During my four years in undergrad, I held a variety of positions – custom framer, office manager, ditch digger, substitute teacher, waiter and dishwasher. After graduating from college, I had a full-time job and graduate school waiting for me in the fall, but I needed something to occupy my summer.
My parents suggested I apply with a staffing company. After I interviewed with the staffing consultant, I was assigned to my first job. For the next three days, I worked at an oil and gas company where I boxed up files. I wore a shirt and tie and ate lunch out of my briefcase.
My next assignment was in a college library installing anti-theft devices in the binding of every book on the shelves. The college was small, but it still took five people two weeks to finish the job. No tie was required, and I could listen to my Walkman (it was 1990) all day.
I’d had two jobs in three weeks, and both of them were pretty boring. I was looking for a gig that could carry me through the rest of the summer. So I called the staffing consultant again and asked about my employment options. Pam offered me a longer-term assignment with the same oil company I’d worked at earlier in the month.
In a non air-conditioned warehouse, I worked with three guys for the remainder of the summer. The oil company was moving to Houston, so we spent the next two months moving all the office furniture into storage five blocks away. The furniture was then donated to local non-profits. I wore jeans, work boots and T-shirts and made $1.50 more an hour than at the previous assignments.
I had so much fun that summer. In the 17 years since I had that job, I’ve moved 10 times. Every time I move, I use the skills I learned in that warehouse.
What was your favorite summer job growing up? And do you use any of the knowledge gained in your job today?
One of my favorite summer jobs was working as the night manager of a deli in Syracuse, NY. I learned how to wrap a sandwich in wax paper so it would stay moist for hours. I also got a free dinner each night. Most importantly, I learned the value of customer service and how treating people right meant repeat business and good tips. A repeat customer is always your best customer.