By: Neena Zona, Account Executive for Sweat Heat Gourmet
Minimum wage jobs are almost never fun, but until we get our degrees we are stuck working them. I work at the Lion Line, a call center that raises money for student academics at Penn State. This is definitely not my dream job by any means; it is a lot of listening to dial tones. Unfortunately, my eighty-dollar a month parking space needed to be paid somehow. Through minimum wage jobs though, valuable skills can be learned that we can carry with us into our careers.
Real World Skills
After working at the Lion Line for over a year, I realized that while I dreaded going into work most days, I was learning a great public relations skill that I was not really learning inside the classroom. I was making complete cold calls knowing the only thing I had in common with these strangers was Penn State. I had to learn how to ask questions that would generate a response my employer wanted.
I realized that I was learning how to really communicate. I was learning skills that I could use in every interview and job fair that I would soon be visiting. It really helped me when I had a phone interview for an internship last year, and the one thing that my interviewer said to me afterward was that I really knew how to come across friendly and happy over the phone. My manager would be so proud because before every shift she tells us, “smile and dial!” She stresses that a smile can completely change how you sound over the phone and according to my interviewer, she was right.
Value of a Dollar
Minimum wage jobs also teach us the value of a dollar. As a fourteen year old I was not very worried about how I was spending my parent’s money. I quickly learned that it took hard work to earn my $7.25 an hour, and for every 30-dollar shirt I bought I needed to work for over four hours.
This is just one example, but every minimum wage job leaves us with something that can help us in the future. I believe that every person needs to experience some sort of minimum wage job in his or her life. The lessons and experiences I learned from them are incomparable to anything I could learn in the classroom.