At 40 years old I’ve only had 5 employers. My first job experience was working at a fast food restaurant (Long John Silvers) in high school. 5 of my friends worked in the same location and we managed to have some fun at work while doing a good job as well. I think that everyone should work at a fast food restaurant in high school (or a similar environment) because it makes you appreciate other job opportunities later.
My first summer of college I worked at a daycare – I really like children and I was good at taking care of a room of 3-years olds, but that summer I learned I didn’t want my future to include taking care of other people’s kids all day.
I worked at Kennywood Park for the next two summers. I have always loved amusement parks and roller coasters and what could be better than working at the Park all summer and riding coasters on a regular basis. The days were long (average day 10am-10pm) and days off were rare – my only time off was generally for Arts Fest weekend at Penn State in July, but I had a lot of fun those summers. I even worked extra shifts before the Park opened to come in and change light bulbs – when else in your lifetime do you have the opportunity to walk to the top of roller coaster hills.
I remember when Juliana found out that I had worked at Kennywood – she was amazed. When I took her to Kennywood and showed her the ride that I used to run and the booth at the top of the hill where I would sit and control the ride (the Log Jammer – typical log flume ride) – she was quite sure this was my greatest accomplishment and the coolest job ever.
After college graduation my parents told me that my job that summer was to find a real job and by the time Labor Day arrived I had packed and was moving to the Washington DC area for my first real job. I worked in an office and wore corporate clothing. Such is work life for most grown-ups.
Looking back Juliana might be right about the coolest job I have ever had. Greatest accomplishment? I’m not sure what that is, but it will probably end up having something to do with the little blond girl giving into centrifugal force in the picture below from our day at Kennywood Park this week.