During my time as a student, I rarely had a holiday job. The exceptions being 1976, when my parents insisted that I contribute to the cost of an Esperanto trip to Athens via Yugoslavia. There was this toy wholesale business in Varsenare where I spent about a month doing all sorts of menial jobs, nothing too onerous, but definitely not the type of job you would want to do for the rest of your life.
The next summer I didn’t have any job planned, but a student in a fish freezing company in Ostend had to default for a 2-week period, and I stepped in the breach at the request of my cousin who was already working there. That was the time one worker there fell to his death (see an earlier blog, entitled “Seeing Someone Die“).
Apart from that, nothing. Meaning I had 2 1/2 months of dolce far niente, most of the time with a 2- or 3-week family holiday somewhere in July / August. In hindsight, it wouldn’t have hurt my chances of future employment if I had done the occasional stint of being a summer student at a company like Sidmar. As it was, neither I nor my parents had any experience of how too make the most of student activities, so I didn’t feel the gap until I went out looking for a job.
In hindsight, it’s obvious that once your face is known in a workplace, and you haven’t made too much of a pig’s ear of it, chances are that when you’re looking for a proper job you have one up on those who, like myself, were a totally unknown quantity.
Still, that’s all water under the bridge by now. I can only assume that present-day students are a bit more savvy about what it takes to prepare yourself for the job market.