Even the Worst Job Can Help With Success After College

What’s the worst possible job? Waiting tables in a smoky dive? Sweeping floors in a loud, dirty factory? Gutting hogs in a slaughterhouse? There are plenty of candidates for this dubious distinction.

Sad but true, summer jobs are notoriously rotten. Unless you’ve had the foresight and good fortune to line up a good paying summer job in your chosen field, you may be dreading the approaching summer job grind. But for many students, a summer job is a financial necessity, even if the job itself is less than perfect.

Like everything else in life, a summer job is what you make of it. You can get much more than a paycheck out of any job, even on the assembly line. Every job provides opportunities to exhibit how driven you are (Effort), how well you along with the customers and co-workers (Group Skills), and how you can solve problems with the initiative and innovative ideas (Entrepreneurship). These three Winning Characteristics are important attributes that future employers will seek and reward.

Set a goal for the summer of earning a recommendation letter from your boss in one or more of these areas. Better yet, discuss with your boss when you start that you’d like to do everything possible to take on responsibility and earn a positive recommendation at the end of the summer. Ask to work on a special project where your results will be noticed when you’re done. Look for areas that can be improved and make suggestions on how to fix them, then volunteer to make them happen. Your boss will appreciate your initiative and will be happy to reward a job well done.

Let’s face it, doing a good job and demonstrating your abilities doesn’t take any longer than doing a half-hearted job. You’ve got to be there anyway, so why not work a little harder and get more than a paycheck in return? That strong recommendation letter may be the difference between landing a great job and gutting hogs after graduation.

So make the most of even the worst job. You’ll be glad you did. The skills you learn can help you both inside and outside the classroom and lead you on the path to college success and job success after graduation.

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