One of my top goals I want to achieve before this year is up is to land a part-time job. I recently turned eighteen and I've never had a real job before, although for the past three summers I worked under the table for my neighbor cleaning, landscaping, painting and fixing up all the apartments that he rents out to university students during the school year.
Earlier today I told my mom I was going around the block (to a busy commercial street in my neighborhood) to see if any of the stores there were hiring. I figured that, especially in this economy with teen unemployment even higher than the national average, a part-time job is a part-time job and it really doesn't matter whether I work in retail or food service or at the grocery store, as long as I got a job. To my surprise, my mother found this attitude extremely aggravating and started yelling and lecturing me about how I can't just have any old job. It basically went something like this:
"You can't just go and get a dead end job at the Dollar Store that will take you nowhere!! You need to have a job that prepares you for your career!!!! When I was your age I worked at the family drug store and in my father's law office, and your uncle worked in construction and in the law office, and your aunt worked three different jobs and they all taught her skills she needed for her career later!!!"
Right now I'm going to community college right now for Business Administration and if everything goes my way I'll be a junior in Cornell's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management next fall. I have absolutely no idea what sort of part-time job I could get that could prepare me for the business world. My mom says that is because I haven't looked, and then she brings up a friend of mine who is a year younger, an aspiring lawyer, and has already worked for a judge and interned at a legal firm and then she wonders why I can't have my life handled like he does.
So what do you men think? Do you agree with my mother and, if so, do you think I should be trying to find part-time work at a bank or something? Do you have any suggestions as to how I ought to go about this job search? Any and all insights would be much appreciated.
In terms of applying to college, they're going to be more interested in your grades, SAT scores, recommendations and your personal statement than they will be in your work history. Because honestly, if you're doing anything worth writing home about at the age of 18, you probably don't need to be in school to begin with.
My first job out of high school was as a sales rep for Vector (the people who make Cutco knives). It was nice being able to set your own hours, but if you wanted to make money at it, you had to put a lot of time into getting leads and grin and bear it when you drove 45 minutes out to someone's house, gave them an hour-long pitch and sold absolutely nothing. Honestly, I'd only recommend it if your parents have a lot of well-to-do friends who can buy $500 knife sets and refer you to other people who can too.
I'd also suggest you look into waitstaff jobs at upscale restaurants. Then get your alcohol certification and see if you can get a few shifts bartending there. The tips are very good.
I'd also strongly suggest you find some kind of volunteer work that you enjoy doing if you don't already, and do it consistently for the next two years. I have several friends who attended Ivies, and they heavily emphasize community service in screening applicants.
I'm currently a Senior at Cornell (College of Arts & Sciences, dual Econ-English major) and so I'm going to focus on how you seem to want to prepare yourself for the AEM Major. To be honest, I wouldn't worry about any part-time jobs you have before attending; the program apparently prepares you phenomenally well for the business world.
When you're in a job interview for future jobs, you control the spin you put on any prior jobs. If you were digging ditches by the side of the road, you can still make it sound like a more helpful experience than if you had an incredible internship at an investment bank.
If you do get accepted into AEM and have questions about the school, feel free to message me with any questions. I may or may not be able to help. Good luck with all of it.