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Summer jobs

GAYS MILLS - Summer jobs are an important part of growing up. Did you find that to be true? I know people who either didn’t have to work during summers or couldn’t find summer jobs and it always seemed to me like they missed out on something. Of course, they may have looked at the people with jobs as missing out on a real vacation. I always counseled students to take advantage of summer jobs to earn, but also to learn, to make those jobs part of their education.

Summer jobs are like a rehearsal for the world of work. That world is one that most people will probably spend 40 years or more involved in, so learning about it is very valuable. A summer job provides a paycheck, but more importantly it means keeping a schedule and taking on real life responsibilities and learning things. You can’t help, but learn while you work. It sounds awkward but it’s true. Even if all you, learn is “I don’t like flipping burgers for eight hours,” learning happens. 

The reason we have summer vacation and summer jobs, I like to think, is because of agriculture. Even though our farm economy has evolved and become mechanized way away from manual labor, back in the day, kids were needed at home to help with the farm work. We still keep an agrarian schedule with our summer break from school. 

If you grew up on a farm, a.) you are part of a vanishing breed, a real endangered species and b.) you probably have a work ethic “out to here” (arms outstretched). It is said that the most important crop raised on a farm is the kids, and a big part of that, I think, is the learned work ethic that is part of the package. People with a farm background, it is assumed, know how to work and are not afraid of it. I’ve heard that employers around the country are partial to people raised in the Midwest. They believe that the work ethic is just part of who we are, farm background or not, like its part of our water supply or something.

Summer jobs for students are becoming less common–scarcer. That may be true, but here is something I believe: there’s plenty of work available for people willing to do it. It may not be glory jobs, easy jobs, or even well paying jobs, but work is available. 

“Good help is hard to find” is a common complaint that employers make. Making your own job, exercising your entrepreneurial muscles, may be an option. Starting a window washing service, as an example.  If you do start a window washing service, please give me a call 735-4620.

Some of the best student job advice I ever got was from a high school chum. Bob (his real name) had a great part-time, box-boy job at a big supermarket and made the princely sum of $3.65 an hour. Before you laugh too hard, know that back in 1962 or thereabouts, that hour’s labor would buy 12 gallons of gas or a carton of cigarettes and who knows what else.  Anyway, Bob’s advice to me was to “keep going back” to potential employers. It worked for me.  

One rainy Saturday morning when I was 16, I got dressed up, tried to look clean cut, and applied at four or five jobs I wanted. I filled out the applications and actually saw them put on big plies of other applications. It was discouraging. But for the next three weeks, I got dressed up again and stopped by to “see if there were any openings.” On the third week, I got one of those jobs and kept it for two years.

If you’re looking, good luck finding, or making, a job this summer. If you have a job, enjoy it.