Before You Grow Up
There are only a few carefree summers in your life. Don’t waste them interning at law firms—opt for one of these adventure-packed seasonal gigs instead.
Great outdoor jobs are rare for kids marooned in suburbia. Climbing trees in a harness with a chainsaw? An exception.
» How to work as an arborist
Deckhand, Luxury Yacht
To be clear, this is not cruise-ship work (which is terrible). Sign on to assist a private charter boat and you’ll polish chrome, sling drinks, and clean cabins, all while seeing the world (or at least Bermuda) from an extremely posh vantage.
» How to get a job as a deckhand
Deckhand, Lobster Boat
The Good: you’re on the open ocean, the pay’s great, and you’ll never complain about hard work again. The Bad: it’s nearly around-the-clock, demanding physical labor—hauling traps out of the water, removing the lobsters, cutting up bait fish with huge knives on rolling waves.
» How to work on a lobster boat
Hauling tourists around the historic quarters of a scenic city on a clunky tricycle may not sound (or look) too glamorous. But you make your own hours, you exercise on the job, and there’s no better way to get to know a new town.
» How to become a pedi cab driver
Seasonal Service Worker, National Parks
Cooking or waiting tables in a national park is a rite of passage for college kids out west, some of whom cycle among parks until their mid-twenties. The views are amazing, and there’s a jubilant camaraderie that comes from working in some of the country’s most beautiful places.
» How to work as a park ranger
On-Call Wildlands Firefighter
Think of this as the minor leagues for aspiring hotshots and smoke jumpers. On-call firefighters, many of whom are college students, learn the ropes by working 14-to-21-day stints as mop-up crews at forest-fire sites, dousing flames and clearing out felled brush.
» How to work as a hotshot
Your office is the beach, your uniform a pair of boardshorts, and you could rescue dozens of people. According to 30-year veteran Southern California lifeguard Lance Dempsey, “On a busy week-end, there might be 2,000 people in front of your tower.”
» How to become an ocean lifeguard