Expectation vs Reality: Summer Job Edition


You can’t wait to get back to Charlottesville in the fall and start it all again! You just gotta survive Walmart first.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Today is the day you realize you are applying to work… at Walmart. 

*Flashback to two weeks before finals start*

Yeah, you really miss your pets, and maybe miss your two younger sisters and sorta miss your parents. And you don’t want to pay to stay in an apartment in Charlottesville over the summer, because it’s hot as heck and expensive and you’re poor. So you make the decision to live at home for the summer. You call your parents, and they are so excited to see you again! They cannot wait to re-employ you as: 

  • The chauffeur for your sisters to and from school because the bus is a breeding ground for drug dealers, hicks, bad words, poor taste in music and backseat-blowjobs.  
  • The dishwasher after meals because your sisters have AP European History homework and if they want to get into U.Va. like you they’d better get to work, golly gosh darn it.
  • The cleaner-upper of hairballs because as they remind you every. other. day., “She’s your cat, Case, nobody else wanted her.”
  • The vacuum cleaner and laundry folder (but you don’t remember what clothes belong to whom because you haven’t been home for five months, so this particular job actually doesn’t make sense)
  • The mower of lawns, because you have all the time in the world

*Four days since you’ve been home*

You have all the time in the world because you haven’t found a job yet. You have been here for a grand total of 96 hours and your parents are already on you about getting a summer job.

“Yes Mom, I already applied to the job I had last summer, they just haven’t gotten back to me yet.”

“Yes Dad, I know it’s been two weeks since I submitted my application, I’m sure they’re just busy with … things.”

“No Mom, I didn’t leave that job crying hysterically like I did the other one. Everything is totally chill.”

Only it’s not, because even though you are a second year rising third-year at THE University of Virginia, you have no real employable skills. You can start a GroupMe. You can fit two slices of Newcomb pizza into a to-go cup instead of one. You can write a sub-par paper while also watching “The Great British Baking Show.” You can take 20-minute naps in the window alcoves of New Cabell Hall in between class and club meetings. 

But problem solving? Please. Planning and organization? Not a chance. Teamwork? You’ve obviously never had a group project in your 3000-level Spanish class when no one wants to be there. And don’t even get me started on technology and communication skills. They can’t expect so much from you. You’re not a real adult yet.

Unfortunately your internship never got back to you. It’s a local nonprofit, and it might be something you would actually be interested in doing for the rest of your life. Only now you’re stuck applying for an hourly-wage summer job — Walmart. 

Yeah, their base pay is $11 an hour — that’s kinda nice. You already have some experience in cashiering, because you worked at Martin’s Food Market in high school, and it’s only 15 minutes away, which is convenient.

You just never pictured yourself here. You were sure you’d be an intern at Goldman Sachs. Or would get coffee for writers of The New York Times, and by some stroke of luck be assigned as a co-writer for a groundbreaking news article. Maybe you’d get on the set of a blockbuster film in Hollywood and get your big break when the casting director saw how elegantly you swept the floor between scenes.

But it’s been four whole days, and you are forced to accept reality. Summer isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. 

I mean, let’s be real, you got sunburn yesterday. 

Things don’t always work out the way you want and it sucks, but it’s okay. Because even though your cat pukes up balls of hair, which is disgusting, she snuggles with you every night. And your mom cooks really yummy food, and your first-year roommate still lets you use her Netflix account (she’s the best, but you won’t embarrass her by calling her out in your article). You get to reconnect with old high school buddies you haven’t seen in ages, and heck, your GPA rocks because despite how difficult second year was, you worked hard and had a ton of fun, and that has to count for something. You can’t wait to get back to Charlottesville in the fall and start it all again! You just gotta survive Walmart first. 

Casey Breneman is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com

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