11 Reasons You Need A Summer Job
Working at a summer job isn’t something that every student on leave considers. Some don’t have to. Some don’t want to. But we’re here to tell you that it can be a big boost to the rest of your educational career, and it can serve you quite well during life after school. There are many advantages and many reasons why you should get out there and put your applications out into the world while owners and managers are looking for seasonal help. Here are 11 that should convince you.
You may just have a part-time job that doesn’t seem like it will matter in the grand scheme of things, but don’t be so quick to dismiss what you’re accomplishing in showing up for work every day and being a good hand for whoever hires you. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for teens is currently 26.4 percent,” writes Tara Struyk of the website Investopedia. “This means that one in five teens is not going to be working at all this summer. When it’s time to apply for a real job, you don’t want to be the one with an empty resume. Sure, it might hurt your pride a little to fight for that paper hat, but you’ll be ahead of a good chunk of other people your age (your competition!), and down the road, you’ll be glad you did it.”
This is absolutely correct. The sooner that you can get a taste of the private sector, the further ahead of your peers you will be. You’ll have the opportunity to see how businesses work from the bottom up, and you may even see areas that you can improve upon, thus tapping in to your leadership qualities and entrepreneurial spirit.
Struyk points out Jeylan T. Mortimer’s 2005 book, which states that “high school students who work, even as much as part-time, are better off in many ways than students who sit out of the work force longer, and one of the key areas where working students excel is in confidence.”
“In order to build true confidence,” Struyk writes, “you have to put yourself into unfamiliar territory and learn how to survive and thrive there. And no matter how simple your summer job may seem, rest assured there will be a confidence-boosting challenges to overcome, whether it’s learning a new skill, surviving a stressful work environment or learning to deal with a hard-driving boss or a nasty coworker.”
In many ways, your summer job is one of the first places that you can build your sense of identity and distinguish yourself from many of your peers. It opens up a new world for you beyond the walls of a high school or the reach of your parents, and yes, that is very empowering.
Chance To Explore Who You Are
One of the toughest things for me growing up was figuring out what the heck I wanted to do with my life. Many students continue to have this issue, and it’s because they never take an opportunity to explore who they are while they’re young enough to do so. A summer job can be especially helpful in waking you up to what you DON’T want to do. So many of these positions start at the point of lowest experience and education, and whether through working conditions, job responsibilities, or poor pay, a young employee can get a sense of how valuable education truly is in rising to the next level. Taking a more positive stance, you may end up loving your summer job so much that it turns you toward the career that will ultimately define you. Either way, the opportunities to explore who you are and what you want out of life, are great perks.
Learning New Skills
Much has been made — and will continue to be made — over how our schools are not adequately preparing students for the job force. While this is a good talking point for politicians and parents who wish to divert all responsibility to anyone but themselves, the truth of the matter is, teachers will never be able to “adequately prepare” anyone for a job as well as the job itself. Only by getting out there in the real world and getting firsthand experience can a student truly know what to expect from the world of employment.
Teachers can provide knowledge and opportunities, but they are not connected on a day-to-day basis with all the tools, technologies, and procedures that fuel a specific business. By getting a summer job, students can learn firsthand from people who are actually out there living it. This can awaken the student to certain realities of the job force, and it can acclimate them to new skills that aren’t taught in the classroom.
Learning To Manage Time And Obligations
When you have a job, you have an obligation. Your boss and your co-workers depend on you for your part in making sure the business runs as efficiently, smoothly, and successfully as possible. Having a summer job can show you the importance of managing your time and obligations, especially as it relates to others who might be depending on you. When you’re in school, everything you fail to do may reflect badly on you, but it usually doesn’t spill out onto other people. Not so when you’re working for a business. Working any job — not just a summer job — will allow you to see the other side of personal responsibility.
You never know when a summer job might lead to something bigger. When I was in college, I worked alongside a guy as a furniture delivery person. We stayed in the position through all four years, and upon graduation, went our separate ways, but on very good terms with our former employer. His degree took him down a path of sales, and that eventually led him back to the furniture store in another (much higher paid) position. His time as a delivery person ended up paying huge dividends. That’s the sort of thing that can happen through the power of networking. By staying in touch with our boss, he was able to see an opportunity arise and then use his professional qualities and good rapport to land a well-paying gig. Moral of the story: the connections you forge now can serve you well much later in life as long as you handle them correctly.
This is a simple one, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re not in the mood for looking at how a summer job might serve you 10 or 20 years down the road, then just look to the present. If you’re collecting a paycheck, that means you can have more money to shop, hang out with friends, go to the movies, etc. And you should do those things. You deserve it, especially when you’re responsible enough to work hard for it.
By making your own money, it only stands to reason that you’ll be managing your own money. And if you don’t want to be broke with nothing to show for it, then you’ll manage it well. Starting early will ensure you excel in this area once the paychecks get bigger.
Staying On Course
This is nothing against young people. It’s just a cold hard fact. When you don’t have a summer job, that leaves a lot of time off to get in to things you shouldn’t be getting in to. It’s true if you’re 18, and it was definitely true when I was 18. Working instead of being idle gives you structure; it allows you to be choosier regarding how you spend your time; it keeps you from getting into trouble and from being around those who might get you into trouble; and it makes you think a little bit harder about the decisions you’re about to make.
Honing Your Leadership Qualities
When you work, you are entrusted with responsibility. With responsibility comes opportunity. You can use your opportunities to lead others and show you’re a trustworthy person. Even if you make the same money at the end of summer as you did at the beginning, using your summer job to hone your leadership qualities will serve you well later in life.
Growing Your Independence
At some point, you have to break free from Mom and Dad and become your own person. This independence will make all the difference in your level of happiness as life goes on. A summer job is a great starting point for getting a taste of autonomy. You make money, friends, and experience a whole new aspect of life.
While there is a temptation to take it easy once school is out, getting a summer job can keep you active, sharp, and guide you toward a more successful future, both in school and in life. Best of luck submitting those applications!
[Image via CareerGirlNetwork.com]