From East Longmeadow, MA — 07/08/2008
PAY: The pay here, in my honest opinion, is fairly distributed. I started in October of 2005 at 7.00 an hour. I was only 17 at the time, and it was my second job. (six flags was my first job and it was 6.75 an hour so 7 sounded amazing) I've been here 2.5 years and make 10.20 an hour. It would have been higher if I hadn't been store jumped (Helped open the chicopee location). Like most jobs, the harder you work and can prove yourself, the better rate of pay and more recognition you'll get.
RESPECT: I absolutely love my coworkers, if for nothing more than for the fact that there is this amazing level of respect throughout all the different levels of workforce. I personally am a supervisor. I get amazing respect from both the management, and the associates. It's great because it's mutual.
BENEFITS: I get at least one paid vacation week a year, it depends on the hours that I work. I actually work 40 hours a week, so it accrues fairly quickly. I also have health insurance with Blue Cross for 50 bucks a check (we're paid bi-weekly), Dental for 5 and voluntary life for 3. I eat for free. Things like this seem not so important, but I'm very grateful to have been so lucky to find a job like this.
JOB SECURITY: Along with the Respect and what not, my coworkers and even those above me know me enough to know what I am capable of and my potential. I've never once done anything to plant any negative thoughts in their heads, and therefore feel very secure in my workplace. They know I want to make a career out of this so... :)
WORK/LIFE BALANCE: I've had no issues whatsoever as far as my scheduling is concerned. My GM does the scheduling, and he always reads the request off book and if something major comes up with short notice, he helps try to work things out. He also does our schedules 4-6 weeks in advanced so I can plan any free time around work. The only thing is every once in a while I'm scheduled a closing/opening shift, but the most it does is make me a little tired lol
CAREER POTENTIAL/GROWTH: As soon as I started working at Panera, I knew it was a job that I would love. Within a week I was training other new hires, because a new store in West Springfield was opening up. The management there noticed me, the District training people noticed me, everyone had said I was going to be big. The only thing that was a disadvantage was my age. At 18 I was moved up to Supervisor, and now, at 20, I'm next up in line for an internal promotion. The minimum age to be an assistant manager is 21, so I have a little while to work on myself. All in all this company has done so much for me and as a trainer, I always tell my trainees that you'll get back just what you put into this work, at least. I've seen many people get hired and grow like I have, it's all what you do for the company.
LOCATION: This location was very convenient when I was 17 and lived at home. I was literally 3 minutes away. Now I live on the Chicopee border with my Fiancee and its about 20 mins away. With gas prices, it is a little more of a pain, but I have a little car that's fuel efficient, so I still don't worry all that much.
CO-WORKER COMPETENCE: I don't have much to complain about as far as co-workers are concerned. The only thing that's really much of an issue is that there's a bit of the anti-fraternization rules that are ignored. Everything else is great. I can depend on them for anything and they know they can depend on me.
WORK ENVIRONMENT: Greatest work environment ever. Every once in a while you get the ignorant customer, but for the most part, they are great. We know each other by names, I know what they order, they ask about my life, it's great. I always feel very accomplished with whatever tasks I'm assigned throughout my shift, whether it be actually running the shift, being on register, Making the food, or cleaning. Again I say, this really is an amazing company, and I'd give anything for it, and I really hope that anyone looking for a job stumbles across this.