The retail industry, a key employer around the holidays, is expected to hire the most seasonal workers since 2006 at stores, distribution centers and credit operations nationwide, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Sales clerk positions at stores and seasonal kiosks are the usual suspects for job hunters, but there are other job opportunities that may not be as obvious.
Earlier this month, Ann Heckart, 61, reported for duty at specialty retailer Brookstone's distribution center in Mexico, Mo., for her fourth holiday season. She's working an 8-hour shift, five days a week in quality control, checking each package to be sure that what's in the carton, say, a Boogie Board LCD writing tablet or iPod stand, matches the order slip.
The job suits her. She's detail-oriented, comfortable with numbers, and is able to lift moderately heavy packages, perhaps 15 pounds, if needed. Hours can swing each day, depending on the order volume, but Heckart expects that she'll be working seven days a week when peak shipping hits in mid-December, and then her hours will quickly taper off in early January.
Hourly pay is minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, but her checks can swell thanks to overtime. That said, it's neither the money nor the job duties, per se, that keeps her coming back to Brookstone for the holidays. "I just like working," Heckart says.
Whatever your motivation, there's a great holiday job out there that satisfies it. Here are five possibilities to consider. Pay ranges, which will vary based on factors such as experience and where you live, are primarily derived from U.S. Department of Labor data.