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Menial Streets
Does waiting tables as a teenager make you a better person? With teen paid employment at an all-time low, and kids jetting off to learning camps and exotic locations, then into internships, The Wall Street Journal's Kay S. Hymowitz mourns the death-throes of the menial summer job:

There's little question that the demise of the summer job is due in part to globalization. For one thing, with millions of low-skilled immigrants around, service industries don't need to rely on kid labor the way they used to. Lawn-care companies and fast-food restaurants can now employ a more permanent adult staff. And, according to Neil Howe, an expert on age cohorts, kids are so used to seeing immigrants doing that sort of work that they assume "I don't have to mess with food or cleaning stuff up." Ironically, the same kids whose parents are paying $4,000 for them to go to Oaxaca to build houses for the poor can't imagine working for money next to Mexican immigrants at the local Dunkin' Donuts.

....But as in all things in contemporary society, internships are being defined downward. Now teenagers who used to sweep the drug-store floor are being "introduced to office culture," expanding their "skill sets," working with new technologies and beginning a lifetime of networking. This is what is called "real world experience."

But are internships really more reality-based than sweeping floors? Worried about running afoul of labor laws that might require them to pay interns a salary, many companies are insisting that kids get college credit for their experience; Vault says there has been at least a 30% jump over the past five years in the number of such companies. After weeks of cold-calling and emailing, my own daughter, a freshman at Skidmore College, landed a prized internship for this summer at a teen fashion magazine. My husband and I were duly proud, until we realized we had to pay a lot of money to the college bursar for the privilege of having her work -- meaning sort dresses and fetch shoes -- for free. We also had to cough up money for an office-appropriate wardrobe, subway fare and lunch allowance every day. If that's real-world experience, then Disneyland is the real America.

This means that internships are largely for rich kids -- and therein lies another problem. The menial summer job gave many kids their first paycheck and the feeling of independence that came with it. It was also inherently democratic. For eight hours a day, at any rate, working-class and middle-class kids were in the same boat. They all had to learn that life wasn't always entertaining. They had to wait tables for people who could be less than polite -- people who sometimes reminded them of themselves. With many of them in four-year colleges (where close to 75% of their classmates come from homes at the top quarter of the income scale), without a draft and now without menial jobs, privileged kids almost never meet up with their less well-off peers.

The menial summer job, in other words, was an exercise in humbling self-discipline. It should come as no surprise, then, that this is exactly what a lot of managers complain is missing in today's interns. Business Web sites and magazines are filled with stories of kids who have no clue that their exposed navel rings or iPods are less than suitable officewear, and that overconfidence and complaining are not the best way to ingratiate yourself with a boss. "This is the largest, healthiest, most pampered generation in history," Mary Crane, a Denver-based consultant, told the New York Times recently. "They were expected to spend their spare time making the varsity team." But maybe there's something to be said for serving its members fries and shakes one summer instead.

In case you're wondering, I worked in bagel joint as a kid...saving money I later used to pay expenses on an internship at UPI in D.C. I actually got a lot out of a very short time I spent working on a kibbutz -- Yad Mordechai, near Ashkelon -- first picking pears, and then working in the kibbutz' roadside restaurant, after I wrote an essay that won me a free trip to Israel.

As for building decent human beings, the teen shit job thing is a good idea, but I think you have to start much younger -- letting little kids know they aren't the gold-plated shit.

I'm reminded of the brat we saw at the Apple store on Thursday night. She was about 5, I think, carrying a bag with THREE of those obscene looking and obscenely expensive American Girl dolls. Her parents were fiddling with the iPhone and, when she whined, "Mo-hhhhmm!" her mother didn't immediately whirl around to immediately attend to her needs. Naturally, the brat just...kicked her mother in the shins! And kept kicking...and whining. Finally, the mother finally turned around and told her to wait a moment. They later walked out of the store, the brat whining all the while.

Had that been me, I'd still be grounded. At 43.

Posted by aalkon at August 7, 2007 10:52 AM

Comments

I had a couple of teenage step kids go through the house, and I couldn't get them to do any menial jobs without a bunch of attitude. When I pressed them on what they expected work to be like when they were adults, they talked about getting a high paying tech job, or finding easy work they liked to do.

Posted by: doombuggy at August 7, 2007 5:03 AM

When I've made a mistake hiring an assistant, I've usually found that they've come from an entitlement background. I'm not just talking a family with money, but a family that gives kids too much too soon. The worst assistant I've ever had -- a sub when my fabulous assistant was away playing the lead in an independent film -- was a recent college graduate driving a pricey nearly-new Mercedes who left glasses and dishes on the counter for me to wash. Uh...nuh-uh.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 5:14 AM

My first job as a young teen was at a bagel shop in NJ. I went from that to a variety of retail jobs and upon my family's move to NC, I began part time shoveling shit at a horse barn for the privilege of earning my own riding lessons. I have never had a problem working for what I wanted, but it is hard on a young kid who gets shit from the kids who come from money. I tried not to let it bother me that the other kids at the barn were there in their expensive riding clothes and tack, while I was in dirty jeans and borrowed supplies. But I worked hard, learned to ride and eventually used my newfound skills to actually earn payment of a horse of my own. NO amount of just walking up to someone with cash in hand to purchase a horse could compare with the feeling I got knowing the job I did was so stellar they gave me a horse for my efforts!

I have tried to impart these same ideals on my kids but I admit in a computer driven world it's not so easy. I had to learn technology after the fact, as an adult. In schools today they teach a variety of technological fields that I was never exposed to.My oldest feels he should go from high school right into developing software for a cushy company without ever having to work his ass off. Part of me would love that for him so that he doesn't have to live through the hardships I did, but then a part of me knows he needs to work hard at some lowly job to help form some character and appreciation.

At least he isn't rude. If he ever left dishes around for an employer to clean up, I'd expect her to rap him in the head!

Posted by: Cathleen at August 7, 2007 5:40 AM

Speaking of other kids who come from money, with the exception of the two other kids from Michigan who won the essay contest, the kids on my Israel trip were super-richies from Long Island who brought their own toilet paper on the trip! One snotty girl had a whole second duffel bag of it. (I brought an extra bandanna.)

And no, I don't have a problem with people who come from money -- my high school boyfriend came from a wealthy family, but they instilled in him good old midwestern values, and he was always a good egg, and he's now a doctor doing research.

And Cathleen, I wanted nothing more than to rap that girl upside the head.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 5:49 AM

Congress should outlaw corporate telephone answering systems with their computerized menu trees... 15-year-old teenagers should be taught to answer and direct calls proficiently, courteously and patiently for something just under minimum wage.

Also, bilingual service should be forbidden. You have to choose an English or Spanish operator (if Spanish is to be offered at all). If Spanish-language service becomes as disproportionate cost center, then, like, everybody should learn English, capiche?

You can't pump your own gas in Oregon. Teenagers get the jobs.

Posted by: Crid at August 7, 2007 5:54 AM

I come from a long line of waitresses. That was my great-gramma's life-long job, and her daughter's, and my mom's, until she got work in a jewerly store, then, after she married dad, she worked in a radio factory, building little PC boards for inside the radios. Then she had my brothers and me, and once we were all in school, got a job in the purchasing dept. of the local hospital. It was my job to get my younger brothers after school, get them going on their homework, get dinner started, and help around the house. At 15, I got my first waitressing job. I can't remember a time when I didn't work. Everything from factory work to office jobs (and yes, I also mucked out stalls, and ended up with 2 horses of my own, while working for the US Postal Service as well! What fun!)

Both of my daughters do household chores, laundry, washing dishes, etc. and this year the older one is volunteering through the Red Cross at the local VA hospital. The younger one just enrolled at a baby-sitting course through the Red Cross. They both know if they want cell phones and iPods, they're going to be buying them, not me! One thing I'm especially proud of the older one for: she wants to go the the Projekt Revolution concert in a couple of weeks with her friends, but has to buy the ticket online. She has no credit card, so approached me with the money in her hand and asked if I would get it for her. Which I did.(My BF had told her to ask her father for the money and she said "heh heh, yeah right, as if.")

PS - Crid, today's earworm is "Revival" ("...people can you feel it...")

Posted by: Flynne at August 7, 2007 6:03 AM

Wow, things have certainly changed. I started detasseling corn when I was 14, did that for a couple of years, then got a job at McDonald's when I was 16. I used the money I made to buy myself a $1,000 car. In high school I discovered I was good at typing - about 90 words a minute - so got a job after graduation doing data entry. I made $4.00 an hour, which was a big deal at the time because minimum wage was only $3.35.

During college (in-state, public university - nothing else really seemed like an affordable option to me) I worked that data entry job every spring break, winter break, and summer. I also worked in the dishroom at the dorm commons during semesters. All that helped pay for my college expenses, so I didn't have to graduate college with too much crushing debt, only about $10K.

It was disappointing to graduate with a degree in accounting in 1992 and find that I could only land a job making $7.00 an hour. And it wasn't just me - my entire department was full of freshly-minted accounting grads making the same lousy wages I was. (Ah yes, the birth of Gen X and the "McJob.") Living with my parents was out of the question, so I got a part-time job making minimum wage in retail to help pay the rent. I worked two jobs for four years, job-hopping in both my full-time work as well as my part-time job, gradually getting into better-paying gigs. I got myself completely out of debt, put a little cushion in savings, and even made a modest down-payment on a tiny little house before I finally scaled it back to one job.

The high-tech industry didn't really exist when I graduated - there was no Internet, no Microsoft Word or Excel, no e-mail. I am now taking four months off work to go back to school for a computer science degree, so I can expand my employment opportunities - accounting has always paid the bills, but it's always been pretty boring.

The idea that kids can get out of high school (!) and make good money doing work they enjoy seems as foreign to me as living on the moon. I'm going to be in my 40's before I land anything vaguely resembling a dream job. They call the current crop of 20-somethings "Generation Debt" and I can see why, since they all seem to have bigger CD collections than I do. I guess they can afford it, since so many of them are still living with their parents. If this has all conspired to turn them into spoiled brats with hugely misplaced senses of entitlement, well goody for me - I guess I can see who my competition WON'T be when I make my next career jump.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 7, 2007 6:06 AM

Interestingly enough, about 3 days ago I stumbled across a website called www.shorpy.com . It is full of antique photos. You should look at the 9 year old working cotton mills or 10 year old coal miners that would lie and say they were 14 to get work! Some 6 year old kids would slag 100 pound bags of coal for 10 cents each! Very nice collection of photos, old architecture...what was at World Trade Center location long before the towers...half constructed Washington Monument. Cool stuff, makes you appreciate how hard THOSE kids worked!!!

Posted by: Cathleen at August 7, 2007 6:16 AM

One of the biggest favors my dad ever did me was giving me a job typing addresses on envelopes for 10 cents each. I could probably break records for typing speed.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 6:21 AM

If I'd ever kicked my mom in the shins, I'd be in orbit.

Maybe part of the problem is these kids want internships with cheap-ass industries. My first internship (co-op, it was called) was paid ($9.00 an hour!) for doing technical filings with the FCC for an engineering firm.

Although going into a real profession (like engineering) is probably more profitable than journalism! (grinning, ducking and RUNNING!)

Posted by: brian at August 7, 2007 6:29 AM

Ah...true...but I'm more of an itsy bitsy think tank than a journalist!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 6:38 AM

At 12 and 13 I caddied at a well-to-do golf course (Muirfield - the Memorial PGA tournament is held). Very high-paying ($50 for carrying two bags for 18 holes, before tips), but after a a bad run-in with a spoiled brat that was my "customer" that day, I had to quit (or he would have had his daddy fire me). From there I worked for my dad's company during vacation and such - building coils for power generators. Not so much nepotism, since I'd sometimes come home with epoxy all over my arms, or GREEN from being coated with copper dust (if the company was still around, it'd qualify for Dirty Jobs). When you've worked in a job where you'd occasionally be in a 100-degree warehouse with 90% humidity, while brazing copper with a propane torch...you tend to not be so sensitive later if the office air conditioning is a degree off.

Posted by: Jamie at August 7, 2007 6:50 AM

After reviewing everyones' resumes... I've decided to pick someone else for the position. (sigh) Don't worry, we will keep you in our files and when there is a possible opening... we'll call. Thank you and have a good one.

Posted by: Joe the H.R. Guy at August 7, 2007 7:02 AM

I knew that was coming.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 7:08 AM

I know it's overly literal, but I'm rather amused by the visual of Amy having a "itsy bitsy tank". Either one shriner-car sized with her piloting it in some kinda Patton-wear parody, or even smaller with Lucy at the helm.

*chuckle*

When you take out the "think" it's funny! But, isn't that true of a lot of other things, too?

Posted by: Jamie at August 7, 2007 7:39 AM

Lucy drives a steel-plated mug.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 8:08 AM

I dunno... this sounds like an isolated thing for the upper class and upper-middle class. From this one writer's perspective.

When I was in high school (less than ten years ago), we were being told that we were the generation that was pulling down the most hours WHILE attending school. High school. My peers were helping to take care of their families; at least part of their salaries were required to go to their own food bill (like school lunches; I'm not talking about family dinners) and pay for their own clothes.

Now that I'm in college, most everyone I know works a full-time job. This sounds vastly different from where this writer is coming from, with the idea that summer jobs were primarily for college employees. Now, I know a few people who are pulling down part-time jobs AND an internship (b/c most internships don't pay; you get college credit - this goes especially to everyone who's majoring in education). And most of these jobs are retail or day-care centers; jobs that go otuside the 9 to 5 bank hours so that they can take classes.

And these aren't "poor" people, they're middle class folks. They're people who drive cars that are ten years old and need a new transmission; they're people who can also afford to have a fancy cell phone while buying generic brand food.

What I do see that the writer has pointed out, is that there is more expectation for you to get used to office environments and networking and expanding computer knowledge. There seems to be this idea that you WILL work in a corporation, and you NEED to recognize that. There's a kind of "look-down-your-nose" attitude by many older people (professors, advisors, and other folk) that if you're pulling down 50 hours a week at Target, you're not really working. But most corp. jobs don't allow you to attend very many classes either!! How can you possibly do both?

((As a side note, Florida requires you to take so many summer classes, so this all applies to the aspect of the summer job)).

Sorry this is so long, it just seems to contradict everything that I've experienced and seen up close. I think this may be true for a certain set of people, but I think this author may be generalizing a little.

Posted by: CornerDemon at August 7, 2007 9:12 AM

...an itsy bitsy think tank...

It's called an Insight for a reason.

Posted by: Jessica at August 7, 2007 9:16 AM

I think the feeling that you will one day work for a corporation, get used to it...stems from the fact that the average person may work 50 hours a week at Target, but they can't exactly survive on it. For example: I'm in the countryside, not in an urban, high rent area comparitively speaking...and a stockperson at the local Target makes $9.00 an hour. Medical insurance takes 55$ a week in premiums. The average 1 bedroom apartment out here is $775.00. Thats not counting owning a vehicle, because there is no public transportation. If you own a beater, awesome, but if you have to actually pay a car payment you're slowly getting screwed. Insurance is mandatory, so there's an additional grand or more a year. Even on a ramen noodle diet making only 18k a year where half of that goes to rent doesn't exactly say one is 'making it'. You just get stuck in a dead end existence and the best way out of it is to try to get a job in technologies with a corporation so you can grow, gain experience in a changing field and maybe one day attain that dream of owning a home. Or even having kids.

I'm an artist that loves horses and I was naive in thinking I could always pick up a retail job and 'get by' and live my life. After struggling for almost 20 years in retail I made the transition to the corporate world. For the first time in my life I can breathe without stress of not making enough money. Unloading boxes from the 18 wheeler in 100 degree truck heat, hours on my feet stocking, then cashiering. Giving up holidays and Saturdays because that's when ya need to be there in retail. Not to mention dealing with the most abrasive customers...it wears on you.

I have a wonderful job behind a computer that affords me the bits of time to be here on this blog, I sit in climate control and at the end of the day, my work stays here I don't have to bring it home and stress over it. I paid my dues, way hard dues, to be here. Thats why in a way I hope my kids can get into good jobs where they don't have to suffer quite as much. I still think they can move their ass a bit as teenagers tho, before the rest of reality sets in!

Posted by: Cathleen at August 7, 2007 9:36 AM

I have a wonderful job behind a computer that affords me the bits of time to be here on this blog, I sit in climate control and at the end of the day, my work stays here I don't have to bring it home and stress over it. I paid my dues, way hard dues, to be here. Thats why in a way I hope my kids can get into good jobs where they don't have to suffer quite as much. I still think they can move their ass a bit as teenagers tho, before the rest of reality sets in!

I could have written this, too, Cathleen!

Posted by: Flynne at August 7, 2007 9:48 AM

I'm still a holdout for a traditional school year as well. A lot of parents prefer the year-round school schedule. I have the strong memories of summer vacations and xmas breaks, so I don't care for taking that away from kids. Once the kids are old enough, it's over and year round working adult life begins. So I still prefer that kids be kids for the little time that they have, and not be forced into adult scheduling as children, just because it's more convenient to parents.

It's like I mentioned in other posts, I had 3 future adults. 1/5 of their life is spent in youth, so I want it to count for something and you don't have to be a crazy too-into-your-children-parent to let them have that. I'm also not into changing every aspect of the adult world to accomodate the fact that there are children around, too. To create a pseudo G-rated planet because a few kids are still young is not the world I want to live in, either.

Posted by: Cathleen at August 7, 2007 12:31 PM

Exactly, I'm in total agreement. Our school system here, now, is such that the children are given summer math packets that they are expected to complete and hand in at the beginning of the school year, as well as a reading list that is composed of many books, mostly for pleasure, granted, but they are expected to read at least 2 before school starts again. Which is fine, I guess, but I remember summers being totally free of schoolwork, unless we wanted to "play" school. My older daughter is fine with the reading list, she's a big reader anyway, and now that she's in high school, she doesn't get a math packet; the younger one isn't quite as big a reader, but she's a math wiz and so knocked that out right away.

But still, I think summer should be a time for kids to have fun and just be kids, before the "big people" responsibilities kick in. (Of course they still do their household chores, they're not exempt!) But next week they're going away with my ex-in-laws to their cabin in the Adirondacks for the week, and we've been doing little days trips, when I can get the day off here and there.

Posted by: Flynne at August 7, 2007 12:54 PM

Cathleen/Flynne

I personally think that the suggestions of "all year" school and such is probably overcompensation for some kids not learning anything during the time they have them. I've seen plenty of kids that can barely spell (or read) when they're in middle school, and in those schools the teachers spend more time trying to control the kids than they can teaching them. This seems especially true in the in-city schools I've seen. It doesn't help that some parents don't get involved with the kids education at all, as they're more concerned about the next episode of America's Next Top Model than the kids grades.

I had to work in some form or another from 13 on, but it was never more than part time until I was out of school, plenty of time for playin' around. Plus that wasn't inflicted on me by the school system, that was my parents decision, and sometimes it was just because I wanted money (those arcade games back in the 80's wouldn't feed THEMSELVES quarters, ya know). Besides, if I didn't have natural aptitude for computer geekery, I would have already had useful skills as a machinist and welder by then (was welding/brazing when I was 11)...it's always good to have trade skills.

Posted by: Jamie at August 7, 2007 1:34 PM

My first jobs were babysitting, housecleaning, and bakery/retail, in that order. When I wanted a TV of my own, my dad bought it for me at around $100, and I paid him back $6 a week from my one regular babysitting gig for months and months. He forgave me the last $20 or so.

I also worked on a kibbutz for a summer at age 15, picking pears! We had to get up at 4:45 am. That was the hard part. Then they switched me to the meat processing plant, which was great because it was cooler in there. I also did kitchen duty. We high schoolers only had to work 5 hours a day, rather than the 8 required of full-time kibbutz members. The kids on my trip who didn't show up for their jobs, got criticized by the kibbutzniks for laziness. They whined but I'm sure the social pressure helped them to be better than they would have been otherwise.

I agree, teenage years are a good time to work menial jobs! It does build character and good habits that can be much harder to acquire later in life. But then, one shouldn't be stuck in a menial job as an adult with a family to support, that's just endless stress and as someone said above, slowly being screwed.

Posted by: Red Ree at August 7, 2007 4:23 PM

I'm in a position where at times my firm hires recent college graduates with a degree in engineering. We receive hundred of application and have to select one maybe two. There are many method for doing this, but one thing that never comes into the decission making process is - has that person interned? Having been an intern has absolutely no bearing on if you will be able to perform the job.

You will not get hired if when I shake your hand they are softer then mine. You will not get hired if you have never worked for a paycheck.

If you are 21+ years old and you have never worked for a paycheck that tells me someone else has always supported you. And in my opinion that isn't good.

Posted by: nobbinsd at August 7, 2007 5:26 PM

> today's earworm

If you must identify a champion from Southern rock, and no one should insist, go with the first (Duanne) solo from "Blue Sky." It includes that syncopated lick... You know the one...
da-deedilly-DEEdilly-da-deedilly-DEEdill....

2nd place: "High Falls" (Rhodes solo only)

3rd Place: "Melissa" (that main chord change is such a PITA that even Dickey can't do it in rhythm)

4th Place: "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

And just that quickly, the genre was spent. One more tune from ANY of those suckers, and you'd find yourself weeping with gratitude for disco.

Posted by: Crid at August 7, 2007 5:26 PM

CornerDemon has a point...while it's true that there are spoiled young adults out there, Freya knows, there are also a hell of a lot of kids whose parents didn't have the resources to spoil them in that way. These stories about how kids these days have iPods thrown at their feet until they graduate debt-free from college and live off of Mommy and Daddy while working as an assistant in Hollywood are upper-class journalism, and while that has a place, more and more it seems to dominate EVERYTHING.

As for jobs...it's funny, I always think of myself as not having worked in high school, and feeling fortunate that I was able to devote time to studying and extracurriculars. However, whenever I mention that around my mother, she reminds me that I was a babysitting fiend from the time I was 13 through the time I went off to college. I also drove a few younger kids to school for gas money, did odd jobs for my father, etc. etc. All true. Do those count as menial jobs? I dunno, but I DO know that I, unlike many of the women I know who are actually having children, are not surprised at the idea that children are irrational little wretches who require an enormous amount of work. And I say this as someone who genuinely likes kids and would be more than happy to crank 'em out were I at a different place in my life. I actually think that all non-sociopathic teenagers, female and male, should have to go through a few babysitting stints. Would be GREAT birth control, IMHO, and it also gives one exposure to the reality of kids before one is trapped with one of one's own who is more more of a burden than expected. On the flip side, it lets future parents practice discipline on kids who they like but don't love passionately and irrationally the way they do their own.

As for the shin-kicking...your parents would let you live if you did that? Mine, not so much.

Posted by: marion at August 7, 2007 11:07 PM

Heh heh...love the way you put that.

y life. I actually think that all non-sociopathic teenagers, female and male, should have to go through a few babysitting stints. Would be GREAT birth control, IMHO, and it also gives one exposure to the reality of kids before one is trapped with one of one's own who is more more of a burden than expected.

Cured me. I forgot about the babysitting I did. And the thought frequently crosses my mind of certain others' children functioning as the best argument for attention to birth control.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 7, 2007 11:32 PM

I was a baby-sitting fiend too, got my first phone (my own separate line) with baby-sitting money. The kids I sat for in my neighborhood were pretty good most of the time, I never really saw it as a means of thinking about birth control, but I can see your point. I've known some kids that could be poster children for the argument for birth control!

If you must identify a champion from Southern rock
I much prefer Duane's solo in 'Layla'. Everybody thinks it was Clapton's, but no, that's Duane all the way. And if we're going for intstrumentals, 'Jessica' is right up there, although I think 'Les Brer in A minor' is my favorite. And just for the record, disco makes me wretch. Always did.

PS - Today's earworm (usually determined by the song spinning around in my head when I first open my eyes in the morning) is 'To Be With You" by Mr. Big. I've no idea where that came from!

Posted by: Flynne at August 8, 2007 6:07 AM

I always hated summer reading, but I WISH we'd had summer math packets when I was a kid. We probably spent the first half of every year reviewing the crap we learned last year, and it is just so counter productive. Even if you have to spend an hour a day during the summer doing homework, at least you still have 23 hours to enjoy the summer.

We have a new hire at my company, he is only 3 years younger than me, but everything he does is just so half assed. He just sortof gets it done so that no one will yell at him, he's on vacation this week so we have found a bunch of stuff he hasn't done properly. It is so frustrating, doesn't he take any pride in doing a good job? Blech. He has interned at this company for years, but even that clearly didn't teach him how to actually do work.

Posted by: Shinobi at August 8, 2007 7:23 AM

Cathleen:

I totally agree with you about not being able to live your life doing a 50 hour work week at Target past college. The average rent is way too high to be able to make it on that salary. But when you're going through college, that is the way a lot of people play. In order to afford books, room/board, gas, and food, you need to work and for that, Target does pay the bills.

But I don't think we give enough credit (especially in universities) to those people that will work outside the corporate world. LIke teachers, librarians, computer technicians, nurses, and other people in professional jobs to where they DON'T sit in an office all day and who have a more "public service" kind of job. And I think plumbers, electricians, and other guys who come fix things when they break hardly get any respect, despite the fact that they have skills I certianly can't emulate. And they make good money (or at least, most of the ones I know personally do, especially the mechanics and plumbers).

I just think that there's way to much focus on how its expected for you to work in a corporate environment, when there's lots of jobs that don't operate in that sphere. But then again, my experience is pretty limited, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

And I went through year-round schooling personally (as a student). It actually makes things HARDER to learn and focus on. Year-round schooling is a nice dream, but it doesn't really work all that well, in my experience. Summer vacation rules!

Posted by: CornerDemon at August 8, 2007 8:45 AM

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