Morgan Matson, the author of ‘The Unexpected Everything’, shares how her summer jobs influenced Andie’s summer in her latest book.
In ‘The Unexpected Everything’, Andie Walker, the heroine of the book, thinks she has her summer all planned out – she’s going to a prestigious summer program, which will look great on her CV and help her on her goal to becoming a doctor. But instead, her life is upended when her father is caught up in a political scandal, and Andie is suddenly uninvited to the program – and finds herself at a loose end. She knows she needs to find a job, and she ends up in the one she would have least expected – working as a dog walker.
I loved writing about Andie’s unexpected summer job, as well as writing the jobs her friends had (working at a movie theater, at an art museum, and stage managing a community theater play). And it got me thinking about the jobs I’ve given to my other book characters. There’s a reason that (most) of my heroines have a summer job – I always had summer jobs, and whether they were good or bad, they were always an experience. I always ended up spending time with people I never would have met otherwise, and I always learned a lot.
I had all kinds of jobs in summers when I was in high school and college. My favorite job came right on the heels of my least favorite job. The summer before I started college, I had a job all set up, working on the fuel dock of a yacht club. This meant we were all on a floating dock (we had to take a boat to get out to it) and when boats needed to be refueled, they pulled up alongside the floating dock. We would have to run around, tie the boat up, and then fill it up with fuel. So basically, I was working at a gas station, but one that was on the water.
This was the wrong job for me for several reasons – the first of which being I don’t love being in direct sun, because I burn at the drop of a hat. Also, I don’t love boats. And finally, the uniform was khakis and a long sleeved white polo shirt, which….just no.
I lasted a week at that job, and the day I fell off the dock into the gross water, I got out, wrung out my clothing, and quit.
Which left me at the very beginning of the summer without a job and no real plan. Luckily, one of my best friends was in the same situation as me, and we went job hunting together. We ended up putting in applications together at a smoothie place, and we both ended up getting hired, and it became my best summer job ever.
There really is nothing better than working with one of your best friends. When we weren’t making smoothies, we were sitting on the counter, talking, or on the front steps of the store, talking. We made up all kinds of smoothie flavors and dared each other to try them. We would make up our own tip song, and sing it – loudly – whenever we got tips. And best of all, I got to spend lots and lots of time with a great friend of mine, before we both headed off to college.
We’re still good friends, and we talk about it all the time – about that summer we worked at Smoothie Time together. And at the end of the day, I think it was the fact that we were doing it together that made it so special, and my favorite summer job ever.
It just goes to show that you never know which job it is that’s going to end up being great, I would have never thought that working at a smoothie shop would be amazing, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. So if you are going into a summer job, I would say to try and have an open mind – you never know at the outset how it will turn out! But if you do hate the job, you can always find something else that suits you more. Because if you’re stuck in a job that’s making you unhappy, you can’t find the thing – whatever it is – that might end up being your favorite job ever.
Read it already? Let us know what you thought at @maximumpopbooks!
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