going for. In the meantime, best wishes to all seasonals this holiday season.