Dan Hermann, MBA’10, Co-founder of Paint Nite
My dad got me a summer job in a factory, unloading large PVC pipes off 18-wheelers. It was hard, physical work, which to a 16-year-old kid was fun. I worked with mostly blue-collar guys who were there year-round to provide for their families, and they didn’t particularly like the fact that I was a kid whose daddy had got him a summer job. So I worked really hard to earn their respect. In the end, I made a bunch of friends who were incredibly different from anyone else I had known. I learned a lot that summer—about the value of an education, and about the good people who depend on so many different jobs within a healthy economy.
Jeff Pzena, MBA’00, Founder of Cotton Tree Lodge, Belize
When I was 17, I worked in Livingston, N.J., for West Essex Water Conditioning, a business that supplies salt for water softeners and sells and services them. I started out working in the shop on Saturdays, helping folks carry the salt to their cars, and then ended up doing home deliveries. I explored places I hadn’t been to before and interacted with adults in a way I never had to in the past. I learned a lot about communication and got a taste for the freedom you can have while working. I set my own delivery route and was fascinated by the authority you command when wearing a uniform. The tips didn’t hurt either. I made pretty good money for a high school kid.
Raven Durden ’17, Honors Program Scholar
My first job was at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where I worked from the summer before my freshman year of high school until graduation. I was an adolescent educator and later a senior educator. I went into at-risk communities to provide resources for physical and mental health. We also worked with younger students and facilitated workshops on anatomy and puberty education, bullying prevention, and leadership development. This never really felt like a job; it felt like a second family because they were so invested in my development. They taught me to push through failure because sometimes it happens, but what really matters is if you get back up. They helped refine my leadership and public speaking skills. They also taught me that it is possible to have a job doing something you love.
Katherine Craven, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer, Babson
At 15, I was a research intern at the Harvard School of Public Health for Henry Wechsler, who was conducting studies in New England about college alcohol consumption norms. I kept that job through the school year and in the summer for the next three years. I learned to be detail oriented and attentive to the data. Although my job was merely to open and catalog the hundreds of paper survey responses from college students, I couldn’t help but get engrossed in the data—particularly when the respondents would elaborate on their lifestyle choices. By looking at raw survey data, some larger correlations could be made about campus life, which also gave me an idea about which colleges may not be a good fit for me!—Sharman Andersen