The Do’s and Don’ts of Summer Jobs
Learn from our mistakes.
By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you would dread the upcoming school year as if it were broccoli being served on your plate?
Now, do you remember when that changed for you?
Thank God the summer is almost over, because now every poor college kid has an excuse not to work some shitty, minimum wage job. You can look forward to being able to say, “Sorry, I don’t have time to work. I’m trying to complete my degree so that I don’t have to remind people that Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t serve Grande sized coffee, every single damn day.”
But, as sucky as that example sounds, it’s not even close to the worst summer job fails I’ve heard about these last couple of months. Here are the five 5 worst mistakes you can make at a summer job.
1. Do: Camp Counseling
Check your local YMCA, community center, church, college for news about a summer camp program. Not only will they be desperate for competent, able people—which I assume you are if you’ve made it this far in life—but your trashcan will be gloriously decorated with tons of glitter art and string jewelry by the end of summer. A girl can only have so many macaroni necklaces.
Avoid applying for summer camp programs at daycares, because I can almost 100% assure you that you will not be with the older and (relatively) manageable kids. No, instead you’ll be looking at two months of hell in the two-year old room. Don’t get me wrong, they’re adorable, but when they flip that switch, get ready for the liquid diarrhea and puddles upon puddles of spite pee.
What is spite pee, you ask? Well, it’s when little Johnny is sitting in time-out for busting your lip during a particularly violent temper tantrum, and he looks you straight in the eye, pees himself, smiles, and says in his angelic little baby voice, “Clean it up.”
You can’t make this shit up, folks. There’s a reason all daycare places are short staffed—and they prey on the weak, looking to trap poor college kids in their diabolic subterfuge of “Baby Beluga” being played on repeat for hours, no end in sight.
2. Do: Server
Serving is a quick, financially efficient way to grab make some cash and expand your alcohol funds for the school year.
Yes, people suck and you’ll have to deal with quite a few assholes to make it to the Promised Land. But, luckily for you, societal expectations and morals dictate that they have to compensate you for your patience and their callousness.
Be careful not to be too good at your job though, because even if you’re just a temporary employee, they will be looking to ensnare you in their management web. If you fall prone to this trap, you will be dealing with much more than a few assholes. Prepare for self-destruct.
Common red flags for this promotion to hell include but are not limited to: “You know, we have another location near your campus,” excessive praise, private chats with the regional manager, lavish reviews from guests in the workplace, and more.
Be only moderately decent at your job and avoid this torment if at all possibly.
3. Do: Mow Lawns
Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and pilfer those high school jobs from the teenage population. Mow lawns for your elderly neighbors, and do so for a discounted price.
Even if it’s only a buck or two lower than the average lawn mowing fee set by teens, the clients will be so thankful that you’re likely to get a pretty hefty tip—especially if you mention that you’re paying for college yourself. Cha-ching.
Don’t: Lawn Maintenance
Signing onto a lawn maintenance crew will have you charred to a crisp of the man you once were. You’re not getting paid by the yard or the amount of work completed, like you would self-employed; your burnt butt is getting paid by the hour.
And this job is messier, almost ten-fold considering that instead of just walking in circles for a few minutes, you’ll actually have to do some heavy lifting, digging and muscle straining in that 100° heat—110° if you’re stuck in the south.
4. Do: Pet-sit
Keep an eye on your neighbors and friends’ parents. Compliment their dog leashes, conversate about your relatively open schedule for the summer, comment on how much you miss your own little Fluffy after she *sniffle* passed away last year. Sell it, baby.
You’ll be the first one they call when they go out of town and BAM! You’re getting paid to watch TV at someone else’s house and cuddle with their dog/cat/Guinee pig/parrot/fishbowl.
Don’t: Pet Shop
You love animals, great. But how much do you love their poop? Suddenly, a pen full of puppies isn’t looking so cute now is it?
And speaking of shit, think of all the wonderful interactions you’ll get to have with customers in your store.
For instance, if you work in the rodent section one day, you’ll have the pleasant opportunity for a long, exasperating conversation on the difference between mice as pets and mice as reptilian food.
You know what, in fact:
5. Do: Chores
Why don’t you just, blast from the past and return to 2005 for the opportunity to do small chores around the house for dough. It’s quick, simple, and you’ll barely have to leave the couch.
Summer jobs aren’t worth wiping the Dorito dust off your fingers anyway.