It’s about fun, not money

Mai Hoang

There’s nothing more rewarding than making a buck or two.

Well, that’s what I used to think.

When I was in high school, I needed money. Well, need isn’t quite the right word. But to a 16-year-old girl wanting desperately to gain some sort of worth through nice clothes and a decent car, money was a need.

These days, money isn’t as important. Sure, you need cash to live on, but I’ve learned my lesson.

Money isn’t everything. Your job shouldn’t be just a way to get a paycheck every other Friday. You should enjoy the time you’re there, too.

There was one particular job where I learned the importance of liking what you do.

After I graduated from high school, I spent my summer working as a sales associate at Old Navy. It seemed like a sweet deal — not only would I get paid, I would get cheap clothes.

The lady who hired me, however, failed to tell me a few things.

•She didn’t tell me about the sales managers hissing your sales numbers in your ear piece and trying to “motivate”– no, scream at you– to go bug some customers.

•Ten-year-olds often destroy the neatly-folded piles of Old Navy logo T-shirts you spent at least 30 minutes arranging.

•There are a ton of different jean types you have to memorize. Boot cut, low cut, relax cut, weekend cut, boy cut. It’s almost as bad as memorizing the wine list at a ritzy restaurant.

Despite the cheap, cute heather gray sweater I got for $10 with my discount, which I still have to this day, working at Old Navy was not worth it.

When I started at Western, I discovered a new form of the summer job — the summer internship.

Since I was 15, I knew I wanted be a newspaper reporter. I love asking questions, and I get to move around all day — a far cry from my eight-hour standing shifts at Old Navy.

I started working at the Herald and heard about all the places other reporters interned at: Lexington; Louisville; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia; Cincinnati; New York — basically somewhere besides a yuppie suburban area.

That was exciting to me. I could get some experience for a career I was interested in, and I would get paid!

I spent my first summer after college interning at the Times-Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Penn.

Although it wasn’t the most exciting place to be, I loved what I was doing. I woke up every day excited about going to work. Each day was different, unpredictable. I met people who helped me improve in my craft.

That experience led me to my next internship at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Wisconsin. I got to do more of what I loved. Each new day was a challenge. I wrote stories about everything from the county fair to a guy trying to promote his right to hang the American flag on his mail box in his apartment complex.

I also got to experience the state of Wisconsin, where they enjoy frozen custard, not ice cream, and you pledge to the “fleg,” not the flag.

This summer, I’ll be exploring new territory when I go to Minneapolis to intern at the Star Tribune. I don’t know what to expect, but there’s no doubt in my mind it will be another great summer job.

Life is short. It’s important to have fun while you can. Your job takes up 40 hours of your week, so you might as well like what you do during those hours.

I’ll be having fun this summer. Will you?

Mai Hoang is a print journalism and religious studies double major from Louisville.