In honor of graduating from college in a year and getting the day off work/school, I'd like to share some of my tender memories of high school jobs.
The first one I got when I was 16, the summer in between my Sophomore and Junior years of high school. I knew a couple of the people who worked there and they talked me up to get the job. Too bad I kind of sucked at it. In my 6 months there, I never got to move up the prestigious ranks from counter cashier/milkshake barista to drive-thru cashier. I was a little slow and never did manage to memorize the whole menu.
Also, half of the staff was pretty white trash and rude since they had worked there forever. Although, getting scolded by professional fast food workers for sucking takes the sting out of being an inefficient worker. I at least knew I'd get out of there someday.
Lesson learned: working fast food is kind of hard and it sucks. Also, be nice to fast food employees.
Job: Clark County Fair
I took a job at a booth at the Clark County Fair the summer I recovered from knee surgery. I wasn't able to work most of the summer since I had to gain back most of my leg muscles in rehab, so I worked a little bit over a week at a food booth at the fair. The foods I helped prepare and serve: bratwurst, hot dogs, corn dogs, french fries, and elephant ears. Basically, anything that, unless you're really really hungry, would probably make you throw up. I worked the closing shift 6pm-11pmish. I was always afraid I would get attacked by carnies or at least jumped by some of the classy folks you see at the fair.
My favorite memory is one night while driving home, my tire popped on the freeway. I had borrowed my dad's Subaru station wagon since it got better mileage than the Volvo I normally drove. Unfortunately, this meant I didn't know where the spare tire or tools were in the car**. Plus, I didn't have a cell phone. After searching the car and waiting for someone to stop for a while, I realized I was probably on my own on this one. I was probably about 5 miles from home, so I just decided to start walking. Fortunately, a woman and her daughter stopped to give me a ride. This seemed less sketchy than me walking all the way home by myself, and I took the offer and got home safely.
Lesson learned: Working late at night at a gross place is not fun. Also, cell phones are useful.
Job: Coldstone Creamery
I took this job the summer before I went to college. It wasn't bad. I usually worked closing, which prevented me from seeing my friends, but And even though I had to listen to Fall Out Boy's "Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy Tonight" 23423 times a night thanks to my shift manager, I mostly liked who I worked with. Plus, ice cream is the least disgusting fast food there is: you smell like sugary goodness instead of ketchup when you get home.
My favorite part was making cakes: 1) it was something to do since our store wasn't very busy, and 2) I didn't have to talk to customers. It required me to cut circular layers from premade cakes combine them with ice cream/fixin' layers. I was actually quite fast at this, so I was assigned this job most of the time. Mostly, I didn't suck at this job.
Lesson learned: ice cream is delicious, but not delicious enough to get a "Gotta have it" size.
*Fast food done with local, Pacific NW goods = way expensive fast food. Although those milkshakes are delicious.
**Answer: under the hood and under the carpet in the back, respectively.