Sasha, we feel your pain. After it was revealed that the youngest Obama is living the fast-food restaurant life this summer—bussing tables and cashing out customers—FLARE staffers couldn’t help but think back to their own first summer grinds. Kids, it gets better.
First summer gig: snack seller at Canada’s Wonderland!
I grew up in Vaughan (a.k.a. the burbs, just north of Toronto) and pretty much everyone at my high school worked at Canada’s Wonderland in the summer. I was assigned to the “Carts” department which meant standing all day in a tiny snack stall selling overpriced chips and candy. It was mostly a lonely existence, but I did meet some weird peeps during shift changes, including one compulsive liar who—despite having a different name, being way too young and looking NOTHING like her—claimed she was the actress Juliet Landau (the evil vampire Drusilla from Buffy The Vampire Slayer), and was slumming it with the normies during the show’s summer hiatus. She talked often of Sarah (Michelle Gellar) and David (Boreanaz). The delusion was so deep. #memories” —Nancy Won, senior fashion features editor
First summer gig: circus ticket telemarketer!
“You think getting a call during dinner from a telemarketer is bad? Try being a 15-year-old telemarketer, selling circus tickets to people who are onto the fact that training elephants to perform is cruel. Also cruel: not being able to go for a bathroom break until you reach a certain quota. Anything for weekend party money, doe…” —Carlene Higgins, fashion and beauty director
First summer gig: art instructor (sort of)!
“I was 14 when I decided I just had to get all 40 hours of the required-to-graduate-high-school volunteer hours done at once, so I got a “job” at the local art gallery. I was an assistant to the art instructor for a variety of children’s classes, from sculpture to portraiture. Pros included industrial-level air conditioning and the zen of an art gallery; cons included hours of unwrapping cheese strings (why are those packages SO tricky??) and yelling, “DON’T TOUCH THAT GROUP OF 7.” All that to say, I got my hours and decided teaching art was not for me.” —Meghan Collie, social media intern
First summer gig: coffee slinger!
“At 15, my parents were on me about being a contributing member of society, but my priorities were boys and music. Having a lame part-time job didn’t really fit into the equation. After threatening to cut me off financially, things got real and I started working at a local Tim Hortons, forced to wear a uniform that consisted of a loose bowtie and pleated pants that even A.C. Slater would balk at. The nightmare started from day 1, with the owner’s (wicked) stepdaughter treating the store like her kingdom and the other workers as her lowly servants. After a toaster-oven mishap, I began counting down the days until I could go back to school. Maybe that’s why I’ve long despised the bitter taste of Timmy’s coffee?” —Andrea Miller, acting managing digital editor
First summer gig: camp counselor!
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a kid person, and I blame this entirely on the three summers I spent as a day camp counselor. I am averse to prolonged stints in direct sunlight and have limited reserves of patience at the best of times, making me a less than ideal candidate to spend eight-plus hours a day outside with 10 children. If you went to day camp in Thunder Bay., Ont. in the early aughts and now experience persistent low-grade anxiety in all outdoor settings, I apologize.” —Maureen Halushak, deputy editor
First summer job: cashier at dad’s restaurant!
“My first job was working at the restaurant my entrepreneurial/experimental dad randomly decided to open when I was in grade six. It was an Ottawa-based sandwich and pizza franchise called Fat Albert’s, and the franchise owner constantly assured me I was the fastest cashier of any of his locations. By the time I hit grade eight, I got a raise from $1 per hour to $2…. Thanks, Dad.” —Caitlin Kenny, beauty editor
First summer job: advertising agency intern! (followed by professional baby ear-piercer!)
“My first legit summer gig was working as a (paid!) intern at the late, great Lanyon Phillips advertising agency in Vancouver. The joint was the height of early-2000s chic, with rows of blueberry iMacs as far as the eye could see, plus bright-blue floors and silver decor everything. I was but a young pup of 17 and remember being all wide-eyed when I got a bottle of Veuve, just like everyone else, when they won a big account. My next summer job was, sadly, not as chic—I shuttled between Claire’s Accessories locations all over the Lower Mainland, hawking plastic jewels and piercing babies’ ears. Want to get your baby’s ears pierced? Don’t. I still have auditory damage from their screams (along with some of the bangles I pinched as pain-and-suffering pay). —Briony Smith, senior editor, culture
First summer gig: nanny!
“Once upon a summer I thought it would be a chic look to be a nanny. What can I say, Brittany Murphy *RIP* really sold the job in Uptown Girls and I thought I’d get a little version of Dakota Fanning. I’m not going to lie, kids are not exactly my thing. Mostly because I’m creeped out by their tiny hands. Fun surprise, the job was for three boys under the age of five (that’s a total of six hands). NOT GREAT. Even weirder, the parental unit was a stay-at-home mom who watched my every move. I lasted about two weeks until I realized, “All Eyez on Me” wasn’t going to be the soundtrack to my life. Peace out baby hands!” —Amanda Demeku, fashion intern