“Find a job you love,” they tell you.
“Follow your passions and the money will come.”
Which is all great when you’re 25 and trying to figure out a career, but when you’re 16 and just want some cash so that you can pay a 22-year-old with neck tattoos to buy you beer, there is only one factor that really matters: Does it pay? If the answer is “yes” then you’re all set. It will build character, it will enlighten you on the sort of work you want to avoid in the future, and it will get you those fat minimum wage stacks.
There are no judgements when it comes to summer work. Are you shoveling elephant poop at the zoo? You might be a zoologist one day! Folding underwear at Fredrick’s of Hollywood? In five years it’ll show up on your resume as “worked in the fashion industry.” And of course, no matter how humiliating your summer employment is, it will make for a good story when you’re older.
With this in mind, we asked Uproxx writers to talk about their worst summer jobs:
Summer Camp Counselor
#SorryNotSorry but other people’s kids are the worst, especially when you’re a summer camp counselor charged with making sure they stay alive long enough to warrant their no-longer-annoyed parents’ return. Doesn’t matter if you’re working for the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, a performing arts camp, or a facility without a specific focus. Taking care of a bunch of whiny, bratty sh*tholes when you’re a teenager or a college student sucks. The kids usually don’t want to be there, and you’re only there for the money. Even though, of course, the camp doesn’t pay you nearly enough (though the free room and board is nice), and none of the cans of mixed vegetables can actually talk. What a complete crock! — Andrew Husband
My worst summer job was caddying. The money was fine for a kid in the late ’90s, but it didn’t make up for the (multiple) golf clubs thrown at me or for the time that I beaned with a ball right between the shoulder blades when I was distracted while forecaddying. I had an impression of a ball in my skin, dimples and all, for a day. Driving golf carts is still more fun than driving a car, though. I don’t know why, it just is. That’s my big takeaway from that job. — Jason Nawara