Over the summer, I had a job at a summer camp. At first, I felt like I didn't belong (read: My First Job: My Experience) but then I made a great friend at some point during the second or third week (who I'm legitimately still friends with). The job was pretty bearable and she made it fun. We spent days laughing over the cringey things campers did, and nights seeing PG-13 movies. Y'know, to get our maturity back after hanging out with five-year-olds for weeks. But I didn't realize at the time how lucky I was. I got 45 hours a week earning minimum wage ($10 at the time), so about $450 per week. After a few weeks, it built up and I had a large sum in my bank account. I also watered plants for people and fed their cats, babysat, the usual. It was overwhelming, but that paycheck made it all worth it. I started to realize that money is earned, not granted. But it was a good job. So I took it, and I enjoyed it. We even went on field trips every week! I didn't realize how good that job was.
Then summer came to a dismal close. Swimming started a few days after camp ended. Then it was three hours a day, every day until school started, when it was back to the grind.
Fast forward to the end of swim season. I aimlessly spent my days after school scrolling through Tumblr. I had no way to get around. Most people would use that extra time after school to go to friends' houses. But I had no license and no car. But in two months I'd have one of those things: a license. But still no car, unless... I got one. At first my parents promised they'd chip in a few thousand and insurance. All I'd have to pay for was $5k and gas/maintenance. So I got a job at a local bakery. My parents backpedaled into me paying for the whole car myself. I agreed under the impression that I'd be proud of it once I got it, and I'd be able to go places.
Now I work 15-20 hours a week on top of a 35 hour honors-level school schedule with six majors and all morning classes. Then add homework, SAT prep, and occasional things that might come up (doctor's appointments, chorus concerts, babysitting). Wait, where'd my friends go?
- Your parents expect you to pay for more stuff, on your minimum wage, $100/week paycheck, as you try to have a social life and go to the movies sometimes and save up for a car.
- Then they get mad at you for "working too much" and "not putting enough effort in to school work." You can only have it one way!
- It's so little income, saving up takes forever.
- Bosses are always mean to high schoolers. Some deserve it, but I'd like to think I don't deserve being yelled at for Kelly not replenishing the napkin dispensers like you asked her to. Or having a single fingerprint on the glass door. Oh no! Someone touched the glass door since I last cleaned it?!
- Then the same boss tries to talk to you about her personal life. I'm sorry, but after being yelled at for Jenny's mistake, I'm not too interested in hearing about how Jeff cheated on you with Sally back in the day. I know you peaked in high school. I don't want to hear about it.
- When customers spill their drinks and then ask you for a new one. On the house. As if I had that kind of authority. After cleaning up your sticky, 90% cream "coffee."
- When your coworkers suck or are in college. College kids can be chill, we just don't have anything in common.
- Your manager actually expects you to care. Yesterday I saw someone mixing the tea so it would be evenly dispersed when the customer drank it. Maybe I'm just jaded, but the customers can stir their goddamn tea themselves.
- When people talk quietly or have a thick accent and then get mad when you ask them to repeat themselves. I'm sorry I'm not fluent in mouse.
- The fear of your manager not liking you. If she doesn't like you, your work life will be even more hellish than it already is.
- The dreaded to-do list. This isn't my house. I don't care. This list doesn't make me want to do any of these things.
- Earning stuff on your own and watching your friends get handed everything. I'm working my ass off to save up for a car, and watching my friends get them for free is inexplicably infuriating. As if they did anything to deserve it more than me.
- When you do have free time, it's at weird hours and either everyone is asleep or you don't have that car yet and have no transportation. After a 50-55 hour week and many 13 hour days, I just want to go to my friend's house at 10 at night and watch a fucking movie. But I can't.
- Leaving the house at dawn and not coming back until way after dark. Many days I leave the house at 6:40am and don't come back until 7:30pm. And yet I only come home with fifty bucks. Sure, it's not nothing but for all that. You have to wonder if it's worth it.
- You could be babysitting and making double what you make at work. It's just that you have nobody to babysit. I wish I could make $15/hour like the good old days and people ask me why I don't anymore. Well... For my resumé, for college apps, for the experience, for the reliability... Shit I don't know.
Right. And now that I work at the bakery, goodbye wonderful summer job.