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Which Summer Job Influenced You The Most?

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Which Summer Job Influenced You The Most?

Which Summer Job Influenced You The Most?

Which Summer Job Influenced You The Most?

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Share Your Story

Click here to tell us what summer job had the most influence on your life. Be sure to put "summer job" in the subject line.

Robert Siegel and Michele Norris ask listeners to share stories about the summer jobs that influenced them the most. Two more newsmakers share their stories: Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, talks about scaling the heights of Yankee Stadium, earning 3 cents for every soda he sold. And Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid talks about his summer selling Hondas at a dealership in Lahore. He said it exposed him to many levels of Pakistani society, details that eventually went into his writing.


We love stories at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, and if you've got them, we want them.


Not just about anything. We want to know about the summer job that had the most influence on you.

NORRIS: Maybe it was the work you did.

SIEGEL: Or the people you met.

NORRIS: Perhaps the lessons you learned. We'll tell you how to send in your stories in a minute or two. Use that time to think.

And meanwhile, here are a couple of stories we've already collected from some of the guests you've heard on the program.

SIEGEL: The first is from Lloyd Blankfein, the current CEO of Goldman Sachs. His path to Wall Street took a nosebleed detour through Yankee Stadium.

Mr. LLOYD BLANKFEIN (Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs): Selling yearbooks and sodas - this was a job when I was 13 years old and 14 years old and 15 years old. It was the first job I could get after I got my working papers. And I remember - so I lived in Brooklyn, long commute. You'd get a tray full of sodas and it was covered by cellophane, which would slip off, and so you'd get yourself wet and sticky.

And if you remember the old upper deck at Yankee Stadium, the steep steps, and somebody up there, you'd be walking along with your tray of soda and somebody would say I'd like a soda. And they were 25 cents and it was a 13 percent commission. And I would make, like, three cents for carrying that tray of soda straight up these steep steps, sell it to them and come walk down, and I tell you I learned what a dollar was worth because I learned how to make it three cents at a time carrying trays of soda at Yankee Stadium.

Mr. MOHSIN HAMID (Author, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist"): I sold cars one summer in Lahore at a Honda dealership.

NORRIS: That's novelist Mohsin Hamid, author of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist."

Mr. HAMID: And Honda just opened dealerships in Pakistan, and a cousin of mine's uncle had one. And so I spent six weeks selling Honda Civics, and what was amazing about the experience was just the kinds of people that I met. I probably would never have gotten such a broad cross section of Pakistani society into my books if I hadn't done that job.

NORRIS: I was going to say, as a novelist, that must have been incredibly useful.

Mr. HAMID: It was incredibly useful. I mean, you saw everything from generals to guys who would come in a bicycle with a sack full of cash, enough cash to buy a Honda Civic. It was a very novelistic environment.

NORRIS: Do you drive a Civic now?

Mr. HAMID: I do have a Civic, actually. In Pakistan, I drive a Honda Civic.

SIEGEL: Well, now that you've got the idea, send us your summer job story. Go to and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page and make sure to put Summer Job in the subject line.

NORRIS: And we'll be sharing some of your stories in the coming weeks. Speaking of sharing, Robert, you're on the spot. What was your summer job story? Care to share?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Busing tables in a hotel dining room and getting to see how a real kitchen works convinced me that it was extremely important that I go back and finish college and not work in a restaurant again.

NORRIS: Okay. Thank you very much.

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