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Why Working for Parking May Be the Best Job for You

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StudendRecruitments_700x240_BlogIf you’re like most college students, then you’re probably holed up in your dorm room or off-campus apartment eating ramen regularly and watching Netflix on your cable-less TV. What we mean to say is, you’re cash-strapped.

But college life doesn’t have to consist of sodium, noodles and nonstop buffering. There’s a solution. And we’re here to help.

Working for UCLA Transportation isn’t just your typical job. You’re not going to be pushing papers and brewing coffee. You’ll learn some real-life stuff that you can actually apply to, well, your real life.

But don’t take it from us. We talked to one of our student workers, Jeanette Ochoa Sanchez, a lead attendant for Parking Services. Here’s what she had to say.

How long have you worked for Parking Services?

Two and a half years.

What do you like about it?

I like the work environment. The supervisors are always giving us a helping hand. Every time they brief us, their closing statement is always, “Make sure you know when your midterms are, your schedule. Please let us know because school is first.” They’re so lenient, and they can accommodate your schedule. I really like that. You build relationships with them and actually enjoy working.

I also like the fact that you’re always doing something. You’re always on your feet. It’s unpredictable, which is good because it’s preparing you for new things. It helps me deal with different people, different situations better, and I’ve noticed this from the first time I started working there. I feel like I can speak and interact and deal with crazy situations much more efficiently than I would have before.  It sounds cliché, but you literally learn every day as you go. It makes you a better person, and it makes you deal with people, and it gives you more patience because you’re just more understanding of others.

It sounds like this job has really benefitted your personal life.

Before, I was in a certain mindset: “People have to respect me. I’m only going to respect people who respect me.” But working and having a job, no matter what you do, no matter how nice you are, someone is always going to be mean, and at the end of the day, you need to be patient. And you don’t take it to heart. You just learn to brush it off. Before, I would feel really hurt when someone would be rude to me. But now I realize that it’s okay, and you just need to do your job, and you’re fine. You grow. You learn. You literally deal with every type of person you can imagine, and you just learn to accommodate.

Now I can definitely deal with people and my roommates—when it comes to dilemmas at my apartment or whatever the case is, I’m way better at dealing with everything. I feel like I am more patient and I’m more reasonable. I’m not as stubborn anymore.

What does your job entail?

I’m in charge of setting up the forms for the attendants, making sure they show up to their shift on time. From there, I deploy them to their stations, and then I’m standing by the phone and radio just in case they have questions. We kind of do the supervisor’s job. We help keep a balance between the office and the field at the same time.

Describe a typical day.

Sign in, check out my van, my radio, grab the shift list, see who’s supposed to come to work, what time, make sure they’re there. When we pick up the attendants, we collect their money, process them, file their forms, and at the same time the phones are going crazy. We get a lot of messages on the radio. We’re kind of multitasking. The phone’s always ringing. An attendant always needs change. You’re always talking to a customer. You’re always picking up someone and moving them to certain locations.

Time must go by very quickly.

Yeah. The only time it’s not busy is when we have no events; we’ll have the typical kiosk hours. But then, there’s no such thing as the perfect day. There’s always a customer that’s angry. There’s always a customer asking for directions. There’s always an attendant who doesn’t know exactly what to do.

How do you deal with an unhappy customer?

I realize that you have to let them know that you actually care. Your intonation, your voice has to change. You have to look at the customer and tell them, “You know, I’m so sorry. I understand what you’re going through. Let me try to make some calls or talk to my supervisors to help you with what you need.” I’ve noticed that even if you don’t resolve what they need, the fact that you actually tried, they’ll tell me, “Thank you for at least trying,” or “Thank you for putting up with me,” or “Thank you for giving me your time.” Even while they’re being really rude, you just have to be a bigger person and try to help.

So you were originally an attendant and then got promoted. What do you think made you stand out?

I’ve always had really good cash handling skills, and for the most part, I was always very social, very friendly. I was always that girl that would walk into the office and say, “Hey! What’s up?” and they’ve seen me interact with customers. There’s a difference between reading the script and being genuine. I’ve noticed it too because every time I would greet customers, I would always be like, “Hi! Welcome to UCLA,” and they’d be like “Oh, whoa there. Hello to you too!” It was different.

Seeing them react like that really brought my self-esteem up, and it flattered me, in a way. It kept me going for the whole shift. Sometimes I would be really tired, but I’d still be like, “Hi! Welcome to UCLA. How may I help you?”

In addition to being personable and having good customer service skills, what other qualities do you recommend to be successful here?

I wouldn’t recommend people to have certain qualities for this job. I want to say that if you’re shy, if you’re not very social—I’ve never been involved in groups or clubs—if you’re lacking something or you need that extra push, Parking [Services] can really help bring that out. It really can. Just being part of Parking and every day interactions will legitimately help you feel better—at least for me.

Why else would you recommend this job?

The hours are very flexible. The supervisors are disciplined in a good way. They make you responsible. They’re literally preparing you for life outside of college, for a real job. I’m not saying this isn’t a real job, but it’s actually useful training for what to expect. You need to take what they teach you and progress with it.

Also, you actually have some downtime where you can get a lot of homework stuff done. I’m not saying laptops and iPads out, but I’m saying you can get a lot of reading done, and at the same time you’re getting paid for it. So who doesn’t like that, honestly?

Another thing is if you work for Parking, you’re guaranteed a parking pass. Not to a specific lot, but you’re always guaranteed a pass, which is also a plus. They help you out, even if you missed the deadline or suddenly, last minute, you need a pass. Last summer I was commuting to work, and I purchased a parking pass.

How do you commute to work now?

I walk. I live on Veteran. It’s a 15-minute walk. The fact that I’m able to walk to campus and walk to work is very efficient for me.

Which do you prefer? Walking or driving?

The drive’s horrible, and I feel bad for other people. I live in the San Fernando Valley. That’s a 15-20 minute drive, without traffic. I mean, it’s beautiful, but then in the mornings it would take me two hours to get here.

I would leave hours before just so I could find parking on Veteran, or park and then sleep in my car and then come to work and class and then leave. The fact that you have to revolve your time, not even around work, but around traffic, is horrible.

UCLA traffic is horrible. I always see minor crashes, parking, dealing with things like that, having to worry that your car is safe, that you’re not going to hit someone—it’s an extra load on you that you don’t have to deal with.

So walking: good. Driving: bad. And working for Parking: absolutely. Does that about sum it up?

Working for Parking can be a really good starting point because you get to meet a lot of new people. You get connections. I’ve seen people help each other with classes or let each other borrow books and then leave them in the office. I feel like the skills I have now as a lead attendant have really helped me. I can put a lot of new skills under my belt, on my resume. Parking really did that for me.

Michelle King contributed to this article. 

24 Awesome Walking Routes Around UCLA

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We all know the health benefits of walking. It’s been hammered into us (hopefully!) again and again. You can lose weight. It helps you clear your mind and de-stress. It increases overall happiness and well-being. We know. That’s why I love walking. And if you love walking as much as I do, you also know that sometimes the best routes can’t be found using Google Maps. It’s a trial-and-error kind of thing. You take a spontaneous left somewhere and end up standing against the most beautiful backdrop you never would have found otherwise.

But I’ve cut some corners for you. There’s no need to go trekking out alone. I stumbled upon some of the best walking routes around the UCLA area, courtesy of a list compiled by UCLA Recreation, and have done you a solid by listing them here.

What’s more, UCLA Newsroom’s Cynthia Lee put together this awesome little list of “17 places you won’t see on the official UCLA campus tour.” So while you’re all out there taking the UCLA campus by foot, be sure to stop, smell the roses and take a gander at some of these lesser-known landmarks.

Now back to that list of walking routes:

UCLA Campus and UCLA Medical Center

  1. Westwood Park
  2. Botanical Gardens
    Route 1 |  Route 2
  3. North Campus
  4. North West Campus
  5. Sculpture Garden
  6. South Campus
  7. Wilshire Blvd
  8. Veteran Ave
  9. Wilson Plaza
  10. Charles E. Young Drive
    East Route |  North Route
  11. Hilgard Ave

UCLA Residence Hall and Guest House

  1. De Neve/Dykstra
    Route 1 |  Route 2
  2. Hedrick/Rieber
    Route 1 |  Route 2
  3. Sproul/Covel
    Route 1 |  Route 2
  4. UCLA Guest House
    Route 1 |  Route 2

Santa Monica Medical Center and LAX Walking Routes

  1. Santa Monica Medical Center
    Route 1 |  Route 2
  2. LAX

 

Rideshare Thursdays

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IMG_6677Joshua and his wife both commute to UCLA. Rather than sit behind the wheel, they hop on their bike to get to campus. What better way to spend some quality time! We appreciate you and your wife's dedication to active transportation and to living a sustainable lifestyle, Joshua! Thanks for ridesharing!

Joshua RouchIMG_6678

I am a third year surgical resident at UCLA. My wife is finishing her first year as a business student at UCLA Anderson. I have commuted via bicycle every day for three years from Santa Monica.

One morning in May, my wife and I enjoyed a nice 5.5-mile commute up San Vicente, through the VA and into Westwood. While we often ride bikes together, this was our first trip and commute to work/school together—and a very successful one at that.

 

 

5 ways riding the bus has positively impacted my life

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metrorapidI recently discovered leaving my car at home and taking the bus to work is a great alternative to driving. Overall, my experience riding the bus has been convenient and worry-free. Taking the Red Line 734 to work has made a positive impact in my life in five unique ways:

  1. Money Saved
  2. Let me be perfectly clear, I did not save enough money to buy a new Porsche. However, the savings from taking the bus did have a real impact on my budget. The money that I saved was substantial. By trimming down my gas bill I can now skip the pizza and enjoy some fresh cooked salmon for dinner every now and then.

  1. Clear Conscience
  2. One day as I sat on the bus I looked out the window to see so many people riding solo in their cars. Just a few weeks ago that was me driving alone to work. Trust me, I’m not saying I don’t miss my car because that would be a lie. However, I do enjoy having a clear conscience and knowing that by taking public transit that I am actually reducing emissions and helping to keep the environment clean.

  1. Making New Friends
  2. To my surprise, I have met new and interesting people since making the move to public transit. Recently, I found myself sitting next to an avid fan of the Boston Celtics. This could have been a very long bus ride given that I bleed “Purple & Gold” for the Los Angeles Lakers. For the entire ride we debated which franchise is the greatest and who was a better player Magic or Bird. Now as it turns out, I look forward to seeing my disillusioned friend from Boston so we can continue our heated debate. Go Lakers!

  1. Daily “Me” Time
  2. I’ve discovered that riding on the bus allows me to catch up on all of my novelty reading and research. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make tamales but could never find the time. After reading several recipes and articles I’ve learned the process is tedious and time consuming. Consequently, I will continue to buy my tamales at the local market and leave the real cooking up to the professionals.

  1. Daily Exercise
  2. Every day I walk approximately a quarter mile to the bus stop. No, it’s not quite as long as running a marathon but I’m still burning calories by walking in each direction. Sometimes I even increase my walking pace just to ensure that I’m burning enough calories to enjoy a donut when I get to the office. Correction, maybe two or three donuts!

Bikes 4 Orphans 2nd annual bike-a-thon & hike-a-thon

Bike-A-ThonBlog

Bike-A-ThonBlogOn Saturday, Feb. 28, Bikes 4 Orphans will be hosting its 2nd annual Bike-A-Thon | Hike-A-Thon. The family and pet friendly event will take place at the Glendale Sports Complex from 9 am to 12 pm. Hike or bike at the event and enjoy live music, food and raffle prizes with 100% of the proceeds going to the organization. Learn more about Bikes 4 Orphans from President Shwant Bazikian:


Bike-A-ThonWhat was the inspiration behind Bikes 4 Orphans? 

My brother Sebouh, a freshman at UCLA and avid cyclist, learned about the Machao orphanage in Kenya, where the children walked 2 hours a day barefoot to get to school! He thought bikes would be a simple solution to decrease their commute times. Initially, it was supposed to be only a few bikes but it began to blossom into something much greater.

What is the mission/objective of Bikes 4 Orphans?
Our mission is to provide bikes to as many children in orphanages as possible. Primarily to those who have to walk multiple hours to get to school.

How does having a bike impact the lives of these children?
It’s a truly tremendous impact! Bicycles allow them to get to school faster and safer. Also, bikes encourage them to finish their education quicker because the commute to and from school is easier and more fun. Some use the bike to carry water and goods to and from their orphanage or to find a job, there is no limit to how they can better their lives with something as simple as a bicycle.

Have the children in these orphanages changed your point of view on life in any way?
Yes, of course. It has showed me that these children are full of potential but lack the resources to reach it. We saw firsthand at the Armenia delivery how these children were able to assemble a bike without having seen one. It is truly amazing what these children are capable of with even just the smallest amount of guidance. I like to say that, “Every orphan (human) has an innate ambition to become something better, and bicycles unlock that potential”.

What has surprised you the most since you started Bikes 4 Orphans? 
The thing that has surprised us the most is how generous people can be. For example, we had a 10 year old donate his brand new bike when he heard about our project as well as a teenage girl donate all her birthday money because she wanted to help others. Everyone in the world wants to help, its human nature, they are just waiting for a cause that will inspire them.

What are some of the obstacles that prevent you from providing bikes to the children? 
One obstacle is determining the legitimacy of an orphanage. We need to validate each orphanage and make sure they are government recognized and official orphanages. Also, as of now we can’t deliver the bikes everywhere due to high transportation and delivery costs. We work with organizations like the World Bicycle Relief and Qhebeka because their prices are the most affordable but the down side is that they only deliver to certain countries. As we move forward, we are looking to expand our connections and reach orphanages in other countries.

What countries have you serviced so far?
We have helped 5 orphanages in 3 countries, Kenya, South Africa and Armenia. We are in the final steps to delivering 25 bikes to Ethiopia and 15 to another orphanage in South Africa.

Ideally, how many bikes would you like to provide this year? 
We are currently trying to raise an additional $10,000 by July of this year. The money will help provide 70 bikes to those in need.