Wilton Warrior Words — Summer transition

Zachary Sherman

Zachary Sherman

Hearst Connecticut Media

When I accepted a summer job down at the Freedom Boat Club in Stamford, I took it for one reason. It paid more than minimum wage and I could earn tips. I mean, how bad could it be refueling and washing down motorboats on sunny days with a cool breeze coming off the water? Truthfully, I did not take into account that most shifts would start at 7 a.m. or that the sun would be beastly hot on many of the days. I didn’t know that I would smell so horrid that I had to drive home with the windows open while being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-95. But, as I never held a “real” job before, everything about work was a huge learning experience.

Now, let’s face it, this was not the most glamorous job, however, I think that it was the best possible thing I could have done this summer. By working at the boat dock, I learned valuable skills such as customer service, accountability, and the difference between a deck and double- or center-console boat. This job also enabled me to forge new connections every day while also drilling into my head the proper way to tie a slip knot. I’ll guarantee that I’ll know how to tie this knot until I’m 90.

A typical day at the docks would involve me getting there at 7 for a seven-hour shift, cleaning down and preparing the boats to go out, checking out the boats, pulling the remaining boats down, and then signing the boats back in. Fairly mindless work you might say, requiring not much more than some manual labor. Not entirely true though. In fact, each day provided a new set of challenges whether it be broken propellers, the tablet malfunctioning, or no-show reservations. Each of these mishaps and challenges provided me opportunities to meet new people, problem solve, learn about business, and work as a team.

Having my own money meant taking responsibility for my actions and activities. It made me realize how much things cost and that money can go very quickly if you blow it on Chipotle and Dunkin’ Donuts every day. I tried to budget myself by only using my tip money for lunch and going out with my friends. I then put away my paycheck for savings minus gas and car washes. In a year, I am off to college and I know this money will be my disposable income. I can truly say that work has “taught me the value of a dollar.”

As I reflect back on this summer, there is a multitude of things that I take away from it. I know that I must always wear sunscreen and stay extremely hydrated. It showed me that hard work, enthusiasm, politeness, and honesty can and will allow you to succeed in whatever I do in life. This summer taught me that if you make the most of any given experience or circumstance, you can always succeed and be happy.

Zachary Sherman is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with three classmates.