As many students do over summer break, I worked this summer, but for me I started in a whole new area. This summer I worked for a company that builds grain bins. As I went through the summer I learned many different things including: how to run hydraulic jacks, how to run power tools and many more things about the job. However, the job specific tasks I learned how to do don’t compare to the life lessons I gained this summer from working my job in construction.
The first lesson I learned was to talk to people you would usually shy away from. I am typically a shy person and attempt to not talk to many people. At work, there were a couple of guys who really seemed as though they were angry at all times. This usually would be no issue, as I could work in other areas. However, due to the long drives we had to job sites and the outgoing attitude of these guys had changed; these two men that seemed angry all the time ended up being my favorite two coworkers. They may have been serious about getting the jobs done, but they were also some of the funniest people I had ever met. At times, they caused me to double over in laughter. As cliché as it is, never judge a book by its cover, is a true statement.
Going along with the first lesson, never decide you dislike someone after the first day meeting them. During my first day of work, the foreman was all over me and yelled at me multiple times. As a new worker, this can be cause for worry and anger. I could have decided I disliked my foreman after that first day. In reality, he was trying to get me used to the environment I was in. For my foreman, yelling was the only way he talked. Although it may have seemed as though he was always angry, it was just how he talked. If I would have stayed angry with him and not gotten to know him, I would have missed out on all of the pranks that he would pull later.
The third lesson I learned this summer is there is always time for fun, even during work. Any job can consume someone’s day and cause a great deal of fun. I saw this happen many times during the summer as coworkers would engage in shouting matches before returning to what they were doing. My coworkers showed me they had to keep the job light by cracking jokes, using terrible accents and pulling pranks on each other. This not only alleviated the stress from work, but it also made work seem to fly by and added a fun aspect to it.
The biggest lesson that I learned this summer is to not take offense to the cuss words being used, but to take offense instead to the tone being used. My work followed the typical idea of the construction crew; there was crude humor and curse words were used in almost every sentence. Although the use of the cuss words is offensive to some, many of the words that were used were just words; they were just another word in a sentence. This could be me having hardened to cursing, but I also believe that no one should be overcome by anger when someone is casually using inappropriate language. The tone is what someone can really get angry over. If someone uses a threatening tone or makes a pointed comment that is when you can get upset, but not if someone is using inappropriate language.
The final thing I learned this summer was that the best compliments will come when you are getting ready to leave the job. When I left work to begin packing and getting ready to come back to school, I received an influx of compliments and comments on how I better be back again next summer. Throughout the summer, we just completed the job and we all were working together, so we did not really compliment each other. However, when I was leaving I could tell they were extremely sincere about their comments. When you are with someone all the time, you can take them for granted. As my coworkers showed, when you are about to lose someone for a time, it can display to you how much they mean to you.
I am extremely happy with where I worked this summer and I honestly had fun most days I worked. This job helped me develop into a better person. I highly recommend for everyone to get a summer job and to truly get to know your coworkers. Who knows, you too could end up with some amazing life lessons.