Op-Ed: Mowing Your Parents’ Lawn Will Build More Character Than an Internship

Congrats! I’m so glad to hear about your fantastic, exciting summer internship! Oh, you’re working for some politician, newspaper, or late night show? That’s SO great, I’m SO happy for you. Meanwhile, I’ll be gaining some real life experience and character, by mowing my parents’ lawn.

You think I’m joking? Are you aware of how hot the tech and engineering industry is these days? I’m going to be working with an ancient, gasoline-guzzling, rusty push mower that my parents have refused to replace since the early 2000s. The hands on experience I gain from trying to get it to limp forward for thirty continuous seconds at a time is leaps and bounds over your flashy Facebook internship.

And I hear you say, “What about networking and employee benefits?” Once again, I’ve got you beat. Nice Old Mrs. Nelson from next door brings me cookies if I promise to do her front yard as well. She’ll talk my ear off the entire time I do it, too. The best part? She’ll forget what we talked about the next day, so I can just repeat the same topics over and over. Maybe I’m not socializing with industry leaders; but at least I don’t have the pressure of having new and interesting anecdotes at the ready for some slicked back businessman.

When you look at the overall benefits, I think it’s clear that your unpaid internship pales in comparison to mowing my parents’ lawn for the fourth consecutive summer in a row. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lemonade stand to set up to make some cash on the side. Unlike some people, I plan on actually making money this summer.

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