From Orange County, CA — 07/10/2009
I'm a Full Time Assistant Manager for Hot Topic in Orange County, CA. At one point in time my review would've been much better, and I'll explain why it's not below. Most of my ratings apply mostly to management, so keep that in mind when looking through my review. Ratings would be significantly higher if I was simply rating from a sales associate perspective.
PAY: I've basically been told by District Managers, etc. that because we "get to have tattoos and piercings and dress the way we want" that our pay may be lower than other retail stores. It's kind of a cop out to me, but you learn to accept it. Sales Associates are hired at minimum wage, very rarely more than that unless the store manager knows the person, etc. Management pay varies by store volume and location. I'm currently paid more at my location than someone of my position would be simply because I transferred from a busier store.
RESPECT: As a sales associate the respect in this job is excellent. I've only worked in management for this company, but at the 3 different stores I've worked sales associates have always been treated with respect.
BENEFITS: Benefits at this company are better than you'll find at most retail stores. Full and Part time managers are eligible for Dental, Medical, Vision, and Life. Keyholders are not eligible for benefits but for a very low amount per paycheck they can receive TeleDoc. Another reviewer was more comprehensive on this section so I'll leave it to them.
JOB SECURITY: Management, Keyholders, & Regular Sales Associates have pretty good job security. Another reviewer said that if you are fired you are performing badly, PERIOD. This is pretty close to true, however there are some exceptions which vary by management. Seasonal Associates are not always so lucky.
WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Great for sales associates and even keyholders and part time management. Awful for Full Time Assistants and Store Managers. I have close to no life outside of work. 40 hours a week (I've worked more at other jobs, but typically with a set schedule so it didn't seem as severe), split days off, varying schedules, texts and phone calls from co-workers asking questions, etc. Closing shifts are swing which takes up most of if not all of your day. Opening shifts are the best to come by but seem to be few and far between.
CAREER POTENTIAL/GROWTH: A lot of this depends on your Store Manager and your District Manager. When I worked in another district it was very clear that there was a ladder to climb and someone to help you climb it. In my current district all is not so clear. If your DM doesn't think very highly of you, even if he or she never sees you, chances are you're staying where you are indefinitely.
LOCATION: There are a ton of Hot Topic stores throughout the USA. I live about 5 minutes from one. However, I have to drive 40 minutes to my store everyday. You cannot always work at the location you want, and as management you are expected to be able to commute if you want to stay in the good graces of your DM. (At least here in OC)
CO-WORKER COMPETENCE: Co-Workers are typically competent here, but you get a lot of people that are burnt out and simply don't work enough. I've had to pick up a lot of slack for others and it's made be bitter.
WORK ENVIRONMENT: For sales associates, the work environment is great. Good music, nice management, typically easy to handle customers. For management, we're constantly remerchandising, emailing, auditing, processing, etc. etc. etc. to the point where the environment is no longer a cool place.