Why you should get a summer job

Photo courtesy of Gabe Kedziora, Gabriel Kedziora (left) on duty at Billy Bricks Wood Fired Pizza

I watched in horror as a homeless man, only known to me as “Mac,” snatched up my cash tips, jar and all. I heard the rattling of spare change. My manager Dave immediately became suspicious and sped towards the front. Mac and Dave locked eyes, Mac’s hand clenched with some of the stolen change from the jar. After a few unbearable seconds of awkward tension, Mac lunged towards the jar and ran out thedoor. I never got my $2.50 in cash tips.

Working at a summer job isn’t always easy–but it’s worth it. Last summer I worked at two different pizza restaurants. Despite becoming incredibly sick of pizza, it was one of the most rewarding and valuable experiences of my life. A first job is a huge milestone that signals greater responsibility and ambition.

My first job was during the summer of sophomore year, and I stayed with it throughout most of my junior year. The experiences and stories I had at work will stay with me for the rest of my life, which is, unfortunately, not always a good thing.

Having to deal with unpleasant coworkers, rude customers, and stressful environments can be horrendous and mentally draining. However, the skills and experience I have acquired far outweigh the negative aspects.

Learning to balance a busy work schedule with school was incredibly difficult but also very rewarding. Having limited time on the weekends and after school forced me to work harder and more efficiently. It also made me realize how valuable my limited free time was. I spent more time doing the things I enjoyed on the weekends, because I had no time otherwise.

My communication skills have vastly improved. Having to talk with coworkers and managers in stressful situations forces you to communicate quickly and concisely. This has transferred into other aspects of my life, especially school. I also got better at talking to strangers, because I had to every day when answering the phone or taking orders. This can be especially helpful if you want to improve your language skills. In both restaurants that I worked at, multiple coworkers spoke Spanish. This was a great opportunity for me to practice, and, because I spoke Spanish at work, I vastly improved my Spanish language skills. I also made many great friends who I still talk to outside of work.

But the best part about working is obvious: the money. Learning to manage money and make good financial decisions are among the most important skills for any young adult. Being able to save and secure money as a teenager with little to no financial responsibilities is a wonderful opportunity that I am blessed to have. Being able to save money from work has allowed me to create a strong financial foundation for my future.

Having a job is also beneficial for the college application process. Jobs require responsibility, dedication, communication skills, technical skills, and commitment. All of these skills are also shared with good students. These are the skills that colleges look for when viewing applications, which makes jobs a valuable addition to your resume.

If you can fit a job into your schedule, you absolutely should. I have learned tons of skills and lessons through work. Jobs teach responsibility, financial management, communication, practical skills, and are helpful for the college admissions processes. It is also important to realize that having the choice to work and save money is a privilege that many people don’t have.

For OPRF students looking to find a job, a wonderful place to start is the Husky Job board. The board provides resources, information, and potential connections to jobs around Oak Park and River Forest. Students should look around the hallway for posters containing information about the job board.