Creative summer & side jobs
May 22, 2005 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Summer is coming. I'm a student. I'd like to earn me some dosh in as pleasant a way as possible. Additionally, since I'm already sitting behind a darn desk for the whole friggin' year, I think it's time for a change. No coding. No system administration. No data entry. No QA. I think you catch my drift.

One possible option I've been considering is that of becoming a lifeguard. Training only takes a month. Sun. Water. Money. It can hardly get any better in my humble opinion. Do you have any additional suggestions? By the way, don't limit yourself to summer jobs.
posted by koenie to Work & Money (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sun. Water. Money.
Forget to mention the scantily clad babes. They were implied, of course.
posted by koenie at 7:53 PM on May 22, 2005

My husband had great luck as an ice cream man one summer.

I remember our neighborhood ice cream man with great affection. He was a sweet-faced old man with a little pushcart, and to help us get the tough caps of our ices open, he'd wet them by pouring from what he called a "whiskey bottle" -- actually just plain old H2O, but we kids loved sipping it and pretending to stagger around. Years later, when I read ee cummings, he became synonymous in my mind with the little lame balloonman, whistling far and wee.

My point? There's not many jobs where you can be such an easy hero, and if you develop a good shtick, you might even rise to the status of legend. And now that ice cream men have air-conditioned trucks to drive, you don't even have to sweat to do it.
posted by melissa may at 8:12 PM on May 22, 2005

The best quick summer cash I've found was working as a bartender at a restaurant located in a marina near the beach. If you're not near a beach, you might consider a resort hotel or the like.

Also, since it sounds like you are near a beach, perhaps you could check into a beach service rental place. You would still have all the benefits of working the beach, but would be renting beach chairs, wave runners, etc without having to go through the certification process of becoming a lifeguard.
posted by PrincessLara at 8:21 PM on May 22, 2005

House painter. Sun. Water-based. Money.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:37 PM on May 22, 2005

Childcare. Get known as an awesome, fun, reliable babysitter and you can spend your summer carting kids to the beach, museums, amusement parks, etc. for $12-15/hr. OR lounging on their couch while they sleep at night and the parents go out on the town.
posted by bonheur at 8:44 PM on May 22, 2005

I was a lifeguard for many years. Try to get a gig at a pool that's deepest point is shorter than your height. You will spend the summer reading, listening to music, chatting up cuties, and yelling "DON'T RUN!!!" Of course, at the end of the summer you will have a spectacular tan only on the front half of your body, but it's worth it.
posted by jennyb at 9:06 PM on May 22, 2005

I got work as a baggage handler at YVR for the summer. After a month or so of just baggage work you get trained to work around the planes, so you get to be the guy that waves the planes in with the glow wands.

They are always hiring.
posted by Iax at 9:08 PM on May 22, 2005

Become a seasonal firefighter (including maybe a smokejumper) in Alaska/Western US. Big change from sitting behind a desk.
posted by mlis at 9:33 PM on May 22, 2005

Best summer Job I had: Waiter.

Find a place that's a little upscale (think ~20 an entry) yet still has a young staff, and preferably older clientele. I made 250 bucks a weekend night one summer and then would just go out and drink with the other 20 something waiters after work. great job.

And if you can get a job at a place where the customers are well off and old you'll be making 25-30% tips. Just be sure to tell them how you're working several jobs to pay for college during the year.
posted by slapshot57 at 9:43 PM on May 22, 2005

Work at a theme park. Cedar Point offers lodging (with 3 roommates), a cafeteria, free entry to the park for you and family (I think). Of course, it's a 60-70 hour work week.

I second the babysitting idea. If you're taking the kids out, be sure you know how to use their car seats, if you watch kids young enough. Or be a dogwalker. Or an errand runner (get groceries for people too busy, etc).
posted by IndigoRain at 10:11 PM on May 22, 2005

In the same vein as MLIS, you could follow in the footsteps of Snyder and Kerouac and be a fire lookout.
posted by anarcation at 10:39 PM on May 22, 2005

How about working a lodge or restaurant in a National Park? Tips, housing, and outdoor fun on your time off. Thought the firefighting suggestion above is awesome--it will get you in great shape and you will have stories to tell the rest of your life.
posted by LarryC at 11:41 PM on May 22, 2005

you can come to China and teach kids, Not much sun; too much smog. But it sure ain't america and the food and beer are wicked cheap.
posted by afu at 12:50 AM on May 23, 2005

Get yourself hooked up with a direct marketing company. I did that and spent a couple summers at various concerts, festivals, events (oh, and sometimes, busy street corners, but that doesn't sound as fun) handing out samples, getting people to fill out contest ballots, etc. Its more fun than it sounds, and it pays really well.
posted by Kololo at 3:13 AM on May 23, 2005

A college buddy I know worked a summer cleaning gutters. Plenty of sun, good pay and he would pick friendly neighborhoods and canvas houses. Typically when he got one job, he'd end up with several on any street as word spread. He'd offer extras like putting tar around flashing, etc. It was a lot of work and he was a terrific self-starter and had no fear of heights, but boy did he do well. All he needed was a car, a ladder, gloves and a rake and tarp for cleanup.
posted by plinth at 6:35 AM on May 23, 2005

i lifeguarded and it was fun; if you want real fun, try bike messengering.
posted by yonation at 6:42 AM on May 23, 2005

Camp counselor.
It might be a little late for you to find a spot, but if you can and if the camp seems like a good place, do it. I've never felt more valuable or had more fun than during the summers I've spent at Camp. The pay isn't always the best, but if you don't really need the money, it's a more fulfilling job than, say, landscaping. Plus, if you get trained, you can end up lifeguarding while you're there.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:56 AM on May 23, 2005

Bridgemaster. (Or Bridgeguard, what you will)

Depending on where you are located, this may or may not be a possibility, but it's the most relaxing job you'll ever find, even in summer when it's busiest on the water.
posted by Grensgeval at 8:20 AM on May 23, 2005

Construction takes you outside -- depending where you live there is often plenty of casual work to pick up. Physically demanding, so you'll get nice and fit. And it's always nice to be part of making real things. Construction workday ends at 4pm so there's still lots of time to have a "second day"
posted by anadem at 10:01 AM on May 23, 2005

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