Trying (and Failing) to Secure a Summer Job

A+small%2C+cartoon+businessman+stands+on+a+flat+green+background+in+front+of+a+sheet+of+paper+titled+Job+offer+that+is+held+by+a+big+hand

Getty Images/iStockphoto

A small, cartoon businessman stands on a flat green background in front of a sheet of paper titled “Job offer” that is held by a big hand

Emmy Williams, Editor

It was December of 2021, and as I was looking into my future, I foresaw the perfect summer. I saw vacations, a summer journalism program, visits with family, and most likely an unnecessary amount of shopping. I would also have my driver’s license, and therefore, I would have the whole world at my fingertip, or more so, the wheels of my car. What I didn’t foresee, however, was how I would fund my “perfect summer.” Sure, I babysat every so often, but I didn’t have a steady source of income, which left me feeling as though my summer plans would be foiled. But before I was able to wind myself up too much about my newfound bankruptcy, my knight in shining guacamole arrived. A local Mexican restaurant that I knew and loved was hiring, and I was determined to get the job.

I navigated to the restaurant’s website and began to fill out the application, unbothered by buttons prompting me to provide my resume, which did not exist. I was queried about nearly every aspect of my life, including my physical abilities. No, I cannot lift 50 pounds. I eventually completed the application, only after reviewing it multiple times for any evidence of my more unbecoming qualities.

Three days later, I received a text message from an unknown number. “Hey, this is [redacted] from [redacted] taqueria in [redacted]. I was wondering if you were able to come in and do an interview. If so, call me at this number. Thanks and happy holidays.” I called, and we set up an interview for the following week. I was ecstatic, and then I wasn’t. What was I going to wear to the interview? What if he didn’t like me? What if I didn’t get the job and then I could never eat those delicious fish tacos with charred pico de gallo, avocado, and cruda tomatillo salsa? I needed to ace this interview.

I prepared incessantly. I had a friend who worked at said restaurant, so I bothered her with questions about the interview and the job nearly every time I saw her. I bothered my mom with questions about what I should wear to the interview more times than I’d like to admit, and eventually I settled on my favorite striped sweater and my not-so-favorite pair of jeans.

The day of my anticipated interview rolled around, and I was petrified. As my mom dropped me off in the parking lot of the restaurant, I felt like crying or running away or falling into a deep dark hole never to be seen again. But alas, I entered the restaurant and sat at the designated interview table and waited. Mr. [redacted] eventually plopped down at the table and immediately cut to the chase. He proceeded to ask me if I was younger than I had claimed to be (implying that I was the ripe age of 14), told me that he had tried to contract COVID-19, and then hired me. He hired me! I was told that I would receive a text message scheduling my first day of work sometime around the end of January. I may or may not have have jumped with joy (once).

The end of January came and went with no text, as did February. And March. I got ghosted by my job employer. Who does that even happen to? Me, apparently.

I’ve given up on finding a “real” summer job. I think I’ll just stick to babysitting and budgeting.

And yes, I am too embarrassed to show my face in that establishment ever again. Oh well, there’s always takeout.