Foreign embassy, call center or truck, it is summer work

Summer employment took some Scripps Howard School of JAC student to the American heartland, or out of the country to South America. Here are three vignettes.

By P.J. Bolling

Hampton University broadcast journalism major Lane Grooms interned this summer at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana.

“I was ecstatic when I learned will be going down to South America to do an internship,” said Grooms, “but at the same time I was a little nervous about going outside the country.”

Not only did he have to worry about leaving the country, but Grooms quickly had to get acclimated to the extremely hot weather.

“Guyana is very, very humid,” said the future journalist. “I got off the plane sweating.” The average summer high temperature in Guyana was 86 degrees.

Grooms, a junior, said that he had to drive on the opposite side of the road: “It took a few days to get used to.”

On top of going out of the country, getting acclimated to the humidity and driving on the opposite side of the street, Grooms expressed his discomfort with the native music called soca, which is a blend of reggae, hip-hop, and R&B music. “It was audibly displeasing,” he said.

However, during his stay Grooms enjoyed exotic fruit such as lime-like genips and passionate fruit.

“It was surprisingly pretty good,” he said.

At the embassy, Grooms had to communicate with Caribbean-speaking people as well as English speaking folk. One of the Caribbean speaking people he met was Prime Minister Samuel Hines.

“He was down to earth and had a sense of humor even though we had a little trouble understanding each other,” said Grooms.

The internship lasted from June until August. Grooms said that working for the embassy taught him more discipline. “It was a government job, so I had to get serious,” he said. “It taught me order. That’s something that I took back with me to the states.”


By Lane Grooms

This summer P.J. Bolling was loading and unloading boxes and packages from UPS trucks. Bolling worked the 1 to 5 p.m. second shift in greater Cincinnati.

Working during the hottest part of day in 100-degree-plus weather has its perks though, he said: “They gave us water, candy and watermelon every Wednesday, and I was sometimes let off early.”

Bolling said it took a while for him to get acclimated to his new work environment. However, he had ample time to adjust because he began his workdays in mid-June and worked all the way until it was time to go back to school in late August.

My best day at work was my first day on the job,” said Bolling, “because it was relaxed and they gave me Gatorade.”

Because of the harsh conditions of loading and unloading trucks for four straight hours each day, Bolling explained, “I have a lot of new scars.” He said on his worst day of work, “I unloaded three trucks back to back in 105-degree weather with no break.”

When asked what he will miss most about the job, Bolling answered, “making money.”


By Porchia Bradford

For Hampton University’s Brazier Bryant, hard work continued after the fall and spring semesters. In her hometown, Omaha, Neb., Bryant went straight to work.

Bryant’s summer work began at the Allergy Relief Center. She was a representative in the call center, where medical surveys were conducted. Her time at the center was short lived. She described her duties as “boring.” After two weeks, Bryant resigned.

Direct TV hired Bryant right away. She began in the NFL department, working directly with the customers. Her duties included service calls, promotions and bonuses.

During her tenure at Direct TV, Viacom’s contract expired. Viacom is the network responsible for popular TV channels such as BET, MTV and Nickelodeon.

Customers directed their anger at Bryant, she said: “One lady threatened to sue me because she thought I took her channels away.” She had to remind people that she was just a representative for Direct TV and had no control over the company contracts. This experience taught her to exercise patience and tranquility.

As summer came to a close, so did Bryant’s job at Direct TV.