Thursday, May 30, 2013
Summer jobs are important for lots of reasons.
For the young people, first and foremost, they need and like the money. It might even be their first opportunity to land a paycheck.
But perhaps even more important, which they might not realize just yet, is the work itself – a learning experience in so many different ways.
My wife Pam and I have had the discussion about summer jobs several times in the past week or so.
That’s because we have a college graduate who is seeking a job before leaving for a year’s mission work in Texas.
And we have a college sophomore who was in search of a job. Thankfully, he landed one last week at Kirkwood National in Holly Springs.
Pam and I reminisced last week about our summer jobs from our teenage years.
My first tasks, on my mother’s payroll, were things such as mowing the yard and keeping weeds away from the vegetables in the garden. She was good at leaving me a list when she left for a hard day’s work. I got pretty good at running that tiller right up beside those plants without eliminating the plants.
Then later I hit someone else’s payroll – that of Bobby Irvin at Star Printing Company in Hamilton, Ala. My duties ranged from delivery to shop work.
It taught me responsibility – being on time and the importance of working hard and doing the job right.
I remember getting that first paycheck from Star Printing Company. I’m not sure I’d ever been so excited – my own money to spend how I wanted. I spent it rather quickly.
I visited with Bobby a few months ago. He’s still operating the successful printing business, in a much larger building than my days there.
I also got a start to my future newspaper career as a high school and junior college student in the summers by working as a reporter for my hometown newspaper - then The Hamilton Progress.
Ironically, Pam’s first job was newspaper-related, too. She and her sister Pat had delivery routes in Greenville, tossing the Delta Democrat Times into driveways.
Some summer jobs can be tough. They can also make those high school or college students realize the importance of getting an education and landing a job in their preferred field of interest.
I actually took a break from college for a year, and went to work full-time at the printing company, and decided that wasn’t for me. I then knew I had to complete my goal – a journalism degree.
My daughter Emma, the college graduate, worked part-time jobs in high school and she continued to work part-time throughout college.
I think she’d be the first to tell you how valuable those experiences were – from helping to pay for some of her expenses to learning different tasks and responsibilities.
My college degree helped me land my first newspaper job and move up the ladder.
But those summer jobs – from sweating in the garden to delivering printing and office equipment – were just as valuable.
Thanks to my mom and others (who took a chance on an teenager), I developed a strong work ethic and skills that still stick today.
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