Making the Most of Your Summer Job
By The College Advisor
Any job gives valuable experience. You can learn what you are good at or what you don't
like to do. You can learn more about an industry that interests you or find that you don't
want to work in that industry. Summer jobs can teach you a lot about yourself and a lot
about the world.
Gordon, a Guardian Supervisor, looks back on his experience on a rural road repair team
during the summer after his junior year. "I was teased about being a college guy and had to
do everything just a little bit better. I learned to deal with resentment and that I could
outlast another guy's anger and not blow my top. I knew that I liked hard physical work.
When I graduated with my engineering degree, I learned that I didn't like being cooped up
in an office. Today I run my own contracting firm and am out in the field, planning ahead,
and leading men. I might not have had the confidence to do that if I hadn't faced the
challenge of being on a road crew."
Jeanine, an Idealist Counselor, worked for an insurance company one summer. She was
known in her classes for asking questions and did the same in her new job. She found that
she was expected to be quiet and do her job and not ask a lot of questions. It strengthened
her resolve to get her teaching credential. She wanted to ask questions of students and have
them ask questions of her. She wanted more autonomy and control.
Bert, a Rational Inventor, didn't want a lot of debt when he graduated and secured a
job as a supermarket stocker which he was able to keep year-round. Bert had not put much
thought into reliability or timeliness until he saw the inner workings of a market. If
deliveries were late, there was more pressure in keeping the shelves stocked. If something
was spilled, it needed to be mopped up quickly before a customer fell and sued the store.
Now he plans to apply this whole system vision to his law career.
Mahlia, an Artisan Promoter studying criminal justice, applied for an internship working
with a Boys and Girls Club. She wanted to learn if groups such as these could help keep
kids out of gangs. She had been raised in middle class suburbia and her eyes were opened
to issues of poverty and peer pressure. She decided that police work would have the type
of intensity that she craved.
To make the most of our your summer job, 1) find out what you are good at, 2) learn
the job thoroughly and see how the skills you learn can be applied in different settings,
3) write down your impact on the company's bottom line and on the company's customers.
Even if you dislike the job you are doing, you'll now know what type of job to avoid.