Thursday, August 9, 2012

Some Summer Jobs

The summer job. Unless you are a trust fund baby, the summer job is an inevitable coming-of-age time in your life that was filled with low pay, no respect and if you're lucky, dozens of other suckers in the same position with whom you may forge great friendships and/or live out epic melodramas.
Here is my summer job rundown:

Newspaper Deliverer

My friend Tracy and I shared this job one summer, although I don’t recall her ever having to perform the embarrassing task of knocking on customers’ doors once a week for payment. My greatest fear was always that someone from my school would answer the door or someone would spy me toting around the duct tape covered blue cart.

Flyer Deliverer

Twice a week, rain or shine, I was out there with the same beaten up cart, ready at a moment’s notice to walk away and pretend I was just out for a stroll if I saw anyone I knew. I had this job in 9th grade, the most important time period for trying to convince people you aren’t a weirdo. Flyers didn’t help.

Concession Stand Worker

I actually loved this job – it was at a concession stand near the band shell at Gage Park. I got to work alone, eat all the Freezies and hot dogs I could and just chill out with a book most of the time. The major challenges of the job were when someone reported a flasher in the bathrooms attached to the stand or that one time my friend brought her ferret to visit and it relieved itself on the counter. What kind of ninth grader has a ferret anyway? She would have fared better with a flyer route.


This was, hands down, my favourite summer job – one that I kept from the age of 16 – 22 all year round. I worked at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster and had some of the most fun of my teen years there. My greatest friendships were formed here and still endure today. Working there with dozens of people my own age was the perfect breeding ground for romances, hijinks, drama and an all-out party while getting paid.

Steel Handler

Working at Stelco for two summers during university was both the best and worst experience of my string of summer jobs. I was extremely fortunate to be selected for employment and the wages were amazing, even by today’s standards. However, in exchange for the most money I’d ever made until recently I had to wear steel-toed boots, coveralls, a hard hat, work 12 hour shifts (nights and days) and handle hot steel. I was not at all qualified for this and I had people placing bets on how long I’d last. Except for some calamitous run-ins with surly steelworkers, it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to get some reading done and learn the following skills:

- Dodge pudding cups being hurled across the lunch room by insane man-boys

- Remove machinery grease from my face after a phone prank went awry

- Sleep standing up

- Come up with games involving a tape measure to amuse and pass time at 3am

- Breathe through my mouth
Sometimes I miss the days of jobs that I only have to endure until September, but then I remember all the great things about being a grown-up with a career, especially the one I'm currently working on and I go back to sleeping in and working from home in my pyjamas.

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