Like most of us, Geoff Bagg, CEO of The Bagg Group, has survived his fair share of tough summer jobs. He remembers one in particular as the worst mostly because he thought it would be a dream job and it turned out to be a downright drag.
As a student, Geoff couldn’t believe his luck in landing a summer gig working for a sound design studio.
It sounded too good to be true … because it was! Geoff spent the summer with a hammer in hand doing unrelated construction jobs for his employer and running errands that had nothing to do with sound or music or production –and all for incredibly low pay.
Still you don’t get to be CEO of a successful multi-division recruitment firm without having a knack for figuring out how to learn from every job.
Geoff decided the way to salvage the situation was to hang around the studio– after he was off the clock. He spent his evenings volunteering, and that’s when he learned how to use the soundboard. By doing so, he set the wheels in motion for later work in music production.
Singer Janelle Monae told Billboard magazine that her worst summer job experience was getting fired as a cashier. The management caught her on the computer, checking her email. She recalls her boss said, “We feel like your heart is just not here, we’re going to let you go.”
But here’s more proof that you can find something to make every job experience worthwhile. Monae credits that setback with inspiring her to write her hit, Letting Go.
At The Bagg Group we’ve placed 60,000 people over our 40 years in temporary placements, contract and full-time work in every industry –so we can assure the summer worker of these two facts:
- Any work is better than no work.
- No matter what work you do, and whether or not it’s relevant to your career aspirations, it can give you something worthwhile to talk about in interviews with future employers.
Whether the job is grueling, or deadly boring, focus on what you can say you learned from it. Maybe it taught you responsibility, stamina, people skills, organization, how an organization runs, etc.
A major error when interviewing is to complain about a past job.
- Criticism and complaints always backfire — they create a negative impression about you. What you see as hardship, others may see as whining.
- Before you come down hard on a job, keep in mind that what for you may be temporary or summer work is likely full-time work for other people. If nothing else, you can talk about how you learned to consider and respect the challenges and perspectives of your colleagues at the time.
When in an interview, ask yourself: Am I complaining about what I didn’t like, or talking about what I learned?
Even the worst summer job has this upside: bragging rights!
You can one-up any friend or student who complains about their summer experience.
In Billboard, Singer Kid Sister talked about working a summer during a heatwave at a crowded deli that only had a couple fans, no air-conditioning, and “lots of ham, lots of warm meat … not good!” True, that story is tough to top — but is there anyone out there who has had summer jobs who doesn’t think they can?
Answer this Question of the Week to be entered into a draw for a career-boosting prize: What did you learn from your worst summer job?
Post your answer on Facebook or send it to us through direct mail on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line, write: Question of the Week Draw
Those who answer our Question of the Week are entered into a random draw for a prize. Draw date: August 11.
You could win an exclusive career boosting one-on-one session with well-known career coach Gene Hayden, author of the international best-seller The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done.