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Old 12-01-2010, 09:58 PM   #1
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Working at a LFS

Winter break is rolling around, and as a broke college student it is the perfect time to get to work. I am thinking of going to some fish stores here in the city and asking about getting a job. Fish have been a huge interest of mine for many years, but I still know barely anything about them. I have bought cichlid books to try and learn about them, but I'd say hands on experience is the key. There's a lab here at my school that actively uses fish for research (to study development, nervous system, etc.), but I am waiting until junior year to start actively looking for a lab (I'm a bio major.)

So, as you can guess, I love aquariums. Being broke has prevented me from going all out on tanks, so why not get a job being around tons of tanks? Have any of you ever worked in one? What's the learning curve like? I'm assuming the pay is dead minimum wage? Most of all, did you enjoy it?

Looking forward to your responses.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:21 PM   #2
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It can have everything to do with who you work with, not the job title. Some places will pay okay, others won't. It will suck to work for some bosses and with some coworkers, and other can turn into lifelong relationships. In my opinion the learning in this hobby never stops. There is always a better or newer product, method, and even species. But that is what makes it so interesting. With luck you will get to work with a great company and people and hopefully get a deal like a tank at cost or a used one for free.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:40 AM   #3
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I'm never sure working at a LFS is a good idea for someone who loves fish keeping!
Especially with the chain stores it's all about profit and if the welfare of the fish have to suffer due to that then so be it..
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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You may be completely disgusted with methods and conditions at an LFS. For any one good LFS, there seems to be five bad ones. Many are concerned with moving product more than animal welfare. Consider this just a word of warning.

I'd love to work at a good LFS, but it won't pay the bills.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:19 AM   #5
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I think it's a great idea for anyone into fishkeeping to get a good view of the "other side". Experiences definitely vary from store to store and with the personnel. Even if you learn what not to do in your aquatic future, you've learned while earning some cash right?

Mark- While I tend to agree with you on the chain stores, it's hard to cast such a wide net. There are many responsible LFS owners and operators out there. When you are talking about publicly traded corporations, it should not surprise anyone that profit is the primary and often only motivation.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:55 AM   #6
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I'm with you! After my last final on Wednesday, I'm hitting up every LFS for a job. I have a friend who works at one, so I'm already sort of used to the things they do to fish and all... but, you have to realize they can't treat every fish like gold. They have to make a profit. Which is sad.
Most LFS, pay minimum wage and hours can be small for awhile. If you go to like a Petsmart or Petco, you may not even get to be around the fish section.
But, you will learn tons and get great stories from customers!
(Yay! Science majors! I'm a chem major)
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:33 AM   #7
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I wouldn't want to work at one, cause talking these stupid parents about not putting an angelfish in a bowl for their spoiled kid would get annoying after a while.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:50 PM   #8
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bottom line is, it'll be more about working with people than it will be about working with fish. This is the case with pretty much every retail job. After college, I worked at an outdoor store (camping, fishing, climbing and hiking) for a couple years. Cool stuff, and I learned a lot about the tech, but I learned more about the people. If you're lucky, you'll find a job that you can love as much as your hobby. good luck
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:00 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice, guys.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:13 AM   #10
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I work in one currently and unfortunately it's one of the evil empire types. It has its moments and the pay is usually lousy to start. There's also always those people that think they know everything when really with fish it seems to be a consistent learning experience. You always learn something new, always have to adapt to a new way of thinking. Or the ones who just want the paycheck and kind of go through the motions unconcerned about the actual welfare of the animal(sadly in accordance with the managers who oversee store operations).

I think it's definitely worth it for a while. You may get lucky and work with really awesome people who like what they do. Never hurts to expand our knowledge base.

I just don't recommend it long term.. especially this time of year! I am up to my eyeballs in impulse shoppers buying their kids fish spur of the moment cause they whine and want to take them home.. especially when most of the parents don't even like them! First general rule of animals when it comes to selling to people with children.. if they can't stand to even look at it, mush less touch it, they should probably go home and sleep on it.

If you're patient and aren't prone to throttling people go for it. So rewarding when people actually heed warnings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconis View Post
Winter break is rolling around, and as a broke college student it is the perfect time to get to work. I am thinking of going to some fish stores here in the city and asking about getting a job. Fish have been a huge interest of mine for many years, but I still know barely anything about them. I have bought cichlid books to try and learn about them, but I'd say hands on experience is the key. There's a lab here at my school that actively uses fish for research (to study development, nervous system, etc.), but I am waiting until junior year to start actively looking for a lab (I'm a bio major.)

So, as you can guess, I love aquariums. Being broke has prevented me from going all out on tanks, so why not get a job being around tons of tanks? Have any of you ever worked in one? What's the learning curve like? I'm assuming the pay is dead minimum wage? Most of all, did you enjoy it?

Looking forward to your responses.
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