[NOT] Just a…
I know when I was at school my English teacher would ask us in September to write an essay on what we had done during the six weeks of our summer holidays. You might have had to do the same.
I also remember when I was working at Durham University asking a similar question to a large group of archaeology students. There were a number of varied responses as well as a few lowered heads (the latter from those who hadn’t really done very much I suspect, except enjoy beach holidays and nice lunches…). But one guy in particular stood out. He said very modestly (but with a justifiable smile of pride on his face) that he had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. I was a bit blown away by that (I’m glad he wasn’t at the summit…).
Summer job = skills
I’ve thought about that response quite a lot in the intervening years; not about climbing that or any other mountain I hasten to add – trust me I’m too old for such levels of endeavour ! But I do remember him (with lots of prompts from me) sharing the skills he used, developed, acquired/learnt from his adventure. He really did summarise those so well.
What he stated was more than I could have expected: planning, achieving through adversity, determination to succeed, endurance, stamina, managing dangerous situations under pressure in a calm manner, being organised, team work, supporting and encouraging others…They are the ones that come to mind.
Okay this might be interesting (I hope so) but what’s it got to do with the [NOT] Just a…title of my blog? Well in any seasonal work you do e.g. bar, restaurant, retail, chalet, care, manual work and more, it’s not just a question of undertaking those roles. Go on admit it to yourself and others (especially employers on an application form, a CV, in an interview) you are using/developing/gaining skills that are useful to you in work and to your personal development.
I would suggest that you aren’t that different in terms of skill set to the ‘climbing Kilimanjaro guy’. The proficiencies he mentioned are those that you are using or have used in ‘just that bar job, just that care work, just that factory job, just that shop employment’ etc.
Appreciate your seasonal job attributes
But what you have to do (sounds like I’m preaching to you now…) is not to take for granted those experiences, those responsibilities, those skills. The planning, achieving through adversity, determination to succeed, endurance, stamina, managing situations under pressure in a calm manner, being organised, team work, supporting and encouraging others, plus the qualities and attributes you exhibit, are critical. Not only are they beneficial in terms of your growth, progress and self esteem, but to all the customers and colleagues that you have and do work with; all those people you support and help.
So keep a record of your skills; write them down but, crucially, reflect on your successes and what you need to do further. What to do further? That’s a ‘skills gap analysis’ (nothing to worry about I promise) but something for me to comment on in a future blog.
Watch this space…
Develop your skills by applying for one of our seasonal jobs here – you never know which summit you may reach!
After graduating with a History and English degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance, Tom has worked as a Careers Adviser in public sector and university work environments; working with a range of young people and adults with varying career needs and expectations. He has also continued to support and develop colleagues as a manager and as an experienced trainer for his professional body AGCAS.