Our view: Don’t just drift in the pool this summer

DKS Editors

There’s not really much to say about the economy these days that hasn’t already been said by us, President Barack Obama or anyone else. And for graduating seniors, job searching these last nine months may have been a particularly scary prospect – especially if nothing turned up, and the search will be continuing as spring turns into summer.

But even for students who aren’t staring down that final walk across the M.A.C. Center stage, finding a summer job this year may be equally tough.

Although part of the 2009 Stimulus Act is intended to create at least a million jobs for young people, they are still among the last to be hired for seasonal work – even more so when the job market is as lean as it is now. This means most of us can’t guarantee we won’t be sweating out June and July in polyester uniforms, flipping burgers or wasting away in cubicles as the computer autodials the next number on a list.

And while some universities in Ohio and across the nation are adding on-campus jobs to help their students get by this summer, not all of us have those kinds of opportunities available.

Before anyone starts throwing their hands up and bemoaning the end of the U.S. economy, though, let’s try looking at the situation practically.

Jobs are scarce and the applications of older, more experienced workers may float to the top of the pile, even for lousy jobs.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth filling out and turning in those applications. It could just mean filling out more of them than previously.

The only jobs available even to smart, motivated students may still be soul-killing retail or fast-food restaurant jobs.

But those jobs are still another line to put on your resume, and talking about the skills gained in those positions can be useful in future job interviews.

The worst jobs often have inflexible scheduling and low pay. As lowest rung on the ladder, seasonal employees often are stuck with the grunt work.

Withstanding the urge to rip the store manager a new one occasionally means gaining perks not offered to other, less motivated summer workers. Besides, cleaning up vomit, old food or broken bottles is a useful skill for college students.

Unless an internship is on the horizon, most summer jobs have little, if any, bearing on what we’ll be doing after we graduate.

But a paycheck is still a paycheck, and we can’t always afford to be picky. Students who are working their way through school now with full-time jobs as line cooks, waitresses or receptionists can attest to this now.

By the time Kent State lets out at the end of next week, the “cushy” office jobs – with air conditioning and the occasional free lunch – may already be taken.

Outdoor jobs have their perks as well, and at least you’ll be in shape when you do go to the pool or beach.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.