Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The best summer job

When I was in high school and college, I had a lot of menial summer jobs. And I viewed almost all of them the same why, as a short-term stop on my way to partying with my friends and goofing around.

Accountability and responsibility? No thank you sir or madam.

Oh those were the good old days.

My menial jobs ranged from retail to warehouse work, but the best summer job I ever had was working as a "barista" at Gloria Jeans, a coffee store chain, at the local mall. Spend all day making drinks and insulting customers behind their back? Yes please!

It was such a fun job, full of entertaining co-workers, all the coffee/smoothies I could drink, fresh bakery and trips to the storage area, which I coupled with a smoke break or quiet time resting my feet on boxes. Who could ask for anything more?

Yes, I am a much better employee now, but back then, being a "reliable worker" was good enough. And, most of my menial jobs took me back as an employee because I didn't a) steal from them and/or b) skip work because I was drunk (too often). Both important qualities in a trustworthy worker.

I didn't have to take these jobs seriously because I was going to college where I would meet the man of my dreams and get a degree, leading to getting a good job (only two of those three things actually happened for me).

And while I rocked the jean shirt, khakis and apron at Gloria Jeans, I relished in the fact that the biggest decision I had to make was there was what the daily coffee selection would be and ensuring I used skim rather than 2% when making someone's latte. 

You know, managing the tough decisions. 

The job also indulged my anal retentiveness by giving me the chance to grind beans, making sure every bean was crushed and cleaning the space up with a brush. Seriously, it doesn't take much to entertain me.

I bring this up today because I was fondly thinking of these memories, when you weren't expected to work hard or do more than your manager asked for because, well it wasn't ultimately your responsibility what happened to that store. You worried about getting paid on time, making sure you had enough shifts to save for school and go out.

My how things change when you join the full-time workforce. But now you get more perks, like paid vacation time and 401k. Yes, it's the small things that count. And should I hit the jackpot in the lottery, my resume is ready to go back to Gloria Jeans, where I can kick back and relax.

The question for tonight: what was your favorite or least favorite summer job?

38 comments:

Blaez said...

i don't know! that's tough...

i hated working at wendys! i hated fast food...

i guess my fave would be the tanning salon, it was always quiet and i got to work on my homework :)

secretlysupergirl said...

In college I was an assistant director for my school's orientation program. It was actually a year-round job, but obviously picked up in the summer and included 80 hour work weeks during that time. But I LOVED it. I loved having the campus to myself (aside from the pesky freshmen-to-be) and I loved the people I worked with. I miss it regularly.

Summer said...

I was a barista for a summer at an independent coffee shop. BEST SUMMER EVER.

Mandy said...

I worked at a ritzy golf course -- the bar, helping in the pro shop, my absolute favorite duty though was driving the beer cart -- a golf cart with a cooler and an assortment of beer around the course. It was great! Once I flipped it because I was racing a few golfers. LOL. In addition to crazy insane tips, I also had a park pass -- free swimming, golfing, etc for the rest of the park. Best job ever. I actually worked there from my junior year in high school thru my junior year in college.

Maki said...

I always wanted to work at a cafe - it seems fun and my younger sister used to work as a balista every summer when she was in high schoo...

My best summer job was working for this Expo thing which went on for over a month in Tokyo and I was a information girl... People watching (boy watching. wink*wink) and talking/meeting so many people was so much fun. I also fell in love with this boy who worked at the expo, but different section (he was 2 years younger) - I couldn't wait to go to work!! Aww I miss that summer job!!!! Good memeory...

P.S. You can go to ABC.com to see MJ Fox's special:)

Hal said...

oooo! I worked in this tiny little ice cream shack on a dock (Name: Quack Shack!) All the free ice cream I wanted (back when my metabolism worked and I didn't care about calories) and absolutely no worries.

If it wasn't busy we could go out sun on the picnic tables or chat up the cute boys. Awwweeeesooommme!

Hi! I'm Erin said...

My least favorite "summer" job was working at McDonald's. I actually had a nervous break-down crying fit when they made me work the drive-thru. Yeah, I couldn't handle working at a fast food restaurant. I quit shortly thereafter.

Interestingly enough, I worked for several summers as a waitress at a pizza restaurant and had no problems with that.

Jersey said...

I worked in a butcher. I wasn't the actual one chopping up dead cows, but I worked the register. The guys used to get a kick out of locking me in the freezer with the dead cows, though.

Best day ever (sarcasm alert) was the day they played "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash on repeat for my entire 8-hour shift. They had locked the office so I couldn't go in and change it. I despise that song to this day. It makes me want to vomit.

I stayed at that job for 5 years in high school/college...

ChicagoSane said...

The only job I ever had was court-required and it sucked ass. Thank god I was a teenager.

I'd love to work as a barista, though. Sounds like a fun time, except during rush hour, yeesh.

Caz said...

Best summer job in high school:
summer camp counsellor. I took kids canoing and rock climbing and etc. etc. but got to send them home at the end of the day. And got paid more than sleep-away counsellors do.

Best summer job in college:
I was a part-time nanny getting paid $100/day for 2 1/2 days of work per week. But her dad (a hot Aussie!) worked from home and took us to the beach, the zoo, for lunch, etc. etc. and basically hung out with us a lot of the time. Plus the kid was super duper cute. Even better was that I only worked 2 1/2 days a week and spent the rest of my time at the beach.

Pam said...

Best job—summer camp counselor in the 'burbs. I got to be outside all day, only had to be responsible for a few kids at a time and got an amazing tan. Ah that was the life...

Worst job—working in the loan department of a town bank. I was the only person under the age of 65 (I kid you not) and spent my summer listening to stories about sticky grandkids, cranky cats and divorce. Best part was that I got to spend 7+ hours of each day in a vent-less, window-less vault re-alphabetizing thousands of files. It was AWFUL.

liferehab said...

I met my high school boyfriend working at Chipotle. We would leave work at 11 and go make out in the car til 2am (my curfew was 12 on non-work days) then I would tell my dad I got stuck at work late. Those were the days...

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I'm pretty sure women who go to college to meet a man are going after their MRS degree, no? hahaha.

My favorite summer job was working at a men's clothing store. Mostly because they are way more low maintenance than women are. Plus, my managers were a hoot! I worked that job for a number of summers and winter vacations.

Underoo Elf said...

I liked my job at McDonald's for the same reason that you liked Gloria Jean's - you didn't have to try too hard and the decisions were relatively minor.

The best summer job had to be managing my college's radio station - staying on campus for next to nothing, getting paid to hang out with my friends and listen to music, and spending the summer in A/C watching The Price is Right.

I miss that.

Moonjava said...

Hmmm...I don't have a best or worst really. I didn't work in high school until I graduated (the summer before undergrad). That was in polymer manufacturing, so NOT fun!

Anyways...There's an award waiting for you at my blog! :)

Cheryl said...

It wasn't a summer job, it was a during college job, but my favorite was a barista at Starbucks. Similar reasons...

Also, you know you smoke and kick your feet up at work on the job now. I've seen it ;)

Kyla Roma said...

I really loved my coffee shop too - even the simple things like cleaning it up were really lovely. The main thing that I like better about working an office job? I don't get called at 10 am on my day off to cover anyone's shifts!!

Maxie said...

I was a waitress at a cafe and I LOVED it. The money was great and the atmosphere was so fun. If the place was still open I'd quit my 9-5 and go work there. I was so much happier doing that than sitting behind a desk.

theeclecticconnoisseur said...

I worked in a pizza joint the summer before my senior year of highschool and I loved it! It's hard to pass up unlimited pizza and breadsticks.

Babysitting was the worst job ever! Especially kids still in diapers...gross.

Kate said...

Wow, I haven't heard the name Gloria Jean's in a LONG time!

My favorite summer job ever, hands down, was working at the Mystic Aquarium. My title (no joking) was merchandise handler. Hee. Which meant I walked around all day looking at the animals, spent a bunch of time in the stockroom and shot the shit with my friends.

Jaime @ Fast Times said...

My favorite summer job was working at the Umbrella Factory. No, it isn't an actual umbrella factory. It's a small shop center/petting zoo. It was relaxing and fun, and really laid back. Its actually like the only tourist attraction in the town I used to live in, besides the beach.

ashley.star said...

Nanny!

I went on vacation with a the family, learned how to water ski, and got to travel.

It was awesome.

I'm considering doing something "easy" for a year- office life is stressful!

Rebekah said...

Most favorite was definitely the bakery. Even the 6am-2pm shift was okay because it really woke me up and I got fresh baked bread to make toast every morning. I worked it every summer from high school through my first "real job." they always let me work summers back from college because a girl from the local college worked there during the school year.

Cookies. Oh, so hungry now...

Kate, RD said...

First job was as a "referee" (uniform and all) at Discovery Zone which was one of those crazy indoor playgrounds for kids. The kids peed and puked in the ball pits...NASTY. no thanks...

In college I had a "job" running a tiny library for one of the PhD programs. I kept office hours and people could come check out books, but no one EVER came...over the course of a whole semester NO ONE. So, I got paid to sit in a nice, quiet room and do my homework. Pay check and good grades? Yes please...

Katelin said...

one of my all time favorite summer jobs which wasn't a job really because i didn't get paid but i interned was at Extra, the tv show. best summer ever. ever ever, haha.

Chelsy said...

Favorite job - lifeguard. Least favorite job - lifeguard. Hanging out with my friends, playing cards, and getting tan was sweet. Babysitting naughty kids for eight hours straight was not.

Easily Manipulated said...

I can definitely tell you that my LEAST favorite job was working at the grocery store. I was there for less than a week. I had register experience from past jobs, but as I soon found out, you have to work your way up to cashier. Everyone starts as a bagger. After a few days of that, I was outtie.

My favorite job was working in a college bookstore. Yeah, the pay was crap, and I got harrassed at buy-back when I could only offer someone $5 for their $50 book. And I definitely heard about it when I'd ring up a customer's order and report to them that the total would be $547.50, please. But aside from that, the job was great. For the most part, I enjoyed the people that I worked with, and they liked me back. I was good at my job and they noticed. I was given more responsibility and was favored by managers. It was very nice to be recognized. If I'd have stayed there, I'd surely be a store manager by now. I wonder if they make more than I do in my current job...

=) daily_facts_and_comments said...

My WORST JOB E-V-E-R, was making surveys... I hated spending the whole day calling people to make stupid surveys like Fast Food Restaurants, beer or even hair removal habits... yes hair removal habits. I worked even during the weekends, so my life basically was listening to people yell at me or just hanging the phone

The Modern Gal said...

I was a counselor at a sports camp for kids for a few summers and loved it. It was hard work chasing 100+ kids every day and trying to make them focus on learning different sports, but I always felt so good at the end of the day (and usually pretty exhausted). The trade off is I didn't get paid very much for it.

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

ya know i always wanted to know how to be a barista (i did the alcoholic drink making instead) - cool you got to try.

my favorite summer job was probably when i worked at rudy's fly-buy a convenience store at my college (UD) campus.

i liked slurpee's and free bulk candy.

RWF said...

Best job ever: running the intramurals department for my college campus. I showed up mostly hung over, was a strict enforcer of "game time is forfeit time," and got to play a couple games each shift and get paid (barely) for it. It's like getting paid to go to the gym!

erin - heart in ireland said...

The best - overnight camp counselor. I loved every second of being at camp and hated when it was time to say goodbye. I've worked for 6 summers at different camps.

The worst - day camp. I absolutely hated day camp. The children were crazy spoiled brats.

EP said...

That sounds like a fantastic summer job!

In college, I was a camp counselor at a ritzy Christian camp outside of my hometown for two summers. It was really fun, and I got WAY too many stories out of it. It was also fabulous birth control, though it reminded me that yes, I want to have children someday. Just not now.

Joy @ Big Time Fancy said...

My best summer job was working at MEDIEVAL MOTHERFUCKING TIMES.

Oh yes. I win.

Jenn said...

oo i love mindless jobs. work is so hard now! my favorite summer job ever was day camp counselor. i was so tan, and i got to swim and play games with a bunch of 1st grade girls all day...plus 2 of my best guy friends also worked there. it was so fun. we called our little group "jenn's ladybugs" and those girls are at the age where they just ADORE older girls (i was 20 at the time). Oh....the good old days...haha :)

reinventingamy said...

I've only ever had one other job besides my first "adult job" I have now and that was a fast food restaurant manager. It was honestly quite stressful most of the time, but the kind of stress I craved. It was an easy job though too and I actually really enjoyed it. When I'm 65, I'm totally going to work in a restaurant again.

Vanessa said...

I never had just a "summer" job, I was expected to work year round once I turned 15 (your parents can apply for special license in Texas). My favorite was at Dairy Queen. I loved making the curly Q's on the cones. Such good memories!

sugarmeg said...

wow, i was a seasonal winter employee at the gloria jean's in old orchard mall and it was awful! the owners were this old married couple who were on a strict diet and super-cranky!