Saturday, May 18, 2013

I Know What You Did Last Summer!

O.K., I know that I stole that title! It was absolutely blatant.

The other day, some colleagues and I were discussing the issue of students (including our own offspring), and their summer jobs - or no jobs, as the case may be. I'm not passing judgement here in what follows, by the way. 

When I was a student I had to earn enough money over the summer to live off for the rest of the year. That's just the way it was. Period! My parents were great - I could live at home over the summer at no cost to me. But that was it. They lived in a very small rural town in New Zealand, a long way from where I attended university. The upside of this was that, being a rural area (in the mid/late 1960's through to the early 1970's), there were some seriously good work opportunities.

So, what did I do each summer?

Well, I did lots of different things, actually. They ranged from career-related, to "I don't care how tough this is - I just need the bucks!"

Let's look at some of these jobs. They were interesting, to say the least:
  • Summers of '66, '67 & '68: Sheep-shearing gang & harvesting hay and grain
  • Summer of '69: Actuarial office of a major life insurance company 
  • Summer of '70: Research Section of the N.Z. central bank - the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
In retrospect, I was very lucky. I got to experience some work situations that were way outside what most students get to see.
  • Didn't get to Woodstock - not because I was making hay, but because I was in class - remember, I was in the Southern Hemisphere. The "Summer of Love" was my "Winter of Woe".
  • Decided that an actuarial life wasn't for me - financially, a bad decision!
  • Got to be one of 3 people working on the construction of the first version of the Reserve Bank's macroeconometric model. You'd be right if you guessed that I found that really exciting!
That last summer job led to a scholarship for my Masters-level studies, and ultimately to a very rewarding period at the RBNZ before I opted for an academic life in Australia.

You just never know where that summer job is going to lead to!

© 2013, David E. Giles


  1. Nice. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hi very nice and helpful post, thanks for the posting.