Working over the summer in college is tough. You long to bask in the sun as the warmth of summer beckons, but unfortunately you're in college, and you know the only way to pursue the dream of being a Student-Loans-Paid-Off-anaire is to sacrifice your last precious summers of freedom for menial labor. Cynicism aside, we still would love to be anywhere else right now, but it's not all bad. Here are some ways you can make your summer job a little more bearable.
1. Make Traditions
Finding something you enjoy and incorporating it into your workday routine can help ease the stress of actually having to do things while it's nice outside and give you motivation to get through the day. Even if it's something as simple as grabbing coffee with your coworkers or playing your favorite song as you leave, just marking your day with things you enjoy can make work more bearable—kind of like a happy ending.
2. Give People Nicknames
Using nicknames to identify coworkers and customers can be a fun way to build camaraderie and ease tensions around the workplace. It could be something as simple as calling your coworker Dahmer because he absolutely kills with customers or having code names for certain troublesome customers. Making light of the familiar in your work place is a great way to make mundane routine less dreary—just don't let Pudge McYelly hear you when he's ordering extra fries.
3. Make a Game Out of It
If you think about it, work is just a really boring game you play to win money—so why not treat it that way? If your job involves a lot of repetitive tasks, get creative and make something fun out of it like a contest. At my current job, I like to see how fast I can wash dishes by doing speed trials to see how many dishes I can wash per dishwasher load. Other personal favorites include seeing how many times I can sneak the word "meow" into dialogue with customers and seeing how long I can stare at people's foreheads until they notice.
4. Get to Know Your Coworkers
People will be people, and you're not going to get along with everyone. However, if there's anyone that it's important to at least be solid acquaintances with, it's the people you're contractually obligated to be around. Throughout high school, adults and other people too old to remember what it's like to have to do anything (within reason) for money always advised us to "do what we love" for a career.
Unfortunately, until we graduate and receive our Diplomas of Competency and accompanying piles of student debt, most of us will not have the luxury of doing something we're actually interested in for money. Seeing as you and your coworkers are in the same boat of semi-voluntary servitude, why not do your best to make things work for everyone? Getting to know your coworkers better is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your work life. If everyone is getting along and engaged in what they're doing, it can flip the script on your entire dreary job.
5. Make It Rain
If all else fails, take that sweet, sweet moolah and let it fly. If you're like me, you're probably going to have to get it changed to singles to have enough for a decent shower. If you're an unpaid intern, I don't know what to tell you. How's that industry experience tasting? For the rest of us, make it rain with your paycheck and soak it all in. It's probably the only reason you're working anyway.