High School

Seven Reasons High School and College Students Need a Summer Job

As I continue to take steps on my increasingly depressing journey to 26 years of age, I’m consistently reminded of the importance of all the part-time jobs I worked in past. Particularly, I’m talking about the ones I worked during the summer months as a high school teenager and early-20s collegiate moron.

While summer is the absolute best time for lounging by the pool, enjoying public parks, hitting local bars, and playing a round of golf, it’s also the most opportune time for kids to work as lifeguards, city handymen, bartenders, and golf course refreshment cart drivers.

I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great, and often crazy, experience.

I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great, and often crazy, experience.

Below, find seven reasons why every kid should work a summer job.

Learn the value of a hard-earned dollar. I learned why my parents weren’t willing to give me globs of cash. Hint: It wasn’t because they didn’t want to. It’s because they worked hard each and every day, and wanted me to learn what it feels like to have to work for what you get. While I will always hope to win the lottery, I will never have any misconceptions about how hard most people work to make a decent living.

Balance social life and real life. Though we’re obsessed with TV characters that are prone to excess, balance is a good thing to have in real life. Working a job in the summer when the weather is absolutely perfect and you want to be somewhere else teaches you that you can’t always be in that perfect somewhere else. Sometimes you’ve got to earn it. Besides, working a crappy summer job makes your time with friends that much more valuable. And guess what? After college, that fun time with all your friends is fewer and further in between. Get used to it.

You need to learn how to network at a young age. That’s not to say that your fellow pool lifeguard will help you land your dream job at 16, but you never know will people will end up. Make sure to get phone numbers and email addresses.

Summer love. It’s a thing, people. Working a shitty summer job is a great way to bond with a love interest. You can talk about how crappy your pay is, how much your boss sucks, and lambast the way-too-old-to-be-working-at-a-beach dude that gets under your skin. A summer romance is also a great way to learn one of the toughest things in life, too. Sometimes, great things have to end. That includes love.

A little summer love in the film Adventureland.

A little summer love in the film Adventureland.

Dealing with assholes. I have worked a job where I took 70+ calls a day at an auto warranty financing company, as a lifeguard who dealt with dickhead parents, and as a city worker with grumpy old coworkers. Learning how to deal with assholes is valuable. You will have to do it the rest of your life. It’s good to learn that simple fact at a fairly early age. It’s important to learn how to keep your cool in professional situations. And don’t forget, you’re only ever a few hours away from beers on the beach with friends.

Perspective and respect. Let’s be honest, a crappy summer job will most likely not be something you want to do with the rest of your life. However, what may seem like a meaningless, fleeting gig to you might be someone’s livelihood. It’s important not to look down on someone for making a living. Remember, you’re only as good as you treat people. Respect people who get up and go to work everyday, even if you hate their job.

Some people make a living do this kind of thing. There's nothing wrong with it.

Some people make a living do this kind of thing. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Learn what you want to do. Sometimes, learning what you do not want to do is the best way to get you focused on what you want out of this short life. Once you experience what it’s like to work a 10-hour day at a shitty job, you’ll understand why some people risk it all to make careers out of their passions.

**

I’ve worked at summer jobs I’ve hated where I’ve met people I loved. I’ve fallen in love at a summer job. I fell out of love at a summer job. I learned how to work copy machines, conference lines, CPR, swimming, filling potholes, and so much more at summer jobs.

My summer jobs taught me humility, patience, and that what I really want to do is write for a living.

So print out your resume, put your sunblock on, and go pitch yourself and services to whoever is in charge of your local pool!

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I’m Done Giving A Shit

My whole life I’ve asked the same incessant question, “What will everybody else think?” Or some variation, “Will they like me? Are they going to make fun of me? Will I have no friends?” These questions have crippled me. I’ve made choices based not on what I want or feel, but what I think others expect or want of me. Today, it ends. I’m done caring what others think of me, if they like the choices I make or will think I’m a weirdo, cause we’re all fucking weirdos. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about being an inconsiderate asshole to everyone around me that would not be productive either. I’m talking about looking inside of me for what I feel or what I want to do. We all have to share this planet with the people around us, but there is a difference between being considerate and letting others dictate your life. i-dont-give-a-shit

The biggest problem with caring so much about what others think of you is that you fail to create an identity. Everything is about how others will expect you to think or act. It’s impossible to figure out who you are as a person when you let others dictate your decisions. This is why I struggle to express my emotions or communicate my feelings with others because I’m not really sure what they are. I know what I’m supposed to feel or the answer that will make the people I’m talking to happy and comfortable, but I don’t know if that is really how I feel. I became such a good bull shitter in order to get people to like me that I don’t even know what’s the truth anymore. What it is I really like or feel.

High school was the peak of this destructive behavior. I would’ve done anything, or as was more often the case, not done anything in order to get people to like me. Despite my love for writing and performing I did nothing with the theater department in my high school because of the way other kids made fun of them. I was too scared to be one of those kids, so instead I did nothing. I was too afraid to express my interest in girls I really liked because other people did not find them attractive. I just shelled up and did whatever I thought would make me look cool. Drink beers, smoke cigarettes, I remember a low point was when I went garage shopping in my neighborhood and stole beers out of garage fridges from kids I went to elementary school with. But I thought it would make people like me, so I was far too scared to say no.

This guy and I both have some work ahead of us.

This guy and I both have some work ahead of us.

In the years since high school this behavior has certainly improved, but it is like a morbidly obese person bragging about losing enough weight to become simply obese. We both have a long way to go to fully improve ourselves. But as the days pass and the years add up I realize that I need to start living the life that I want. I need to do an introspective and figure out what it is that will make me happy. Who are the people I want to surround myself with? There is the life that is expected of me, but that doesn’t mean that it is the right one. A person cannot be truly productive if he or she is not happy with the life they’re living. Doubt creates resentment and resentment builds to anger, depression with each passing year. A life fulfilled requires happiness as it allows commitment and life cannot be truly lived till we commit to it.

Starting today, I end all the bull shit. I’m not going to tell you the answer you want to hear, I’ll tell you the truth. When you ask me how my day was, I’m not just going to say “good, how about yours?” I’ll tell you how it was. For awhile the answer may be , “I don’t know,” cause right now I don’t. I’m not sure what it is I want or how it is I feel. In many ways I’m still a newborn, a blank canvas, waiting to be painted. All I need to do is pick up the brush.

Social Climbers Suck and Why Seeking Popularity is a Waste of Time

I think we, or perhaps I, too often use the word “hate.” Hate is a very real, intense, and scary proposition. Hate makes people to do awful things and refuse to see the best in other humans. Hate is why the racist dinosaur Donald Sterling got kicked out of the NBA. Thus, while it would be very easy for me to say that I “hate” social climbers, I’d rather say I strongly (granted, very strongly) dislike social climbers.

Let me first define the term social climber. Merriam-Webster says a social climber is “one who attempts to gain a higher social position or acceptance in a fashionable society.” But I like Urban Dictionary’s definition way better:

(n.) Similar to an “attention whore”, but a social climber is anyone that becomes friends with someone else if they have something that they want, which we all know involves people. They become ‘friends’ with people who “know people”. In turn, they become (or attempt to become) ‘friends’ with that first person’s more “popular” friends, leaving the first person behind. Repeats this cycle to “get to the top”, in their own mind, until they realize they are shallow and unable to like people for who they really are. Inevitably, they will be forced to “mature” beyond this. This usually pertains to girls more so than guys.

For the record, I don’t agree with the last line. Guys are as guilty as ladies. Overall, however, this definition is correct in my opinion. Social climbers are assholes. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Social climbers are wretched, self-interested scumbags. I realize more and more that I don’t have time to waste on people who see me as a stepping-stone to their next friendship. You might say, “People don’t actually do that, do they?” Yes. Some people are really shitty.

Once a week, I talk to people who are clearly concerned about getting in with the “it crowd” or being accepted by people that couldn’t give less of a shit about them – just so they can feel popular. I thought us 20-something millennials graduated junior high a long time ago. I guess not.

I want to make something very clear to all of our younger readers (if we have any): Life is not like a high school cafeteria in Hollywood movie. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT, waste time and energy trying to sit at the adult version of the cool kid table. Find a sweet fucking table with interesting people who are comfortable in their own skin. Don’t be surprised when they are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

Don’t spend your energy gaining the admiration of someone who won’t look you in the eye when you talk to them. Don’t hang out with a person at a bar if they’re constantly texting, trying to get more people to show up because it’s “lame” with just the two of you. Don’t get used to someone judging you because you’re different than him or her. Don’t accept any of that crap.

Social climbers throw friends away faster than John Mayer tosses aside beautiful women. I’m sure you’ve noticed this, too. Remember one of your first friends in college that disappeared after a few weeks because they found “cooler” people to hang out with? Sure, they never said it that way. And yes, people drift apart. But social climbers see you as a means to an end. The problem is, there is no end in sight for these dickbags.

They always want more. They see relationships as secondary to social status. They are more concerned with the acceptance into the country club than what the membership entails. To social climbers, popularity is acceptance into elite clubs. Acceptance into elite clubs is a pedestal they can hop on and look down on you from.

baggage11.9_social_climbing

Fuck them. I like it better down here anyway.

Some of the coolest guys and girls I know today are people who considered themselves “unpopular” in high school, whatever that means. These high school “losers” are articulate, self-aware, great listeners, welcoming, and well-rounded. They spent time getting to know themselves rather than molding an outward appearance that would appease “popular” dickbags.

I would be lying if I said that I was never concerned with being “popular.” I was young, dumb, and concerned with superficial shit once, too. Sometimes I relapse. But I’m getting better at catching myself. Instead of hosting nonsensical internal debates about what I should say or do around new people, I try my best to be the truest version myself. Fuck it. If the version of me that I feel most comfortable with, then I shouldn’t be hanging out with them in the first place.

A quick side note: It’s great to be who you are, but I hope you’re not mean. If you’re a naturally nasty, vicious person who feels pleasure out of making people feel bad, you’re worse than a social climber.

At 25, I realize how lucky I am to have the best friends and family that I do. It gives me the freedom to be who I am and continue to learn more about myself. After all, discovering more about yourself leads to the most important kind of acceptance: self-acceptance.

Besides, I never liked country clubs anyway.

Letter to Kristen Bell (Asking For a Friend)

Hey Kristen,

I just watched Frozen last Friday. It was fucking awesome. The movie was one of the most fun films I’ve seen in a long time – animated or not. You’re a pretty good singer. It’s hard to go toe-to-toe with the wickedly talented Idina Menzel – or should I say Adele Dazim – but you did a fine job. Everyone’s talking about the Oscar-winning “Let It Go,” but I thought your efforts in “For the First Time In Forever” made that song just as catchy and gold statue-worthy.

Kristen Bell

You might (understandably) wonder why I’m writing you. Well, I know that your heart isn’t as frozen as a girl I used to write. I refuse to call her by her name anymore, so let’s refer to her as She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Anyway, as I was saying, I know you’re a warm, bubbly people-person. You’re the girl next door we all wish we could have dated throughout high school.

Since we’re talking about high school, I want to mention that one of my best buddies Tommy D, who also happens to be a co-founder of The Millennial Man, has loved you since back then. These days he writes about a bunch of different women that he “loves”, but I know his first true love: It’s you, Ms. Bell. Tommy is a romantic, despite his suave, player-ish exterior. When you decided to shack up with (Dax) Shepard, part of Tommy’s heart broke. He hasn’t been the same since. I refuse to let you hurt him the way She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has broken me.

I saw that Omaze, an awesome humanitarian organization that provides regular people with an opportunity to meet awesome celebrities like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to raise awareness about pressing global issues, is offering an opportunity to be your date to the premiere of Veronica Mars. I’m entering the contest and I’m determined to win for my buddy. I might not know a damn thing about Veronica Mars, but I know he loves it. And I know it made him fall for you.

Last week, Tommy listed the reasons why he is single. It was a very amusing and honest self-reflection. However, he left out one of the biggest reasons why he continues to ride solo, Jason Derulo style: You hurt him. Sometimes, things hurt us so much that we refuse to talk about them. Some wounds are so painful that we bury them so deep in our subconscious that not even an Indiana Jones-led archaeological dig can uncover them. I believe you inflicted one of those pains upon my old pal.

Not even Indy can uncover some emotional baggage.

Not even Indy can uncover some emotional baggage.

Luckily, it’s not too late to fix it, Kristen. The first step in this swift and glorious healing process is to select my application as your winner for the Omaze contest. You can wine and dine Tommy – he’s a cheap, entertaining date – and you’ll find that he can carry a conversation, too. Ease him back into the idea of caring for you again. It shouldn’t take too long.

You might ask, again, why I’m sending this letter. Not all of us are meant to be with the celebrities we want to be with, but I feel that Thomas Augustus Demetrio has a chance because you seem to be the sweetest and cutest actress out there. I might be destined for a life of normal person relationships, but it’s not too late for Tommy. So, I just wanted to ask for a friend. Take Adele Dazim’s advice, and let it go, Kristen. Give it a shot.

Sincerely,

Billy Kirland

Post College 20s

High school: the incessant acne, not having a clue how to talk to girls, chronic masturbation as a result of not knowing how to talk to girls, and of course the pressure of choosing which colleges to apply to. All but one of these was a major problem I struggled with in high school. Unfortunately it wasn’t the not having an idea how to talk to girls one.

Choosing colleges never stressed me out, partly because my mom did enough stressing for me and every kid whoever went to high school, but also because I truly enjoyed researching all the different colleges. It was fun toget onto Princeton Review and jump from college to college, check out all the different rankings, strengths and weaknesses of each school. I’d let my imagination run wild and picture my life on all the different campuses. What would I do? Who Would I be?

This could have been the love of my life had I attended Chapman

This could have been the love of my life had I attended Chapman

Perhaps I’d go to Chapman, become an espresso drinking Philosophy major. Perform beat poetry at local cafes where I would meet a girl named Charlotte. We would complain about all that ails this corrupt world while slowly falling in love. After graduation we’d enter the Peace Corp together, until the reality of going into war zone Africa set in and we broke up, leading to me returning home and working for a bank.

Or maybe Georgetown, where I would major in Political Science, work my way up to editor of the campus newspaper, and befriend all the children of politicians and use nepotism to get an internship with a Congressman over the summer. Eventually I’d fulfill my destiny of becoming a back room dealing leading member of the GOP.

I imagined going to Arizona State, joining a fraternity, partying, and giving into total debauchery. Before eventually dropping out of school to start my own independent porn production company and building myself into a modern day Larry Flynt. I really missed my true calling with this one.

My future lay before me and it felt great to have so many options. The other day I realized that my post-college 20s makes me feel the same way I did back when I was researching colleges. The only differences are instead of the next four years, it is the rest of my life and this time time I have the freedom and power to make all the decisions.

It's all about Yoshi! Look at that perfect form as he prepares to take the Rainbow Road shortcut.

It’s all about Yoshi! Look at that perfect form as he prepares to take the Rainbow Road shortcut.

As great as college was, it is an amazing time forged by wonderful friendships; I don’t want it to be the “greatest four years of my life.” I hope those four years always remain ahead of me. And looking back the importance of where you go to college and how well you do there is greatly exaggerated.

It is by no means without its benefits, but life is a constant education and since being out of college I realized what a bubble it was at times. I’ve learned more in the two and half years since I graduated than I did in college. In addition, now I feel like I’m actually moving forward and trying to accomplish things that matter to me. Although figuring out all the shortcuts in Mario Kart and making the last cup in beer pong were both near and dear to my heart.

The future is scary, but I take comfort in knowing that I have this time in my post college 20s to figure it out. And just like choosing and getting into the right college, there are many ways of going about it. Nothing was more annoying than kids who got into college early decision.

They would always emphasize how they’re only applying to “one” college as if they went up Mount Sinai with Moses and handed the perfect college. I wasn’t sure of anything I wanted in high school. If I didn’t have a school uniform and my meals weren’t cooked for me I would probably still be wandering around naked, debating whether to go to Portillo’s or Chipotle for dinner.

These confident ciphers used to fill me with jealous rage to the point that I fantasized about punching them in the face.* Now, I admire them for knowing exactly what they want and having the drive to achieve it. I’ve realized how rare of a gift this is in my post-college 20s. There are not too many people who start the career they want and find the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with, right out of college. Most of us spent this time searching, for what we want to do, who we want in our lives, and most importantly, who we are.

*Had I actually done so, it would’ve hurt me far worse than them.

Post-college 20s allows us to be bolder because if we change our mind it is a lot easier to transfer. There is a big difference between looking at a college from the outside compared to it being your daily existence. Sometimes regret sets in as our dream college turns into a nightmare that we look to escape. The issue with transferring colleges is starting over and mingling with people who already know each other. Ideally it needs to happen right after freshman year, sophomore at the latest, since college is limited in time.

Post-college life is much more open-ended, which allows us to take risks and have time to make changes if we fail epically. We can take a job and if the thought of spending the rest of our working life there makes us prefer to drink arsenic, then we can quit and find another job. Real life costs add up and it is easy to take a safe job that helps us pay the rent and deal with the massive mountain of college debt that piles up.

However, unless you were unable to avoid the epidemic known as teen pregnancy, costs are just going to keep piling up and it is a lot harder to take chances when we have mouths to feed.* As difficult as things may be right now, it is not harder than the pain of living with regret the rest of your life.

*Just ask Shawn Kemp.
Oh Juan Pablo! ABC's blatant attempt to pander to the Latin American community.

Oh Juan Pablo! ABC’s blatant attempt to pander to the Latin American community.

Date, get out there and date as much as possible. There is no other way of figuring out what kind of person you’re interested in than going on dates with as many different people as possible. Juan Pablo shouldn’t be the only one with dating options these days. This goes for you too, ladies. There is no word I hate more than slut. It is a vile word that puts women down for enjoying what of the great pleasures in life. Don’t let anyone slut shame you out of dating, ladies.

When we’re deciding what college to attend, we do extensive research and go on multiple college visits. If we’re willing to do that for college, four years, then the rest of our, hopefully long, lives deserve ten times the effort. I’m not trying to promote promiscuity and suggest we should all be participating in orgies. But think of dates as college visits, explore, ask some questions, and imagine what it would bring to your life. And remember, transferring is always a option, so don’t be afraid to dump his lazy ass or run away from her crazy.

The future is wide open and we now hold the keys. I could fulfill my dream of writing on a television series, a path I’m happily pursuing now. But things may change, I may decide that what I do isn’t as important as who I do it with and decide to make a grand romantic gesture, Noah Bennett style, to a woman I’ve loved in my past or will love in my future. We could move away to a small town and I’ll sell insurance. We’ll raise eight kids and take pleasure in a happy life together.

Or maybe I’ll decide that, similar to my choice of college, my future was decided at birth and I’ll move back to Chicago, go to law school, and join the family law firm.  We can drive down any path we choose as long as we are willing to fail and accept the consequences. Failure should not be feared, but rather embraced. It is the best way to learn and this is what post-college 20s life is all about.

This Post Written By Tom Demetrio, Co-Founder of Millennial Man

High School Reunion

High school reunion is a weekly podcast where we call our old high school classmates to see what they’re up to these days, as well as reminisce on the glory days.

Our first guest, Tom Flannery, is one of Chicago’s top four most eligible bachelors. We were excited to have him on and he shared some classic memories, from Kyle Cooper stealing a boat to him stealing Danny Murphy’s prom date, sorry Murph. Click play below to listen to the podcast and find out who his favorite high school girlfriend was, his biggest regret, and the best party he ever attended. Plus so much more, enjoy.