While I’ve been so very blessed in my life to have never been unable either to find or keep a job, and currently still have the physical and mental capacity to work full time, I’m always quite interested in any news about jobs. In early January I read of a temporary job opportunity driving one of the most unique vehicles you’re likely to find cruising down the highway.
Oscar Mayer announced it was looking for 12 recent college graduates to slide behind the wheel of that big hot dog on wheels, the Weinermobile, which has a history that dates all the way back to 1936. Currently, there are six traveling America’s roads. Given the number of highways and byways throughout this great nation, consider yourself lucky if you ever have a sighting. I have one under my belt, spotting one while on vacation in the early 1990s on Interstate 75 outside Atlanta.
With the country opening back up as we strive to deliver a virus knockout punch, the Weinermobiles will be heading back out after last year’s COVID shutdown.
The positions have been filled and will run from next month to June of 2022. Of course, there’s more to the job than just the driving aspect. The tube-steak anointed 12 will be expected to rep the company and product at meet-and-greets and also work the social-media angle to promote the product in addition to keeping that big dog between the ditches.
Everything the 12 that are referred to as “hotdoggers” will need to know is covered in a two-week training course called Hot Dog High. The company requires graduates earn a minimum 3.0 GPA. Additionally, young men and women chosen are expected to have experience working with the public. The company also gives preference to those with a degree in areas such as journalism, public relations, marketing and communications.
Had I known about such a position back in 1973 when I was forced to leave my beloved Miami University, I’m pretty sure I’d have taken a crack at one of the openings and postponed those pesky adult responsibilities for one more year.
After reading the story, I couldn’t help but think of my own temp jobs I’ve had and continue to hold, the product of which you’re reading right now to this very day. My first was in my pre-16 years, mowing lawns in an era when there wasn’t a landscaping truck on almost every corner as seems to be the case these days. Also, my pal Greg Swick and I were paid the princely wage of $1.10 an hour to thin corn one summer at a Northrup King experimental seed farm over in Wapak.
As for the temp job which drips with nostalgia, that would be the summer I spent bussing trays, bell hopping and running the elevator at a resort hotel called the Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake, New Jersey. My time on the Jersey Shore was filled with questionable judgment and a generous helping of hilarity shared with college kids from all over the country. We lived in a wonderful old dorm we called The Gizmo right across the road from the beach and the crashing surf of the Atlantic Ocean. I was 20 years old living what I think was the last summer I still felt like a kid, unfettered by any adult responsibilities and before any apprehensions rented any space in my brain as to what my future would hold.
As for the temp jobs I held the longest, well, there was the moonlight bartending on weekends at the Knights of Columbus for 40 years and the 25 summers working for parks and recreation. Certainly, I have fond memories of my time in both those pursuits.
However, I think my favorite temp job would have to be my first shirt-and-tie job during my last two years in high school at Butler’s Shoe Store overlooking the big fountain at a Lima Mall that was still in its infancy, having only been open for about five years.
It was the first job I held that demanded of me people skills, and, since I worked on commission, the first job that taught me that the harder I worked, the greater the rewards, a lesson I was able to carry into my classrooms for the 32 years I was privileged to teach.
So, as I look back on all my temporary jobs worked in every decade of my life, save the first, I think I took something positive from every one of them, as I’m pretty certain the 12 new hotdoggers will. My only regret is my timing wasn’t quite right to take a shot at driving that giant wiener for Oscar Mayer. Now, that would really have been something.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.