The clock is ticking as many students search for summer employment, but unfortunately, there are a limited number of good jobs available. Some students will have to take a less-than-ideal job — whether that means it’s hard work for little pay or just not fun to do.
Over the years, I have had many summer jobs, including serving at a lake resort up north, being an office temp and dishwashing. While none of my summer jobs have been exceptionally stimulating, the worst by far was cleaning up dog poop.
While many students opt for a serving or landscaping job to provide seasonal livelihood, I decided to look outside the box last year. I was also applying late in the game, so the pickings were slim, and I was desperate. I applied in a frenzy for all of the jobs that I was qualified for to start making money, as I had to pay rent.
After about a month of fruitless applications, I finally got a callback from a company that employs people to clean dog poop out of residential backyards. Although the job itself did not sound very fun, it paid nearly $30 an hour and allowed me to make my own schedule. I was scared of dogs — which made me extra reluctant — but I needed the money, so I gave it a shot.
There were many bad parts of this job — my car always smelled like bleach, because I had to spray the bottom of my shoes in between houses. And, let me reiterate, I had to touch dog poop for several hours every day. When it rained, it was a whole other nightmare, as you can likely imagine.
Dog poop removal is not a booming industry. Because there were a limited number of backyards to clean every week, I soon found out that I’d never earn enough to pay my bills. As a result, I had to get a second bad job: dishwashing at a restaurant in the evenings.
Cleaning dog poop in the morning and washing dishes at night for three months straight really takes a toll on a person, and I have never been happier to see the start of the school year.
To be fair, not all parts of the job were bad. A lot of my time was spent just driving from house to house, and the amount of time spent actually touching dog poop was relatively little. I also liked that I got to work independently. One thing I learned is that, if you do a gross thing enough times, it no longer seems as gross.
If you are the type of person who gets grossed out easily, you might do better in an office or retail setting. However, if you like dogs and like to spend a lot of time driving, cleaning up dog poop may not be the worst job for you to do to make a little bit of extra money.
Although you may want to avoid bad summer jobs like this, there is something to be said about spending months repeatedly doing a task that you hate. Everything that I’ve done since then has been easy in comparison, and I am glad to say that I am no longer scared of dogs.
Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer
Photo: Gabbie Torres