Monday, October 12, 2009

Movie theaters

When I was a little girl I loved going to the movies, although, trips to the movies were few and far between since my family was so large and that meant it was quite expensive. But it was a huge treat when we would go. These sporadic trips started my love of movies and movie theaters.

When I was a teenager I couldn't wait to get a job. Even though you had to be 16 to get a job, I started filling out applications as soon as my sophomore year of high school ended. I applied a couple of places, but I really wanted to work at the movie theater (Wehrenberg's Arnold 14 Cine). A few days after I applied, a manager at the movie theater called me in for an interview. I got the job, but I had to wait to start working until I was 16 (about three weeks away). I was so excited that I got the job, and I wanted to start working ASAP, so I started on my birthday. (I didn't care that it was my birthday; I just wanted to start working!) Here is a picture of the movie theater:

I worked in the concession stand, and I quickly caught on to how everything worked. I loved working, especially at busy times like in the summer and near the holidays when the really big movies would come out. (Like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.) The excitement people had was completely contagious. I loved being a part of that feeling!

One of the things I vividly remember when I first started working was how busy the theater would get, especially on the weekends. The lobby would be jampacked full of patrons, but then as soon as the movies started, the lobby would empty out completely, and it would be so quiet.

I truly loved working, and I worked about 30 hours a week through my junior and senior years of high school. I expanded from working in the concession stand to also working in the box office and as an usher. (Ushers are the people who clean up the auditoriums after each show.) When I worked as an usher the first couple of times I was shocked at how absolutely trashed the auditoriums would be on a busy day/night. I couldn't believe that the majority of the people would just leave their trash instead of growing it away on their way out.

I started working as an associate manager when I graduated high school. I loved the new opportunities and responsibilities this brought. A couple of my favorite tasks were making the employee schedule and doing payroll every week, doing the weekly inventory and also hiring new employees.

By November 2003 I had been working at the theater for almost 3 1/2 years, however, I only made $6.90 an hour. I didn't feel like this insultingly low wage adequately compensated me for all that I did, but I stayed at the job because I really loved it and I loved the people I worked with. I'd made many wonderful friends in my years working at the theater. Here is a picture of me working as a manager:

Whenever I go to the movies now I always have nostalgic feelings as I remember the fun years I spent working at the movies. It was my first and only job and I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to know what it's like to have a job and earn money.


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