Think summer jobs are just about earning some cash? Think again. While making money may be your primary goal, having a summer job can actually have a bigger influence on your future than you may realize. Check out the long-term benefits of working during the summer.
Learning work ethic. A strong work ethic (values based on hard work and discipline) is vitally important no matter what job you pursue, and having a summer job allows you to develop those values. Work ethic can include being dependable, taking initiative, having a positive attitude, etc. Since work ethic is based on routine/habits, it is crucial that you are persistent in forming good habits from the get-go once you obtain a summer job. Make a habit of showing up on time, focusing on your daily tasks (don't procrastinate!), being optimistic, going above and beyond what is required of you, etc. Employers place great emphasis on having a reliable work ethic, so gaining that ethic now will benefit you significantly in your future career.
Building references. Obtaining summer employment is a great opportunity for you to build references for future jobs. Relatives and friends generally do not make valuable references, so it's crucial to start building a professional reference list early. For each summer job that you have, be sure to network and develop positive relationships with employers, supervisors, coworkers, etc. Before leaving your summer job, ask your managers or coworkers if they will serve as references. If they agree, get their contact information and keep in touch with them from time to time via phone/email.
Appreciating other jobs more. So granted, the summer position you currently have may not be your dream job. If you are working in a restaurant, you may hate busing tables and cleaning up after people. You may go home every night with a headache after your babysitting job. If you are a camp counselor, the great outdoors may not seem so great if you are covered with bug bites and poison oak. That office assistant job you thought would be interesting has turned out quite boring. Etcetera, etcetera. However, by working these summer jobs, you will have the chance to find out what you like and don't like; and it will give you incentive to continue your education so you have the skills to move on to bigger and better opportunities. Years from now, you will appreciate your chosen career more if you have worked in multiple summer positions.
Showing dedication/longevity to a company. You may be on the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to the above point. Instead of disliking your summer position, you may have a summer job that you absolutely love and can see yourself pursuing a career in that field. If this is the case, then the summer position that you have now can help you show dedication to the company. By showcasing your strong work ethic and being an exceptional employee summer after summer, you will prove your commitment to the company. In turn, this may help you achieve a full-time position at the company (after graduation) with opportunity for advancement.
As you can see, there are many long-term benefits to having a summer job; the extra cash to buy all those back-to-school clothes is just a bonus. Have a fun and productive summer!