Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Jobs

My boss and I disagree about how college kids should spend their summer hours.

He's of the opinion that no student should ever work "down." Even if it means taking a pay cut (or no pay), he believes those precious hours should, without exception, contribute to the resume. That means business majors should be willing to work for nothing as marketing interns, and biology majors ought to be helping with the oil spill clean-up.

Boy the Eldest and I, on the other hand, believe summers are for beefing up the bank account with the goal of avoiding student debt. If this means a paid internship that relates to a major, fine. If not, well, the brief intermission will clear the mind.

Either of these views is defensible, and heaven knows the boss is smarter and more educated than I am. In this case, though, I don't think we've parented poorly.

As we watched the storm clouds roll in last night and bumped up the air conditioning to siphon off some of the solidly-humid summer evening, Boy#3 was glad his weekend comes in mid-week and he wasn't patrolling the lake in the four-wheeler.

"Working at the lake makes me realize what a cushy job I had when I worked at the library," he admits.

It's essentially the same thing Boy#2 said a few years ago when he finished a summer of 12-hour shifts spent snapping gaskets into water coolers. It was hellishly hot, even on the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts, and no one cared that he had been in the gifted program. They only cared that he do his job fast and right and not slow up the rest of the line.

In a couple of years, both boys will graduate and the remainder of their working lives are likely to be climate controlled. But working a job solely to have money for the next school year hasn't hurt either of them. They have more respect for persons willing to take on the hot jobs, the dirty jobs, and the jobs that are mind-numbingly boring. Neither takes for granted jobs that have opportunity for advancement, interesting co-workers, and varied responsibilities.

And air conditioning.

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