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Summer of My Career Development

Earlier this summer, Shasha Dai offered some advice for recent MBA grads who didn't score an internship or job right after claiming their sheepskin. This weekend in Parade magazine, several teenagers share stories about their summer jobs. (The article won't actually be available online until early next month.)

The quick bits intrigued me, however. What was your best summer job when you were younger? What did you learn? If you have children or know teenagers who recently experienced a good summer job, feel free to email their lessons and insights — or just add a comment below. We'll feature the best and brightest online.

For me, I really only mowed lawns and shoveled snow before I went to college. The one lesson that really sticks with me is twofold: People will try to take advantage of you if you let them, and it's OK to say no and turn down work if you can't take it on.

Two experiences in particular bolster the first lesson. One woman I mowed for kept expanding the parts of her yard I was supposed to mow — without increasing my pay equally. And one man I shoveled for refused to let me wait for a heavy, wet snow to stop before I started shoveling his driveway. It continued to snow as I shoveled the heavy, wet, near-slush, and I basically shoveled his driveway three times that afternoon in order to keep up with the snowfall.

What have you and your children learned?

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  • Lisa Haneberg

    I employed a high school student this Summer and would say that he most benefited from learning how to interact with adults with confidence. This was a very bright young fellow who was quiet and meek at the start. By the end of two months he communicated in a way that was open, relaxed, and mature.

    This is a HUGE skill for young folks to learn early on, I think.

  • Johanna Rothman

    I worked in a clothing factory during vacations and summers. That meant working with wools and heavy fabrics in hot humid weather. I also worked in the order department chronologicalling orders and alphabetzing files. I learned that I wanted to work with my brain in an air-conditioned office. Great incentive for college :-)