Pros and Cons of a Summer Job

A+woman+in+a+pool+of+water

Isabelle Moore

It may only be February, but it is important to start thinking about the summer. Any teenager you speak to has their own opinion about having a summer job. Many people are running around during the summer trying to hang out with friends, go to the beach, or even attend a bonfire, but a great majority of the high school population is working throughout the summer to earn a steady income.

There are many different kinds of jobs around the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff area. Since this is such a summer-friendly town there are a great variety of jobs for kids our age. Many students begin looking for summer work around the end of freshman year, but will most likely receive below minimum wage; many sophomores, juniors, and seniors, however, have summer jobs that they have held for multiple years.

Even if the pros heavily outweigh the cons, there are still some things to consider when looking into having a summertime job.

PROS:

There is such a long list of pros when looking at summer jobs. One of the greatest parts of a summer job is earning your own spending money, which can lead to a student being able to buy themselves something or even save up some cash for college. Since you’ll be having a schedule and a boss, many students will have to exercise being more responsible. This newfound sense of responsibility is a great thing because it allows a student to become more independent and less reliant on their parents. All of these new jobs and responsibilities force kids to step up and become leaders–learning to listen but also voice their opinion when desired. A part of living in this area is that you may not know every single person, but working in your community helps students get to know kids and adults from inside the community. One of the most important parts of working during high school is to build up your resume. Soon, my classmates and I will be going to college and then will eventually graduate from college and go into the world looking for jobs. These resumes allow students to get their desired jobs, and makes employers want to hire you based on some of the work experience that you have in your past. 

CONS:

There is a very small amount of cons when looking into having a summer job. The biggest thing being, of course, less time to hang out with your friends and family. This also allows work to kind of rule your personal life which can certainly annoy some people. But just because you can’t hang out with your friends doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make new friends at work.

OPTIONS:

Since there are many teenagers out there with no clue what kinds of jobs are available to them or what they are qualified for, here’s an idea of some of the best ones, and an explanation of what it could be like and how you can enjoy your time at work.

Camp Counselor:

This is a great job in order to get a greater connection to the youth of the town. Little kids are very energetic and keep any teenager who works in a day camp very busy. The parents of these kids are expecting you to watch over their children, but there is also a part of them who realize it is your summer, too, so building a relationship with your coworkers is a great idea as well. Sophomore Bella Watters worked as a counselor over the summer and says that the greatest parts are, of course, “the kids and the people.”  A great part of working at a camp is it can lead to many other babysitting offers, which obviously brings in more cash.

Lifeguard/swim lesson instructor:

Lifeguarding is one of the most common summer jobs for teenagers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t parts about it that are certainly more serious than getting a good tan. There is a period of time where a guard needs to get certified, and there are different options. There are long courses to take throughout the semester such as the one here at the high school, or shorter classes that span two days. Junior Jenna Hughes is a great example of a prepared lifeguard, but one who is also enjoying the job, “I’m glad I worked this summer because making your own money to spend gives you a sense of independence” I recommend speaking to a possible employer prior to certification to see where they want their guards to become certified. Lifeguarding is a really fun job but it also a job where you need to be able to help someone if they need it. Junior lifeguard Holly Malnati worked at the Lake Bluff Pool and mentioned her praise for the position. “I loved it. It gave me the opportunity to meet people I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t worked at the pool. And I also got a really good tan.” Yes, a lifeguard’s day to day job can be very relaxing, but there are so many other parts of it.

A lifeguard needs to understand that people swimming in the lake or a pool expect the guards to save them if they need it. Junior Emmalee Rhomberg worked at the Vernon Hills pool that had lazy rivers and slides unlike the Lake Bluff Rec, making the work environment somewhat more high-stress, but she still had a great time. “I met a bunch of new people and since all of them go to a different school I made a lot of new friends.” Since there are so many other pools around us, it’s feasible to work in a different town to afford you with the opportunity to meet new people, but don’t forget to calculate in the time to get there. Lastly, a specific part of working at a pool involves helping with swim lessons or working with the swim team. Junior Amalia Liguori-Coneff speaks out about what swim lessons are like, “The Lake Bluff Pool is a fun place to work. I recommend teaching swim lessons because the kids are cute. Also, work over the summer because you make a lot of money and money is not a bad thing.” Overall, having a job at a pool is a great place to start your work career.

Intern:

Even though there are many different jobs that will prepare you for life out of the high school, this is probably the most professional considering you would be working inside of a business and building connections for when you get out of high school or even college. Junior Lianna Wisneski worked as a teacher in a toddler classroom. “My hours were flexible and I really enjoyed my job. Getting paid makes it easier to save for college. I’m going to be trying to double my hours so hopefully I’ll get paid some more.” Being an intern is a great way to meet new people and try to get to know different people who could possibly help you get a job when you are out of college. It’s important to build these connections as quickly as possible.

Food Industry:

This would be a job that could lead to many different things, whether you work at a pizza restaurant, ice cream parlor, or any local restaurant. A lot of places love having teens as waiters or hostesses. Junior Joe Thomas works at a restaurant and loves it. “The job I had over the summer was great. I could pick my own hours and it was good to know that I had some spending money in my pocket that would last me over break.” It’s another way to create a network of people, and, as an added benefit, I could get some nice meals out of it.

Babysitter:

Babysitting is a great way to bring in some extra spending cash. It really depends on who you are working for, but some parents will have you babysit a specific amount of days a week. Otherwise, it could be at random spurts of time. Junior Natalie Notz is a babysitter and absolutely loves the freedom and enjoyment the job provides.  “I enjoyed working with kids because it’s a fun way to make money, it doesn’t feel like a job because I really had fun doing it.” Babysitting is a great way to bring in some extra cash. Babysitting jobs can often last for long periods of time as well. Personally, I know of many students who return for breaks in college to babysit or get extra hours during winter or spring break from high school. 


If you’re someone who doesn’t want to work over the summer, then take a word of advice from sophomore Lilly Mass and try to spend some time with nature. “I went to summer camp instead of working. It gave me a breath of fresh air, literally and metaphorically, compared to the tolls of everyday life.”

Whatever your decision becomes, make sure that you get something out of summer rather than just extended free time. Make the most of your break from school by engaging in some of the jobs mentioned above or by attending a camp up north in Wisconsin or Minnesota.