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The following article dealing with the types, objects and remunerations of student summer employment, and with a discussion of summer sales work for college men was written especially for the Crimson by W. W. Daly '14, Secretary for Student Employment in the University.
The first thing to be considered when a man is looking for summer employment is, first, what the man's primary object is in taking a summer job, and second, the amount of money which he finds it desirable to earn.
With some men highly remunerative employment is essential. With others a reasonable remuneration with opportunity for mental rest and an abundance of exercise is desirable. With some men the actual financial gain is not the most important thing. Some desire to recreate themselves mentally and physically to the end that the next college year may be a better one from a scholastic, social, athletic and general point of view. It is with the idea of considering these questions that I am going to take up the different kinds of summer employment which are possible, discussing them in a general way, and subsequently to into details regarding the possibilities of each type of work.
Tutor Positions Scarce
For the man who is most anxious to make a considerable amount of money there are two fields which may be open as being highly profitable. One of these is selling; the other is tutoring. I realize perfectly well that sales work does not appeal to some men. I do know, however, that there is no work which can give a man greater opportunity to earn money, depending entirely on his own ability to produce, nor one which will be of greater benefit to him after he has finished his college work, because the principles of selling which he will learn and the ability to meet people on a business basis, which he will acquire, will both stand him in good stead and will be of tremendous importance in any business or profession which he may enter.
Work as a tutor or tutor companion is usually highly remunerative and is more pleasant than selling, but it is, for obvious reasons, not open to all men. It is also comparatively scarce as the number of jobs in that line is rarely, if ever, equal to the number of men desiring such work. There are certain peculiar qualifications which go with this work which prevent many otherwise worthy men from securing it. It is, furthermore, for a really able man not nearly so remunerative as sales work.
One form of work eagerly sought after, which is usually very pleasant, is that in summer hotels. Many of the mountain and seashore resorts take on college men to act as bell-boys, porters, waiters, clerks, or in other capacities. In some cases this is profitable as the tips run into money although the actual salaries paid are small.
Camps Want Universal Men
Positions as summer camp councillors are desirable. They are comparatively plentiful although application for them must be made early in the year. Directors of summer camps usually start in shortly after Christmas to select their men for the following summer. By the first of April the staffs are pretty well complete so that it behooves a man to start in very early if he wishes this sort of work. Some special qualifications are usually required. A man must be a good swimmer, must be able to sail a boat, must understand woodcraft, nature study, and it is usually desirable that be have some experience either camping or as an attendant at some other summer camp.
There are also a number of specialized occupations which fit men for some particular line of work. It is usually true that a man who wants a particular job in a particular industry can secure it if such jobs exist. The chief thing for him to determine is what he wants to get out of his summer; whether he wants to make money and gain experience or what not, and as soon as he has determined this, the line of action which he will take which will give him the job he wants, will become increasingly obvious.
Selling Opportunities Varied
There is probably no type of job that is more easy to secure, or more difficult to consider favorably than the so-called commission sales job which is offered to a college man at every turn. Every student employment office is hounded with people who would have students sell silk handkerchiefs, ladies' rain coats, shoes, "ships, sealing wax", and I doubt not, "cabbages and kings." In every case a liberal commission is offered and there is "no limit to the amount of money a man can earn."
In most cases, however, a man earns his money with great difficulty in view of the tremendous opposition that there is in selling the various articles in question. On the other hand, year after year men go with certain companies and make good, substantial sums of money, varying from $200 to $600, and in a few cases, as high as $1000.
Three Tests for Salesmen
Probably the real difficulty in considering such jobs is the fact that there has never been any standard by which to sift the wheat from the chaff and determine which jobs are good and may be undertaken by a college man without fear and with certain hope of reward, and those which should be left untouched and not even considered.
The first test of any job is, of course, the standing and reputation of the concern. If a firm has been doing business over a period of years; if it is sound; if it enjoys a good reputation, preferably if it is nationally known, or at least is familiar to the people who are its legitimate prospects; if it has for some years been putting out satisfactory products, it meets this first test.
Many of the smaller fly-by-night companies whose names are take-offs or whose business methods are modeled on the older and more established firms, should be avoided.
The second test I have called the policy question. If an established concern has been selling over a period of years in a particular manner, or to a particular group of consumers: has sold successfully, and has employed salesmen who have enjoyed prosperity during their employment, the job, moos with the second test. If a concern has been marketing through the retail trade and suddenly decides that it is going after its prospects on a direct consumer basis the success of that venture is problematical. If a concern that is little known is trying to market, its products direct and has not demonstrated that the products can be marketed in this way, if should distinctly be avoided.
What is the Utility
The third test is one which may be called consumer value and consumer utility. It will probably be true that if an established, well-rated concern has been selling over a period of years to a market which has favorably reacted to the presentation of its goods, that those same goods will offer a high degree of consumer value and utility, otherwise they would not have endured. This test, however, must be made. The goods that are offered must be offered at a fair price, and by a fair price I mean one that is not inconsistent with the value which they can give. They must represent also a utility as it seems to be much more difficult to approach a prospect and talk value without being able to demonstrate utility in a high degree.
Any job which meets--these three tests will probably be a good one for the average good man. If the policies of the company are established; if men have been making money, the probabilities are that other men will continue to make money, and that over a period of years salaries will average well. It must be borne in mind, of course, that on all such jobs men will have to do considerable hard work. They will have to out in hours. If it is a direct selling job, they will have to ring door bells and ring them consistently and persistently throughout the summer.
The majority of concerns set a definite standard as to the number of hours a man should put in, based on their experience. They have definitely found that a man can work a certain number of hours, and spend them profitably.
Three concerns which have been notably successful in this field and meet all of these tests are: The Fuller Brush Company, The Real Silk Hosiery Company, and the Aluminum Cooking Utensil Company, the latter manufacturers and distributors of "Wear Ever." A number of men have gone with these companies each summer and have been successful. These companies will again this summer be looking for men.
There are doubtless other concerns which are equally good, but these three are mentioned as being specific cases that afford men a particularly good opportunity
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