The CS Team took a trip down memory lane reminiscing about our best, worst, favorite or funniest summer jobs.
Dennis Culloton, President and CEO
My first summer job to pay for school and expenses was at the O’Hare Airport International Terminal moving heavy carts of food. As a young, unseasoned worker my attitude came off entitled. I thought that my job should work around my schedule while still allowing me to make the kind of money I was working toward. A few weeks into my job, I realized that I was seeing the whole situation wrong. To be a good, productive employee, and to achieve success, sometimes you need to stay late and work on someone else’s terms. That summer, I would become marginally successful at my job as I worked my way into my boss’ good graces, which gave me more control over my schedule and granted me more shifts and overtime.
Tracey Mendrek, Executive Vice President
My favorite summer job was working in the equivalent of a mom & pop Best Buy. We sold everything from 8 track tapes, stereos, clock radios and TVs to appliances. I never imagined that I would be able to discuss the rinse cycle of a Whirlpool washing machine, but you did what you had to do. We also offered gift wrapping service during Christmas and customers believed that even the largest appliance should be wrapped. So I have fond memories of crawling around on the floor wrapping boxes that were too big to lift and delivering them to the back door on a dolly to load into a customer’s car. I’m happy to say that Lindstroms still exists today on Main Street in downtown Galesburg, Ill. Clock radios may be extinct and 8 track tapes have become CDs but appliances and gift wrapping have survived the test of time.
Angela Benander, Vice President of Advocacy and Corporate Responsibility
My most memorable summer job experience was the summer of 1997 – the summer between my junior and senior year at Albion College.
I had worked my first political internship the previous fall in the office of Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut. I worked in his press office in Washington DC and then volunteered at the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign headquarters during the evening. I loved politics and wanted to get as much experience as possible so that I could get a job in DC after graduation.
Which leads me to the summer of ‘97. Weekdays I would work nine to five at the district office of Senator Carl Levin in downtown Saginaw, Michigan, about 45 miles from where I grew up. It was a small two-person office handling constituent services throughout the northeast lower peninsula and staffing the Senator when he came to visit the region. I handled everything from press clips to casework intake to brainstorming ideas for Senator Levin’s regional schedule.
I learned so much that summer. Unfortunately, the internship was unpaid, so after my shift in the Senate office, I would hop into my pickup truck, drive 15 miles southeast and work as a dinner and weekend hostess at Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is a small town that was settled by German immigrants. Today, Frankenmuth markets itself as “Little Bavaria” with themed shops and restaurants, and draws something like 3 million visitors every year. To a town of 4,000. Insane.
Zehnder’s is a sprawling restaurant that seats 1,500 and specializes in family style chicken dinners. Buses of senior citizens would come day after day and lines were frequently out the door. I wish I had a photo of the uniform I had to wear. The best way to describe it is a “German maid’s outfit” which is the same basic idea as a French maid’s costume, except the black skirt and white apron went down to my ankles, the neckline was practically to my chin, and there was a white lace hat.
Even though I worked constantly, lived in the unfinished basement of three nursing students and about one million crickets, and suffered the many indignities of restaurant work (Think vomiting toddlers. Think three of them in one night) that summer was definitely one of the most memorable times of my life and I’m extremely grateful for it.
Jodie Kaplan, Vice President of Media Relations and Branding
There are two summer job experiences that really stick out in my mind. The first was one of my favorite jobs interning at Inside Edition in New York for three months. I worked in the Mecca of the entertainment world, learned to live on my own, navigate a very large strange city and, of course, how sensationalized news works.
On the opposite spectrum, I took a job working for my friend’s dad at Osteoporosis Centers of America. I got to work with my best friend in downtown Chicago, so I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Then I realized I was going to be cold calling women over 60 years old all day and asking them if they had a bone density screening yet. Needless to say, it prepared me for cold calling reporters, but it doesn’t rank high up there as a favorite job. However, I could talk to you about osteoporosis for hours.
Patrick Skarr, Account Supervisor
Skarr declined comment for this blog. Off the record his spokeswoman concedes that Patrick has only had two jobs his entire life and that sharing details would involve discussing client or firm business, which as a matter of policy are not discussed. Though his representative did not deny the story that he saw Elmo and Vanessa Williams sing a duet while sitting on steps of the U.S. Capitol for the A Capitol Fourth celebration, while he was on his fellowship in Washington.
Manny Ozaeta, Account Supervisor
I was 16 years old when I got my first glamorous summer job as a dishwasher/busboy at a local restaurant in my hometown of El Paso. The job itself didn’t come with any benefits, paid minimum wage and it was HARD work. I was a teenager living at home just wanting to have some extra cash in my pocket, but there were others around me who were trying to survive on what I made, or not much more. From that experience I truly learned what it means to have a work ethic.
Today, there is an important debate in the nation’s Capitol focused on immigration. While legislators from both sides of aisle begin to present their arguments on specific policy, let us hope that they also remember that this great nation is a melting pot formed in experience, maybe from one summer job at a time.
Ashleigh Johnston, Account Executive
My favorite summer job was working at a hair salon. I started working right after college graduation and although working in a mall is not necessarily glamorous, it was a great girlie-girl job. Talking about hair and being encouraged by your superiors to be fashionable was a great indulgence. Plus, I met one of my closest friends there. The lessons in patience and politeness, the ease of a five-minute commute and the great memories I have of the girls I worked with will stick with me always. Plus, I know way more about hair styles, colors and the complexities of hairspray than I ever imagined I would.
Patrick O’Connell, Intern
I have had the chance to work a variety of jobs ranging from a camp counselor to a member of the Chicago Cubs grounds crew. My favorite summer job would have to be the five summers I worked at North Avenue Beach. Working inside the boathouse at the convenience store, I was able to ride my bike to and from work and hang out with friends before or after my shift on the lakefront. It was one of the best jobs a high school student could ask for.
Conor Culloton, Intern
It’s become increasingly crucial to have not only a diverse set of skills, but a nuanced and dynamic point of view when solving problems in the workplace. By working as a do-anything political intern by day and sub sandwich maker by night last summer, I developed my understanding of local government, the tax exemption process, community leadership, and meat portioning. I also developed my perspective on life, work, and solving problems. My experience as a minimum wage-earner in the service industry influenced the way that I thought about my desk job and vice versa. That summer of long days spent almost entirely either working or going to work didn’t just leave me with a wealth of money or knowledge. It left me with a wealth of perspective.