By Kara Jordhoy
Like most middle class teenagers, Diana Curreri was forced by her parents into getting a summer job. However, unlike the majority, that single job at a major clothing store influenced her decisions regarding school and employment for the next six years. The typical parental phrase “get a job” can now be regarded as inspiration towards a possible future career.
“My mom forcing me to get a job changed my life forever,” Curreri said. “I only saw it as a summer job, but it was way more than that.”
Born on a rainy Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York on March 18, 1986, Curreri was an average child growing up in the Tri-State area. She attended school, played sports and had many friends. When Curreri was eight years old, her family took her and her younger brother Dean to live in Marlboro, New Jersey. While still living how they did in Brooklyn, Curreri’s mother had different plans for her once she turned sixteen.
“She told me to go to a group interview at Old Navy,” Curreri said. “I was so against it, but she was tired of paying for things that I needed.”
Much to her dismay, Curreri dragged herself to the group interview on June 12, 2003. There she met six other people applying for the same job, but only her and another girl obtained the positions. Old Navy supplied them with uniforms: a collared shirt and a name tag, and were given a schedule. Then summer began.
“I liked getting an income every other week,” Curreri said. “Then I just decided to continue working there.”
By working at Old Navy, Curreri was able to get flexible hours that went perfectly with her high school workload. She started out as a regular part time employee; one that helped customers and worked the register. However, something happened that Curreri did not expect: she started to like her job. Soon that “summer job” became a full time position.
“After a year I was given more tasks to do at work,” Curreri said. “I had numerous positions at Old Navy, including working in management.”
Once Curreri graduated from Marlboro High School, she decided to keep her job and attend Brookdale Community College for two years. After getting her Associates of Arts degree, she took a year off of school to concentrate on working full time. She then realized that she needed a Bachelor’s degree to pursue her career even further, so she transferred to Rutgers University- New Brunswick. She then decided to live closer to the school and work at Gap, a division of Old Navy, in East Brunswick. From there, Curreri has worked at the Gap in numerous malls in towns including Freehold and Monmouth.
“I want to stay within the company, but do something bigger than just being inside of the store, like layouts or human resources,” Curreri said. “I plan on moving to San Francisco to work in cooperate at the Gap there.”
Curreri is looking to graduate from Rutgers University in the fall of 2010. She is currently majoring in Journalism and Media Studies, and hopes to maybe write newsletters for Gap Incorporated, or for retail in general in magazines.
“I love the Gap,” Curreri said. “I can’t wait to embellish my career there.”