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How A Summer Job Can Shape Your Life

by Marc Luber

summer beach party

Summer jobs can shape your life and impact your career.

Just because summer is here, that doesn’t mean it’s time to hit the beach and party for 12 weeks! If you’re still a student and you get the summer off, take advantage of the great opportunity to get a meaningful summer job.

Believe it or not, your summer work experience can play a pivotal role in your development. You’re young, you’re impressionable, and a summer job can expose you to all kinds of new people, new experiences, and life’s lessons. It’s eye-opening, character-building and of course puts some money in your wallet so you can take that special someone you met at the beach to whatever ridiculous blockbuster film has currently partnered with McDonald’s. Below are some big life lessons you can learn from a summer job:

My Summer Work Experience

Thanks to going to law school, I had summer vacations until the age of 25. I always made the most of them (summer internships, etc). All taught me important things…but the one that really stands out is my job as a swim instructor. After my sophomore year of college, I didn’t want to repeat my previous summer job of working for my uncle’s law firm in downtown Chicago. I needed to have more fun than that! I asked myself, “what are my skills?” I was always a good swimmer and had enjoyed volunteering to teach severely autistic kids to swim at my high school. So I put a classified ad in the local paper advertising myself as a swim instructor. I’d had some entrepreneurial experience: a lemonade stand in elementary school, a snow-shoveling service in junior high…so why not swim instruction? Sure, instead of trusting me with their driveways or a cold beverage, people would be trusting me with their lives – or the lives of their children! But it was worth a shot.

The ad for my swimming business paid off and I wound up with a solid, part-time schedule getting paid $40 an hour to teach a swimming lesson in the students’ pools. It was a blast! I taught 5 year-olds, 7 year-olds, 9 year-olds and a 50 year-old Harvard law graduate who was scared of the deep end of his own pool! I had a fantastic summer: I met nice people, swam in huge pools at beautiful homes, made great money and felt good about helping kids grow and achieve by turning them from being scared of the water into confident swimmers.

10 Lessons Learned From My Summer Job:

1) Adults are just children who have been around longer.
2) You can do anything you want to do.
3) Just do it!
4) Trust your gut.
5) Be confident.
6) Running your own business can be fun.
7) It feels great to earn money from something you created out of nothing.
8] It doesn’t have to take a big investment to start a profitable business.
9) It’s good to think about “what am I good at” and “what do I like doing” and then try to make that your job.
10) It’s good to feel comfortable interacting and communicating with people of all ages. (I was 19 and there I was, making parents (in their 30s and 40s) and their children (under 10) comfortable that I wouldn’t let anyone drown and that I would achieve what they were paying me to achieve. Very valuable experience.)

What about you? What summer jobs did you have? How did you get them? What did you learn from summer employment that has stayed with you to this day? Share your stories below!

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Image courtesy of iwona_kellie