Summer jobs: the good, the bad and the ugly

Maddy Smith ’22 shares what she think about various jobs to have this summer.

Maddy Smith, Yearbook Student Life Editor

As summer approaches, many students are beginning to think about employment. So as students flock to apply as a lifeguard or a waiter, here are my opinions on these summer jobs. 

1. Cart pusher- Grocery stores hire employees to go out and collect the carts from the cart corral. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores required employees to take extra sanitation measures with the carts. This job requires employees to be on their feet and face the elements. This includes the heat of the summer, the downpour of summer storms, and the frigid temperatures of the winter. According to glassdoor, a website that evaluates jobs and their pay, the average Walmart cart-pusher makes $11/hour, but it can range anywhere from $7-$16/hour. 

2. Lawn Mower/Gardener- This job can be with a company or independently in one’s neighborhood. This review will refer to independent service. Many kids make their early money by mowing the neighbor’s lawn. This is manual labor in the heat without a fixed wage, as pay relies on negotiation with the employer. Hiruni Sumanasiri ’22 worked as a gardener for a woman in her neighborhood. This specific job required her to be in the garden for a few hours but did not have much for her to do. In this personal experience, the job was boring and a bad experience. 

3. Lifeguard- This is a controversial job. To someone who loves the water, is okay with crying kids, and doesn’t mind frying in the sun, this is a perfect job for you. However, as someone who is pale, doesn’t enjoy being wet, and is not the best swimmer, this job would be miserable. The pay might compensate for the work, however, as it can average $11-$12/hour/. The ability to swim is required. 

4. Online grocery shopping- I work at a coffee shop in a grocery store and one of the things said grocery stores added to their jobs was online shopping over the pandemic. This requires employees to get electronic shopping lists from customers and shop throughout the store, before packaging the items and then delivering them to customers. This job requires one to be on their feet most of the day and have a tolerance for staring at shelves all day. I speak from experience that this can get tedious and boring, but also allows the employee to not be cooped up in one small area. The pay translates to the pay of the standard grocery store employees. 

5. Danes Dairy- This job is similar to that of a Dairy Queen, requiring the employee to make and serve ice cream, perform janitorial duties, and customer service. Peter Adams ’22 has worked at Danes for several years. He gained a lot from this job. 

“I gained experience in everything from janitorial duties to flag protocol to understanding which toppings were halal for Muslim customers,” said Adams. The pay is similar to that of a waiter. The starting wage is $6.25 plus tips. Adams eventually moved his way up to $10/hour but is considering other options with better pay. 

Honorable mentions

Nannying- I spent the summer of 2020 as a nanny for a family in my neighborhood. It ended up being a difficult job because I had gone from not working at all to working 7-5, five days a week. Needless to say, this was exhausting. The job required me to entertain an eight-year-old girl who had limited screen time and a summer learning program. My biggest advice is to be upfront about negotiating pay with the family and discuss clear boundaries like what activities are allowed and how to handle discipline. 

Starbucks barista- I currently work as a Starbucks barista. I enjoy my job, but I would say that this is mostly because of my coworkers. We have a great work atmosphere and all get along well. This job requires customer service skills, the ability to multitask and be on your feet for long periods of time. The worst part, in my opinion, is dealing with rude customers. I have had to remake the same drink four different times because it had too little ice, then too much ice, but not enough espresso despite the customer not ordering any extra espresso. There is also no shortage of opinionated men who get a little too personal. The pay is above minimum wage, as I started at $10/hour plus tips before going to $11. Pay is evaluated in the third quarter of the fiscal year for the entire store. I definitely recommend a job at a kiosk rather than a corporate store, as the pay is better and the workload is less.