Growing up in Enterprise, Alabama, I always wanted a high-paying job. I looked forward to the day I could have my own money to buy whatever I wanted. When I turned 16, I immediately set out to find my own summer job. I put in applications at the local movie theater, grocery store, and lawn care company, but I ultimately found my first job at the very same building I attended during the academic year: my school. That first summer, I was on the yard crew and thought I was making a good bit of money and was going to be able to buy whatever I wanted. Quickly, I discovered I was wrong; working may have given me money to spend, but it also forced me to learn how to manage it. Two months after the summer and the end of my summer job, I was broke and had no way to pay for gas. I learned quickly if you spent your money frivolously on your wants rather than your needs, you end up out of money. The next summer, I used my experience to find a better-paying job at a local lawn care company and to make better decisions with my money. Now, I am budgeting and ensuring my money lasts the school year. I never realized that working would pay me so much more than money, though. My experiences with employment have taught me many things that carry over into all aspects of my life. Here are four life-lessons that I have learned from my summer jobs.
The process of getting a job allows you to develop confidence, and you learn how to be confident in an interview. Working also builds confidence by letting you feel pride in your work. It builds a belief that you can do your job correctly and improves your ability to solve real-life problems by presenting you with independent tasks. Jobs provide you with independence by giving you tasks you must complete without your boss, such as when your boss leaves you on a site alone. This confidence carries over into every part of your life.
Working also helps instill responsibility by providing you with challenging tasks you don’t always get right. If you mess up, you must admit to your actions and find solutions. Additionally, it provides a sense of time management, allowing you to balance other parts of your life still while working. A job even shows you how to work hard and be responsible by giving you goals to complete in a time frame. It also teaches you how to save and manage your money better, allowing you to spend your money on your needs rather than your wants. It teaches you how to be a dependable worker, and someone people can count on to get the job done.
Another advantage to working is networking. Working builds relationships and memories that can last forever. Jobs provide you with friends you may never have met otherwise and can also give you connections you can use in the future. People respect their coworkers who work hard with them on the same task, and you never know when someone will remember your work ethic and camaraderie and connect you to a future opportunity.
Working also builds communication skills by teaching you to talk clearly to your boss. Similarly, working allows you to communicate problems more easily with other coworkers. It can help you learn to deal with customers and improve your people skills. Just as working builds relationships, working with others on a common goal requires clarity, collaboration, and compromise. These communication skills are a part of everyday life in the working world.
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