Monday, January 30, 2006

A Op-Ed Column about a Summer Employment

The following column was written by me in the summer. (7/3/05) It's an opinon column, but as you can tell, it's about my employment at my summer job. I'm interested to see if there are any shared sentiments in your own personal work experiences?

"Summer Time, Summer Grind?"

College is 6 weeks away, and it couldn’t come sooner.

Yes, staying up until 3 am to write a ten page research paper is thrilling. I enjoy drinking my cappuccinos and eating beef flavored Ramen noodles to satisfy my late night hunger and caffeine fix. Lack of sleep, manufactured energy, and artificial pasta, are the kinds of nights I long for.

Oh, the tests, I don’t want to forget about those great exams that determine 50% of my course grade. That’s right, I enjoy looking at the syllabus at the first day of class so I can begin planning my study schedule, only to wind up cramming the hours before, when I knew about it 3 months in advance.

Don’t forget those fabulous group projects we all have to do. It’s always a pleasure sitting down with your newly assigned group, playing a game of “mix and match” when each person is available to meet, and on what days, and what times. The saying goes that more minds are better than one, so such logical and wise groups always have perfectly planned schedules of who does what, by what date. Well, again, only to find yourself meeting at the library at midnight, before giving your presentation the next day.

How could I forget? Who doesn’t love the parking conditions on campus, and in town? I enjoy planning my day about where I’m going to go in order to get back sometime after 5 pm so I can park in front of my building… that always give me such a rush.

Wow, yea I really miss college already…

I mean why would I want to go back anyway when my summer job is great! I don’t think I can leave it and live without it.

That’s right, it’s my life long aspiration to work at a place for $7.50 an hour, stuffing pork, chicken, or steak into a tortilla. I dream about making tortilla chips and taco shells all night, and the best part is, I get to wake up at 7 am Saturday morning and fulfill that dream. That’s a quick "dream fulfilling turn-around time". . . one night must be a record.

If cleaning is your thing, this place has that for you too. You can choose from an array of small tasks, including, but not limited to: sweeping the floor, sweeping the kitchen, moping the floor, cleaning the tables, washing the dishes, wiping the windows, spraying the toilets, scrubbing the sinks, then cleaning the sink drain… yes, a list of endless possibilities.

The best part of the day though comes when the customers swarm the front door like a pack of hungry wolves. Now I don’t know what anyone has told you, but the best customers to serve are the Asians and Indians, by far. It’s always a pleasure to have these people, who take their lovely time trying to decide what kind of food they want. The best position to experience this though is at the register, where they try to talk their way into the most food, for the cheapest price. Who needs to take business strategy classes when I can learn the art of negotiation there?

I just get such fulfillment, knowing that when I come home every night from a hard days work, that I helped satisfy so many peoples’ hunger today. I take the utmost pride in the fact that there were over 500 people served, and that my restaurant made $5,000 today. I’m definitely part of a winning team that treats me like the important individual that I am, and of course, that’s definitely shown by their gesture of my handsome hourly wage.

Forget the business and spanish minor I already earned, and the three years of studying journalism. My summer job is where it’s at and I’m having so much fun and learning so much, while advancing my career at the same time. Instead of going to law school next year, I think I should aspire to become the head manager of the store. Well, I shouldn’t dream so big right now, my immediate promotion might be to supervisor of dishwashers.

Yep, college couldn’t come ... any sooner.


Blogger A. Das said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:21 PM  
Blogger A. Das said...

I've never had a summer job that required me to work fast food, but I can definitely sympathize with how long it takes Indians to pick something off the menu! My mom takes FOREVER to make up her mind! By the time she's done, three people have already passed us up in line and are done eating. It doesn't make sense. I mean, it's fast food; whatever you pick, it's guarunteed to be unhealthy! Anyways, I'm done venting about my mom!

Personally, college beats fast food any day of the week. I know when I grow up (am I still allowed to use this phrase?!), my degrees will keep me warm at night ... not some pre-heated taco shell. But I guess the attraction of earning money in the present time is a pretty attractive feature of working fast food/minimum wage jobs. I know I could use some extra money right about now ...


2:22 PM  
Blogger Aldo Huitzil said...

I enjoyed the column. It appears that your overall relation to educational training and job placement is a common theme or problem among college students. I know many people who have worked terribly hard to achieve an excellent grade in a class in addition to volunteering and holding many leadership positions in many organizations. Still, these same people have obtained low-level positions at department stores, restaurants, and non-profit organizations. I think that good and meaningful education experience will pay if you do your research for your desired employment position. Sometimes employers care less about how you analyzed "The Rhetoric of Society" than they care about how you can get a job done in their office. You have to show employers that you organized a leadership conference in an area that interests them, or worked on a political campaign if you will be entering a political field. All in all, work experience (and make sure you make the most of it) combined with education is what gets you the job, in my opinion.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew Crawford said...

I have also had the thrill of working a summer job, although not been blessed with a fast-food job.

At the end of EVERY school year I look forward to the summer. But two weeks into vacation I am looking forward to the start of the semester. I've been told my whole life that getting a 'degree' will give me an opportunity to move up from the cashier to the store manager, to the district manager, and so on.

I guess my hope is if you work hard, whether it be at the entry level job at a department store, med. school, or a crappy job that you only took as a backup, you'll hopefully get a better opportunity somewhere down the road and you can avoid the fast-food job...

I don't know how this relates to your original post though. just me venting. :)

1:29 PM  
Blogger Vince Daniele said...

That definitely relates to what I was speaking about in my article. I couldn't agree with you more, that once summer begins, you're elated not to have schoolwork. However, a couple weeks into the summer, you can't wait for school to begin just so you can get out of the crappy summer job.

You touched on another point of emphasis I didn't make so clear. We go to school, get degrees. I was the most educated (as far as University coursework goes) then any of the employees, assistant managers, and even the general manager. However, I was stuck each night in a bored, mindless rythm of taking out the trash, wiping tables, and cleaning bathrooms.

It just seemed that so far, I might as well have used my degree to clean those toilet seats, because the people where I was employed didn't seem to care about my education level. In fact, I don't think they seemed to care about employees in general.

3:43 PM  

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