What’s the most memorable summertime job you had during your high school and college years, and why?
Responses edited for clarity and brevity
President and CEO
“The summer job I remember most was as a box car loader at a paper mill in Wisconsin, between my junior and senior years of college. Here is why: I was exposed to a summer of huge contrasts that taught similar lessons. At the mill, I worked with good and talented men, many of whom were trapped in their jobs by their circumstances. Nevertheless, they performed their duties each day with great skill, grace and humility. They taught me the honor and beauty of a job done well.
“At the end of each day, I headed to the home of Darwin and Lois Smith, with whom my parents had arranged for me to live that summer. Darwin is profiled in Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” as one of America’s rare Level 5 leaders. Darwin was just like the men at the paper mill except he wasn’t trapped; he was free! Nevertheless, he performed his work and led his company with great skill, grace and, most of all, humility.
“That summer I learned that good men are simply good men, regardless of their station in life; that any job well done is a beautiful thing; that humility is a sign of strength; and that if you are blessed with the opportunity to follow your dreams, you do it with all of your energy.”
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U.S. Masters Swimming
“My freshman year in college at Georgia Southern, I walked into my swim coach Scott Farmer’s office. Scott was also our AD for operations. I told him I wanted to work in sports. He smiled and said, ‘I have just the job for you.’ I was elated, thinking he wanted me to be the PA announcer or some other glamorous position. We drove to our 17,000-seat stadium, and he says, ‘You see our stadium? This weekend, it will be full. Fans will be cheering, they’ll have a great time, and hopefully we’ll win. When the game is over, you will be cleaning the stadium.’ For the next two years, I worked every home game on our stadium clean-up crew. It’s amazing what fans can smuggle into a stadium!
“By my junior and senior years, I’d earned their trust, and they let me up into the press box to help with other game operations. As I was graduating and trying to figure out how I could get any kind of job in sports, our AD offered me a paid internship in our sports marketing department and a scholarship to graduate school. My primary job was selling magazine advertising in our game programs. We set a record for advertising sales that year. Twenty years later, still working in sports, I cherish the struggle, the mentors who believe in me, and perseverance.”
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VP, national sales and partnerships
“The most memorable summertime job I had was working in the University of Wyoming athletic department during the summer, and I worked a ton of concerts such as the Beach Boys and Garth Brooks. I was hands-on and worked every detail on both of these events and will always have fond memories of the experience I gained from working these two events.”