When Jane Alkuri thinks of her summer job two years ago, she can’t help but laugh. “The place was a Gong Show,” Alkhouri says of the job she landed after graduating from high school. It was in a lab that promised balding people a fresh crop of hair.
“You had to apply these funny-looking solutions on their heads… and then you’d have to put a heat cap on their heads for 15 minutes and repeat the procedure twice.” The lab drew customers through newspaper advertisements, but didn’t provide any guarantees on hair growth.
Unlike working at traditional places such as concession stands, service stations or day camps, out-of-the-ordinary jobs such as Alkhouri’s leave a lasting impression.
Although she can make fun of her job now, the experience taught her to start looking for summer work as early as possible. She’s not alone when it comes to quirky stories about summer jobs.
When Lyle Baker was 16, he worked as a quarry for the Vancouver police department’s dog squad. Baker’s job was to hide – in an abandoned building or up a tree – before police officers let their dog-intraining loose to find him. “I was the actual prey,” Baker says of the summer job that he got through friends. It lasted part time for two years while he finished high school.
Heather Anne Brittan landed her job through a technical college, where an instructor recommended her because of her outgoing personality.
As a park naturalist at the Okanagan Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia, Britton gave talks on wildlife, conducted nature walks, caught bats and fed a rattlesnake. She had to keep the snake food – dead mice and rats – in her home freezer.
“I was living with somebody else and I had to clearly mark the box, ‘Dead mice, do not eat.’”
Britton also had to ensure a neighbouring cat didn’t eat the mice she would thaw out on the sidewalk.
An unusual summer job can provide benefits besides being the source of entertaining stories. Britton says her job helped her develop new skills, as well as giving her the chance to work in an environment she loved.
“It was an awesome experience; it got me out there believing that I could actually do something.”
LOOKING FOR A SUMMER JOB?
HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
Getting started: Write your resume to target a specific job. Don’t use the same resume for all jobs.
Free resume help: Try your local Human Resources Centre for Youth. Call 1-800-935-5555 for the address.
Consider: All your past experiences including babysitting, paper routes, volunteer work, computer skills, participation in team sports.
Job postings: At community centres, churches, YWCA/YMCA Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, local Human Resources Centre for Youth.
Likely places to look: Concession stands, video arcades, parks, day camps, service stations, farms, fast-food restaurants.
Where: Think about how you are going to get to work. Is there a bus nearby?
Network: Let teachers, parents’ friends, neighbours and other acquaintances know you’re looking
Want to learn more?
Check out these Internet sites:
Site of the Student Employment Network, an organization that helps students in their job searches: www.studentsjobs.com
If you want a job in one of Canada’s national parks, this is the site for you: www.pc.gc.ca