First Job Series: Martha Bartlett Piland
Grounds Crew Worker | Butler County Community College
Age 19 | Minimum Wage
I pulled weeds, pruned trees, chopped down trees, dug ditches, mowed and irrigated the landscaped areas. The job started at 7:00 a.m. and went till 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday all summer long. It was hot, heavy—character building—work.
Why this job?
I failed to find a summer job quickly enough for my dad’s liking. So, he arranged this job with the facilities manager of the college, who was also a family friend.
My first day on the job, they handed me a shovel to dig a landscaping trench. I was stunned and a bit intimidated—I had never used a shovel before. I knew right then that it was going to be an interesting summer.
It made me value my education because a college degree meant I’d have many choices for jobs I’d actually like—not have one thrust upon me because I lacked qualifications to do something else.
It also taught me that even in a job I didn’t like, I could take charge of my attitude and find ways to see the good in my situation. I worked with some other college students who became friends. We got to listen to whatever music we liked, and we ended up with good tans. I chose to look on the bright side instead of being miserable. Attitude makes all the difference.
No matter what the job is, there’s a learning opportunity. If you have a great attitude and treat the job (and your boss) like it matters, you’ll gain skills that will always serve you no matter where you go in the future.”