VOTED BEST PLACE TO WORK
in Lawrence, Kansas!
Category: Company with less than 50 employees
Please Click Here for more info on our hiring process!
Pet World now hires all year long. Please read more about the hiring process, spend some time in Pet World, absorb the atmosphere, observe the staff, and then decide if a job at Pet World is right for you! High school applicants must be 16 years old by the first day of classes to apply for paid employment and must adjust to a college level workplace environment that revolves around the university's calendar. Turnover is very low so positions are usually limited but we generally have enough employees launching every summer or winter to bring in apprentices who train to fill the vacated positions. After completing your brief paid apprenticeship, new part timers usually start at $11-$12 per hour during your trial period. Fully trained employees make $13-$16 per hour. All employees accumulate PTO and purchase their supplies slightly over cost. Scheduling is flexible and student friendly with no late nights! Employees are off work by 8pm during the week and 7pm on weekends.
COVID 19 NOTICE: The hiring process has been restructured to function mostly remotely but if you can get through the application part, the rest will seem fun and easy!
Pet World is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a dedicated SAFE SPACE for minority and marginalized groups. We stand in solidarity with all people. Employees are expected to provide a safe environment for children, families, elderly, mentally or physically disabled, and people of all races, gender identities, orientation, religions, and creeds. Full Disclosure: As a highly sought after resume job in a college town, most applicants are high school and college students, however, ANYONE is welcome to apply!
Positions available include youth volunteering (ages 11-15), paid apprenticeships, and special needs cooperative employment (when available -- we are currently at capacity). Our turnover rate is very low so the position you seek may not be available when you apply but you can always begin your paid apprenticeship so you can be next in line when something opens up.
Please Click Here for more info on our hiring process!
Favorite Reasons to Work at PW!
(according to our employees)
ANIMALS! With exotic animal rescue, adoptions, breeding, selling, and rehoming so many animals, employees get hands on experiences with animals every single day, behind the scenes as well as on the sales floor with customers.
HUMANS! Not only will you get to work with the coolest customers around, you'll also have the privilege to offer memorable experiences to their amazing children! Denied access to his local pet store as a child, Tim, (one of the store owners), requires all employees to make sure children can see, touch, or safely hold live animals any time they want! Fostering a child's natural affinity for nature and all living things is a critcal part of development so we always provide opportunities to experience live human-animal interactions to every child who enters Pet World.
In additon to our customer family, you will meet like minded people and form lifelong friendships with amazing coworkers from all walks of life. You'll learn about loyalty, trust, encouragement, and what it really means to be a vital part of a team. All PW employees know it is never about any one person and always about the collective experience a high functioning team can provide.
COMMUNITY! Unlike predictable, corporate chain stores, PW is unique and has been a vital, dynamic part of the Lawrence community since 1988. PW employees provide educational opportunities on the sales floor during work, parties, and presentations away from work, in our local schools, daycares, events, and often get recognized away from work and thanked for making a positive difference in the local community.
CHALLENGE! Pet World employees are always moving forward, pushing their limits, and challenging themselves to improve every day. You can never get bored or complacent at PW because with every new skill mastered you'll discover a possibility opens up for yet another higher level of learning and accomplishment.
OPPORTUNITY! Most employees shift from teenagers into young adults during an average four year experience at PW then launch into their careers. During their tenure they earn the opportunity to wear many different hats and try varying roles to maximize their on the job learning potential. Not all employees are students and some students work full time at PW while on hiatus from school. Most return to higher education eventually while others use their PW work experience as a building block for careers that don't require degrees. With strict standards and high expectations, employees learn to be responsible and self sufficient. Most employees leave on great terms and build successful careers. Several have gone on to be medical professionals, teachers, lawyers, veterinarians, and run their own successful businesses - including pet stores!
LEARNING! At Pet World, you will learn something new every single day. Employees always say they didn't realize how much there is to learn about animals and nature until they worked at PW.
TEACHING! One of the most satisfying employee experiences is educating customers about pets and connecting them to the best pet for them. Teaching passionate pet owners everything they need to know to take great care of a pet that suits their commitment level and lifestyle is the most rewarding aspect of our jobs.
RESUME BUILDING! Your work experience is customized to help build the resume you need. Empoyers work with you in advance to prepare you for when it's time to "launch" and move on to your career job.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING! Employees "enroll" in set schedules every semester according to their current lifesyle, whether they are students or not. Shifts are selected much like classes and claimed for a semester at a time. Unless you trade shifts with a coworker, your schedule is exactly the same every week. During Winter and Summer breaks, employees enjoy variable schedules built around requested time off.
EVENTS! Every month of the year PW has something fun going on! We celebrate holidays, participate in community events, have fun sales promotions and activities, and enjoy holding memorable teambuilding events for the staff. There is never a dull moment at PW!
TRAVEL! Employees are encouraged to travel and study abroad, and all permanent employees earn Paid Time Off (PTO is for personal paid leave, sick/vacation pay) with every hour worked, regardless of title or position. Employees are allowed to go inactive for extended periods then reactivate later with no concern of losing their jobs. Upper level employees enjoy all expense paid, company sponsored trips on a regular basis and any employees can request to participate when a special, company trip comes along. To encourage world travel, Pet World reimburses U.S. Passport expenses for employees.
NATURE! Employees have exclusive access to the private PW Nature Preserve, complete with its miles of hiking trails, camp sites, creeks, ponds, and home to the PW Tortoise Farm. Employees are strongly encouraged to spend time outdoors every day.
EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS! We believe that the better our staff takes care of their own pets, the better they can serve our customers so they are allowed to purchase their pets and supplies just above our cost.
"Pet World matters to me because it is a constant challenge to improve yourself, it encourages your interests and talents beyond the job itself, and because every staff member has a voice. Thank you for giving me a job I truly love and enjoy."
Have questions? This might help.
Which position is right for me?
PW offers different types of working relationships. If you're not sure which is right for you, you might want to speak to a PW employee for advice.
1. Junior Volunteer - Master Volunteer
Applicants who are too young for paid employment may "work" at PW as a volunteer up to one hour per week. If they have completed a full week of Animal Camp, kids may begin the program at age 10. Otherwise, they can start at age 11 and continue volunteering through age 15. Volunteers are issued a name badge and work through several levels. Those who work their way up to Master Volunteer receive an official volunteer shirt and official staff I.D. badge and could use their existing relationship as a hiring advantage over other applicants not familiar with PW.
2. Limited Paid Employment (less than 3 years) ages 16 and up
Apprentices with an intended exit date of less than three or four years, who complete their apprenticeships, may qualify to become paid employees. To promote from apprenticeship to standard, paid employment, an apprentice must be able to work independently and should become a trainer in at least one zone within their first six months. Paid employees work anywhere from one to five shifts per week, make much more per hour than apprentices, may go inactive for extended periods (to study abroad, go home for the summer, etc.) knowing their jobs will be waiting for them when they return, and will qualify for limited employee discounts and benefits including healthcare assistance and paid time off.
3. Indefinite Paid Employment ages 16 and up
Paid employees who don't have a predetermined exit date (what we call an intended launch date) within three or four years may want to seek mid or upper level management while working at PW. These employees have the highest earning potential, qualify for all company benefits including health insurance, expense allowances, paid time off, paid travel, paid continuing education, and will leave PW with the most valuable work experience to further their future careers.
What are Pet World employees like?
Pet World employees are passionate, dedicated hobbyists who are currently in a place in their lives where they can afford to work for average wages in exchange for the rehoming center experience. Most people work at Pet World to build an impressive resume, further their own pet interests, and be a part of something special that can launch a great career. A few, select high school students occasionally prove mature enough to handle the job, but most of our employees are college age or older. The majority of our staff is made up of young adults in their early twenties but we have employees from age 16 to 86, students and non-students, with varying levels of mental and physical abilities. They work very flexible schedules according to their availability which is updated three times a year. Some work 10 hours a week, most work 15-20 hours, some 40 hours a week, some go inactive every summer and return every fall, and some stay and work straight through for many years. All of them are the most amazing people you'll ever have the privilege to know.
Why do so many people want to work at Pet World?
Honestly, most people seek employment with Pet World as the perfect resume job and/or to be compensated for something they would otherwise do for free. Animal rehoming is challenging but rewarding work. It begins as a paid apprenticeship and turns into a valuable job. Hobbyists appreciate the opportunity to further their own interests, share their passions with others, and make a positive difference in the community. Also, Pet World is known for being a great resume job because of the vast experiences employees can use to launch new careers when it's time for a "real" job. Tim and Sherry take great pride in coaching young adults during their transition from kid to grown up and preparing them for career jobs. Parents enjoy knowing their young adults are working in a safe, supportive, family environment at a job that will help advance their children's careers. Most employees work for Pet World for about four to five years, while encouraged to travel and take time off for adventure with no fear of losing their jobs, then celebrate a "launch" as they move on to very impressive careers.
Why is turnover at Pet World so low?
The PW experience is just as amazing for employees as it is for the public. The opportunities for resume building and career preparation are endless so employees don't give up their jobs until they have to. But working at Pet World is not for everyone. This job is very difficult and it must come at the right time in your life. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. It's a great job for people who can afford to work for low wages during the apprenticeship phase and are truly passionate about retail, pets, nature, and education. Because we do rescue work, adoption, rehoming, and set the standard for all pet stores in Kansas, serving as a training site for new state inspectors, employees have a lot of responsibilities and pressure. Expectations are HIGH and the job is never easy. The first couple of weeks are the hardest and, honestly, that's when the new hires who "don't make it" tend to terminate. Technically, our turnover rate is high the first month, but, for those who succeed beyond that first month, the job usually turns into something very special and rewarding that lasts and lasts. Most employees complete several years, progressing much like students, then spend their last year preparing for their career jobs. They usually don't leave Pet World until they experience a major life change and "launch" into their next life phase. Average employment at Pet World lasts four to five years, although some start young and stay much longer.
Is getting a job at Pet World in Lawrence as difficult as people say? Why?
Yes! And no. Because we are also a rehoming shelter and an education center, the Pet World Experience is unlike any other pet store in the country and has been a local Lawrence icon since 1988. Employees are passionate hobbyists who compete with hundreds of other applicants just to get an interview! After they get the job, they don't leave for a long time, so even with a large staff, openings for new hires are few in comparison to the number of applicants. We constantly bring in new apprentices, though, from hundreds of applicants in anticipation of employees who will be launching later. The competition is tough. Only about 10% of applicants make it through the entire hiring process. Once hired, not all new employees successfully make it through the trial, apprenticeship period but most do! Every step of the hiring process is purposely designed to eliminate applicants who are not likely to succeed long term at Pet World. Applicants who fail a step in the process basically get "fired" before they get hired – to save us and the applicant the unnecessary stress of a job that wouldn’t have worked out anyway. But, for those who are well matched to the job, if the timing is right, the hiring process is usually not difficult at all.
OUR COMPANY POLICY ON SUCCESS is that all employees should be happy with their jobs and the working relationship should only continue as long as it is mutually beneficial to BOTH employee and employer. Honesty, transparency, and commitment are critical components for the success and happiness of a high functioning team.
TIPS TO GET THE JOB:
KEEP IT REAL.
When you meet us, dress comfortably and casually and be prepared to talk in depth about yourself. Don't be shy and don't be fake! We wear tee shirts to work and clean up poop here. It's pretty no nonsense. Don't hide piercings, tattoos, unconventional hair, or try to put on a show for us. We can't stand that and we really, truly, want you to just relax and BE YOURSELF. You are enough just the way you are. If you being yourself prevents you from getting a job that means it's not the right job for you. Remember, we hire all types of animal loving people, from all walks of life. We want real people, so don't try to fake your way through the process. We hope to learn enough about you in a shirt time to convince us you are the right person for the job so relax and open up. We prefer conversation over traditional interviews. We share, laugh, and sometimes even cry with new applicants. Really. It's okay. This is a SAFE SPACE to be yourself. We look for nice, outgoing, enthusiastic, confident, competitive, hardworking people who are passionate about animals and not afraid to get dirty, sweaty, scratched, and bitten! If that is you, give it a try!
Exhibit master interpersonal skills.
Use every opportunity to show your superior communication skills. Speak up when appropriate and listen respectfully when others speak. Be quick to ask or try but be mindful of your surroundings. Read the room. We want to see that you can handle yourself, function as part of a team, keep your finger on the pulse of a situation, pay attention for extended periods, lead or follow as necessary, and not crumble under pressure. Communication is everything with this job.