Summertime Blues

For the first time in 11 years, both of my sons will be home for the summer. They’ve historically gone to sleep away camp, first as campers and later as counselors.

My oldest son, who will be taking his MCATs in April, has applied for various medical internship programs. My youngest son has decided that he’s going to stay home this summer and work. He is very motivated and likes to earn money. I initially thought it was too early to start looking for a summer job, but a recent conversation I had has made me rethink this issue.

A friend’s wife (a school teacher) and her daughter were going to be counselors this summer at a local camp. The camp recently rescinded their offer letters to these two as camp enrollment is down substantially from last year; therefore, staffing requirements are down too. Duh?? This makes perfect sense.

If the national unemployment rate is 8%+, then of course summer jobs will be negatively affected too. Typical summer jobs for school aged children such as working in fast food, restaurants, camps, and retail stores will be reduced or eliminated since these businesses have experienced a declination in sales. What’s a kid to do to earn a living in a world of 8% unemployment?

Become an entrepreneur. Cut lawns, figure out how to sell items you no longer need on eBay, offer to clean out basements…. In other words, come up with a Business Plan that includes marketing your services and then deliver upon them to your clients. You will find this rewarding on a number of levels.

Also, if you have the ability, become an intern in a business you enjoy, or think you enjoy. An intern is a polite word for unpaid worker. However, this can be an opportunity to experience a field you’re not familiar with, and learn more about it. After the end of the summer you’ll either want to learn more about this specific field or determine that it’s not the right course of action for you to pursue. And here’s a secret about internships. Although they are typically “unpaid”, most companies will provide you with a goodwill payment at the end of the summer.

Of course, volunteering can be rewarding too. There are many organizations that would gladly accept your help. Seek out something that is meaningful to you and give back.

Eddie Cochran sang “Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do, But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” Under no circumstances should you sit around, play X Box, and bemoan the fact that you can’t get a job. Keep a positive attitude and keep applying for jobs. If that fails, follow my advice and make your own job or volunteer. As George Patton said, “an active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.”

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