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Published on 02/24/2001

Kyoko asks:
My aunt called the other day from the neighbouring state and told my mother that she would like me to come spend the summer with her and get a job at the Chevy dealership that she works at. I can't decide whether I want to or not. I've tried weighing the pros and cons, and still can't come up with a solution. On the one hand, if I went down there, I would be getting a nice job, get to spend time with my favourite aunt, and get to shape up in her nice Olympic sized pool. On the other hand, if I stayed, I'd still get a nice job at the mall, and be able to spend time with my friends. Please help?

I would like to point out to you that you said "a nice job at the mall." When I walk through these great tributes to American Consumerism, I always think to myself "if I ever get a job in a mall, I would very much like to have somebody shoot me." Then again, the mall did not play a central role in my life as it does for so many in this country1 so I really do not have any right to be talking smack about it.

The real question is whether or not working a Chevy dealership will be enjoyable at all for you, or if it will help you at all later in life. If the former, and the only fear is that you will be away from your friends, then consider the summer a time for adventure, away from the monotony of the school year (for I'd imagin that if you are considering a summer job then there is a break from an academic institution at hand - those of us in the Real World would give our eye teeth for three months off every year in which to rest and rediscover ourselves - well, except for those of us who are unemployed who can do so anyway) and away from seeing the same people every day. Imagine the thrill of being able to reinvent yourself for the summer, to be a new person in a new situation with little to no consequences. Create a new persona, and at the end of the summer, return home with a new perspective on life and a new understanding of what makes Chevy the most popular American automobile2. In the latter case, you can claim that the summer experience will enhance your marketable skills so that later in life you will be able to point to that line on your resume and say "look what I did!" In general though, that does not really make you seem to professional and your potential future employer will most likely look at you a bit funny before filling the position with someone who does not point wildly at her resume and say "look what I did!" Best to be more subtle.

Then again, I know how difficult it is to spend significant amounts of time away from the people that make up the foundation of your social structure. New experiences are, on the one hand, exciting and different, and on the other hand, difficult and frightening. Why subject yourself to that when there is a family, a group of people with whom you feel comfortable, to occupy all of your time. Imagine taking lunch breaks in the food court, gossiping over greasy chinese food or salad and yougurt. Walking past the GAP, Banana Republic and Express to your station at the Sunglass hut where you will site and wait for the next customer to wander by so that you can ring up their purchase for a set of frames that makes their face look even wider than it did before.

No! I say. Stop the insanity! Do not deny yourself the Olympic-sized swimming. Making new friends should be no problem at all, and will serve as a compelling reason for your friends at the Mall to come and visit you in Chevy-town. "Come to your neighboring state," you will beckon to them. "Take advantage of my good fortune and bask in the sun by the side of this pool of Olympic proportions!" Indeed they will come to you, and everything will be good.

[ I would like to note that I have nothing against people who work in malls and do not feel anything but sympathy for anyone who has to deal with my yuppie ass when I walk in and debate the merits of one seventy dollar sweater3 over another. ]

1. I will take a US-centric view on this question for a couple of reasons. First, the Mall of America is big enough that I can ignore the Edmonton Mall. Second, I don't know anything else. I mean, I did grow up in Japan and the 7-11 jingle will forever be stuck in my head, but I didn't know the notion of the mall when I was there. We had department stores, to be sure, and I remember that on the roof of one of them was a large arcade type thing complete with Whack-A-Mole variants, but no malls. Therefore, I will limit my discussion to the malls in my general vicinity, which probably don't even do the American Mall justice anyway, being way too close to bustling urban centers. I mean, the true mall experience comes when the mall is the only source of entertainment for miles around. True suburbia I did not know, having more of the commuter-type feel to it, where the urban-center plays a large roll in shaping the attitudes of the community. On the other hand, I was always too nerdy to hang out at malls, malls being reserved for those who actually had some social life around which a mall could be centered. Ahem, anyway.

2. Car? What's a car?

3. I would not actually buy a seventy dollar sweater unless it was on sale, but I still feel some amount of guilt in buying these clothes. This probably does not make me any less of a bad person than, say, the person who buys full-price, but it's similar to the argument made by vegetarians who are into taxidermy. I mean, the animal already died. It didn't die to be stuffed, so I don't really feel bad about having it in my house. But killing animals for food? Evil!

Reinventing myself...sounds interesting. Thank you for the objective veiws. I think I might just go. Anyway, I have four months to decide. ^.^
Posted by Kyoko on 02-24-2001 16:39

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