I started out as a Vendor at Juma, selling ice cream, candy, churros, corn dogs, and hot chocolate at the Mariners, Sounders and Seahawk games. I later sold sodas and water at concerts at Key Arena. I remember not being pleased with the fact that I had to work really hard as a Vendor since sales are based on how much effort you put in. At first I would complain about being tired of walking up and down the stairs, and not selling enough but all I needed was someone to tell me to get back out there. Through the encouragement of my managers, I gained the confidence I needed to come back with my churro bag empty and sell more.
I continued vending and my customer service skills greatly improved. I grew accustomed to having face-to-face interactions with customers in a high intensity environment. I learned to be approachable, professional, and I always kept a smile on my face even if my feet were cramping, or legs were giving out from walking so many stairs. Through the physical struggles, I gained mental strength that would help me later in life. Whether it was keeping cool and calm under pressure, or maintaining professionalism while a rude fan was unpleasant to me, vending prepared me for what was to come later in my career.
I later got promoted to Carts, which meant managing the cash register, being a barista and serving ice cream or desserts. It was a step up from vending because I got paid more, and I had to take on more responsibilities, such as closing our cart, cleaning it, taking inventory, and managing a station. I knew I was excelling because of the tips I would bring in for my crew. Nothing felt better than going home with $15 tips, and if I was lucky $20. I gained a lot more skills in carts and over time, I was training new cart members.
Juma was my first job, and as I like to see it, my first step to success. Without Juma, I wouldn’t have the skills or knowledge that I do now. They say the first step is always the hardest and I’m glad I took my first step towards Juma.
Currently, I am Property & Casualty Producer at State Farm Insurance Companies and the skills that I learned from my Juma experience, I still apply to my work and life everyday.
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