By Gavin Arucan | Staff Writer
Like most college students and Hawaiʻi residents, I have a couple of part time jobs to bring in some money in between classes. One of my jobs, of course, is a writer for Kapi’o News, but the other is an employee of ʻŌlino by Consolidated Theatres. Funnily enough, I was hired at both jobs at almost the same time, around nine months ago. At the time, ʻŌlino was about to have its grand opening at Ka Makana Aliʻi in Kapolei as one of Hawaiʻi’s few “luxury movie theaters.” After my job interview, I remember curiously searching the Internet for other people’s opinions on movie theater jobs to be unexpectedly met with cynical blogs and articles listing reasons why working at a movie theater was the worst experience of the writer’s life.
Thankfully, what is my first customer service job turned out to be a fun and educational experience, contrary to what the majority of Google search results claim. I know that there are much more fulfilling jobs out there for college students, but I also know that there are still many college students still looking for a good first job. While I could (and probably should) shamelessly plug Kapiʻo News as a great college job, here are a few reasons why the movie theater could be a great place of employment for those looking for a part time job.
These reasons are all based on my experiences at ʻŌlino, so they’re not all relevant to other movie theaters on the island. However, ʻŌlino is very similar to Ward, since they’re both the premium theaters of Consolidated Theatres. There are also a few similarities between ʻŌlino and Regal Kapolei Commons, though I don’t know how Regal runs its movie theaters compared to Consolidated. I do know for a fact that most of the older Consolidated movie theaters are run differently than both ʻŌlino and Ward, so some of my experiences at ʻŌlino will not be the same as Koʻolau or Kahala.
With that disclaimer out of the way, what is probably the best reason to get a movie theater job:
Employee Benefits Include Free Movies
Getting to watch movies on the big screen for free was one of the main reasons why I wanted to work at a movie theater in the first place. At most movie theaters, employees get to enjoy the privilege of watching movies for free as long as the movie’s opening weekend has passed. With movie ticket prices so high, this one benefit has saved me hundreds of dollars for one of my favorite pastimes. It also justifies watching bad movies or watching my favorite films more than once.
Another employee benefit is a hefty discount at the concession stand. At most other theaters, I wouldn’t care for theater food, but ʻŌlino prides itself in its extensive menu. I actually like the food available at ʻŌlino, so a 25% to 50% discount is welcome. And, contrary to popular belief, you won’t get sick of popcorn by working at a movie theater. I, for one, can barely make out the smell of popcorn anymore.
You Have a Lot of Coworkers
Even at ʻŌlino, one of the smallest Consolidated Theatres, I consistently have around 90 other coworkers, with new staff being hired every few weeks. Movie theaters are big businesses that can only run with the help of a massive staff. There are several positions that require several people at a time to work.
Working at a movie theater is a great way to meet new people and make more friends. My coworkers are enough of a reason for me to continue working at ʻŌlino. There’s also another upside to having so many coworkers:
You’re Never ‘On Call’
Until talking to a friend who works as a server at a small Japanese restaurant, it never dawned on me that I had such a large group of fellow employees. My friend constantly works double shifts and has to rush to work on days she’s not scheduled for because she only has around ten other coworkers. While dozens of my fellow coworkers have pulled doubles a few times since ʻŌlino opened, it was rarely because a manager forced them to.
Especially as a college students who already has a tight schedule, I’m glad that I have a work schedule that I can always be certain about. I don’t have to worry about one of my managers calling me while I’m at the North Shore to help out on a busy night.
The Abundance of Positions Can Lead to a Variety of Valuable Work Experience
At a typical restaurant, one may work as a host, server, cook, or bus person on any given shift. At a retail store, one might be a sales associate, stocker, cashier, or customer service employee. However, at ʻŌlino, I have worked as an usher, ticket taker, guest service employee/box office cashier, concessions cashier, Expo employee (bringing food from kitchen to waiting customers), bartender, server (yes, we are a restaurant too), and cook. There’s also a position as barista, which I have no interest in being trained in. Each of those positions are different and require very specific skills to be done well.
I’m not saying that each position is very difficult, especially compared to any full time job, but if I were to look into any other part time job, I think my résumé would be able to speak for itself.
Yes, Work Can Be Hard, But That’s What You Were Hired To Do
Those are the main benefits that sets a movie theater job apart from most other part time jobs a college student could get. However, that doesn’t mean that it still won’t be hard work. Movie theaters get busy, especially on weekends. Some days there will be a line out the building heading straight to you at concessions. You’ll have to clean up after 300 customers coming out of the latest and greatest Disney movie with their messy children. A customer will storm angrily towards you at guest services because their son is under 21 years old and they bought tickets online for a 21+ Beer and Wine showing. A hungry family might order five burgers that you still have to grill after the dozens of other orders you’re behind on.
Just because a job is difficult doesn’t mean it’s a bad job. As much as I love my part time job, there are those nights (or early mornings, I should say, since I mostly work closing shifts), where I crawl out of my car and jump desperately into bed (and maybe cry myself to sleep) after a long, stressful day at work. But I’ll still go back the next day because it’s what I have to (and sometimes want to) do. Taking on a job is taking on a huge responsibility, and I want to prove that I’m dependable enough carry that responsibility. Someone is paying me and trusting me to uphold the mission of their company, so of course there’s going to be hard work. However, I know that all of that hard work is going to pay off in experience, character, and, best of all, money.