The best and worst summer jobs.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
July 23 2003 12:53 PM

Summer Lovin'

A teenager's guide to the steamiest—and easiest—summer jobs.

(Continued from Page 1)

Job: Lifeguard.
They say you learn how to: Give CPR, save lives.
You really learn how to: Use sunglasses to cover up the fact that you're sleeping on the job, and, if you're physically gifted, make skimming the pool look like it's an enviable task.
Upside: Skin! Skin! Skin!
Downside: Sunburn! Sunburn! Sunburn!
Wages:  $6.50-$9. 
Minimum age: 15.
How do I get this job? Take a certification course during the winter at your local YMCA or JCC. Then start calling country clubs, apartment complexes, and summer camps.
Hook-up factor: Moderate. It all depends on where you work. Big neighborhood or country-club pools can be a bonanza for your libido (or so I've heard). On the other hand, if you pick the wrong place—say, the YMCA—you'll be subject to a daily visual diet of only the very young (taking swimming lessons) and the very old (doing water aerobics).

Advertisement

Job: Day-camp counselor.
They say you learn how to: Work with kids, lead a group with confidence, teach useful skills, mediate petty squabbles.
You really learn how to: Transfer important responsibilities to your co-counselors, explain to 8-year-old girls that they've got no chance with the dreamy 18-year-old camp crafts instructor.
Upside: When you're not looking after your kids, you can chill with other teenagers.
Downside: You always have to look after your kids.
Wages: Anywhere from $600 to $3,000 for 8 weeks of work.
Minimum age: Generally speaking, you need to be an incoming sophomore or junior in high school.
How do I get this job? In March, check with local private schools, community organizations, and religious groups about when their camp starts. If you call early enough (or have a connection), a job is pretty easy to get.
Hook-up factor: Moderate to high. No one will be impressed by your job, but you do spend all of your days in the sun with other hot, sweaty, bored teenagers.

Job: Sleepaway-camp counselor.
They say you learn how to: Plan activities, act as a surrogate parent for children, deal with homesickness, be responsible for others.
You really learn how to: Haze 11-year-olds while remaining within the moral boundaries of civilized society; read Penthouse letters; force that smelly home-schooled kid into the shower on the eve of visitors' day.
Upside: No parents, no curfews, co-workers who live with you (some of whom are over the age of 21).
Downside: You're responsible for 10-15 kids for nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week; getting caught taking advantage of your elder co-workers' ability to buy beer.
Wages: $600 to $2,000 for 10 weeks, plus room and board. Junior counselors and counselors-in-training—"CITs"—sometimes receive just room and board, not an actual salary.
Minimum age: 16 to be a junior counselor or CIT, 17 to be a real counselor.
How do I get this job? This is a tough one. The best way to get one of these jobs is to go to a summer camp until you're old enough to be a counselor (which also involves kissing up to/making nice with the powers-that-be). However, these camps are usually quite expensive; an alternative might involve finding a wealthy friend who has attended one and is willing to give you a recommendation. If that fails, get out the Yellow Pages in January and dial up as many camps as possible. It often helps to have a European accent and dark Mediterranean features. A couple of years ago I was entertaining the fantasy of being a waiter at very posh, all-girls camp … then I found out I had no chance unless my name was André, Enriqué, or Jean-Paul.
Hook-up factor: Very high. Up to 10 weeks with no parental oversight, other teenagers (and young adults) living in close quarters, the occasional night off, and there's always skinny-dipping in the lake. Note to parents: This is the case even at camps that are religiously stringent. If the camp is not co-ed, it merely means that any inter-camp mixing will be quite … intense, or there will be a certain amount of what people like to call "homo-social bonding."

Air Conditioning

Job: Telemarketer.
They say you learn how to: Telemarket.
You really learn how to: Annoy the hell out of people in a professional manner.
Upside: Nice desk, your own phone, flexible hours, relatively high pay, and little stress. Downside: You're a telemarketer.
Wages: $9-$15 per hour, plus commissions.
Minimum age: Some places will hire students as young as 14, although 16 and 18 is much more common.
How do I get this job? Check want ads in free employment newspaper. The phone book is also a decent resource; however, it would be quicker to find people a couple years older than you who have telemarketed before and can give you leads. 
Hook-up factor: Low. No one likes telemarketers. Plus, "Would you like to refinance your mortgage?" does not qualify as a pick-up line.

Job: Worker bee at a quaint guitar-repair center, thrift store, second-hand book shop, etc.
They say you learn how to: Manage a small business, other assorted skills.
You really learn how to: Sit in a corner and read, other assorted skills.
Upside: Peace, quiet, and quirkiness.
Downside: There is such a thing as too much peace, quiet, and quirkiness. Think of Canada.
Wages: $6-$9 per hour.
Minimum age: 14.
How do I get this job? Wander around stores until you hit the jackpot, or work the phones for a couple of hours. 
Hook-up factor: Low. Even if you're cute, these places usually have low traffic. However, if you manage to obtain a significant other over the summer, your work days will be rife with opportunities for a little bit of backroom derring-do.

Job: Sales assistant at a music or book mega-store.
They say you learn how to: Interact with customers, maximize product placement, get acquainted with shipping software.
You really learn how to: Get depressed by the fact that so many people are buying Avril Lavigne albums at full price.
Upside: Shelves of books, shelves of music.
Downside: Suburbanites who think they're literary now that there's a Barnes & Noble with a cappuccino bar near their McMansions enclave; the old lady who repeatedly comes to the store to ask if her favorite novel is still out of print.
Wages: $7-$10 per hour.
Minimum age: 16.
How do I get this job? Fill out applications and cross your fingers. Do not mention your love of alt-rock in the interview; do look the part of fresh-faced suburbanite by wearing Banana Republic (or Gap or J. Crew or Abercrombie & Fitch or …)
Hook-up factor: Moderate. Helpfulness, charm, and a little nerdiness might catch the eye of like-minded bookworms or record-heads. If you have a thing for mall rats, you can always check the in-store cafe after your shift ends.

A Hard Day's Work

Job: Construction worker.
They say you learn how to: Build stuff.
You really learn how to: Look manly.
Upside: Power tools and dangerous machinery.
Downside: Power tools and dangerous machinery.
Wages: $8-$13 per hour.
Minimum age: 16, although it's usually 18.
How do I get this job? Phone book, or by pestering the guys who are fixing up your school.
Hook-up factor: High. The combination of rugged work, taut muscles, tight-fitting undershirts, a tan, and really cool lunchboxes can elicit the kind of lust that trumps sexual orientation.

Job: Landscaper/groundskeeper
They say you learn how to: Maintain grass, trim hedges, repair fences.
You really learn how to: Play poker on lunch breaks, and drive a tractor.
Upside: Lawnmower fights!
Downside: Muddy fields, the possibility of literally getting a 'redneck,' grass rash.
Wages: $7-$10.
Minimum age: 16, although some places will hire 14-year-olds.
How do I get this job? Local park services often hire summer help. Also, keep a lookout for want ads.
Hook-up factor: High for females, low for males. Even for those of us who aren't denizens of NASCAR nation, there's a certain allure to tractor-driving women. On the other hand, there's not much of a market for guys who smell like fertilizer.

The Most Kick-Ass Job in the Whole Entire World

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 23 2014 6:00 AM Naked and Afraid Prudie offers advice on whether a young boy should sleep in the same room with his nude grandfather.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Books
Sept. 23 2014 7:14 AM Fighting the Sophomore Slump, Five Novels at a Time Announcing the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.