I've been out of school for a few years. Since I graduated, I've learned all sorts of things I wish I knew while I was in school. I want to give you a set of guidelines for summer jobs, so you get paid what you're worth (and not working to the bone for some unappreciative jerk of a boss.)
1. Do not settle for anything less than $ 15- $ 30 an hour. Paid by the hour.
Frankly, I'm disgusted with the low-wages some college students are willing to work for in the summer. When I met my girlfriend, she was folding clothes for Jasmine Sola for $ 8.50 an hour! And she did not even have an option for commission (despite I strictly caution against taking commission-based summer jobs anyway …)
In fact, while we're on the subject – I know plenty of college students who take some sales position during the summer. Their boss promises that they'll make a ton of money at the job. And the kid goes home, bragging to his friends how he'll be an overnight millionaire because his boss said so. Then, at the end of the summer, the savvy college student takes his total incomes and dividends it by the hours he worked … only to find that he was learning a pitiful $ 13 an hour! (Your reading the voice of experience here.)
And do not even get me started on restaurant jobs – there's a reason why most waitresses smoke a pack of cigarettes a day! Not that they can afford the habit, but ….
Bottom Line: Do not work for commission. Do not work for tips. Do not do sales. Period. Yes, everyone knows some guy or some girl who made a killing one summer. But those people are probably 1% of the people who work those jobs. The vast majority of people end up bitter, stressed and broke before we quit those jobs.
The only exception I would make is if your summer job is directly building your entry to the career path you want to enter. Then, and only then, would I advise working something that pays less than $ 15- $ 30 an hour.
2. Surf craigslist.com. Daily.
Craigslist is your best friend – it is far superior to Monster.com, CareerBuilder and all the others for finding easy, high paying part time jobs. Search it far and wide and you'll be pleasantly surprised with what's out there in your city.
3. Trust your instincts, Luke.
If you go into a job and you get a bad vibe, walk away. WALK AWAY. It seems like common sense, but I've met enough people who do not. So keep this in mind …