Sadly, we must say goodbye to our summer co-op students. Timed with the wrap-up of their ONB tenure, this week’s content comes from our students.

Do you remember your first job? Perhaps it was mowing lawns, babysitting, or asking the cliched question “do you want fries with that?” For me, it was various day-to-day tasks and chores on a local farm. It was by no means glamourous work, most first jobs aren’t.

Regardless of how you earned your first dollar, it was most likely a simple task that fell during a structured shift with a beginning and an end, with little thought given to the work once you clocked out.

From Humble Beginnings

First jobs, as important as they are at building one’s work ethic, character, and an early appreciation for earning money, often do not show us the greater impact that we have on society and our communities. The drive-thru meal you served was the fuel a person used to complete their work. Farm work, as boring and hard as it may have been, was key to the operation’s overall success. As we mature, gain education, and develop skills, we find ourselves in more impactful and stimulating roles. The impact of a job has never been more apparent to me than during my tenure at Opportunities NB (ONB).

Coming Full Circle

Whether we admit it or not, most of us love to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We like to know that the work we do and the time we devote to it will have a meaningful contribution big or small — that what we do will matter. When I began work at ONB — and I believe my fellow students would say the same — I quickly realized that the work I did here has and will continue to have a real impact on people and businesses across our province.

The work being done across the organization helps support businesses both large and small in communities and people throughout New Brunswick. Some of those businesses are likely the same ones where you worked your first job. The projects I’ve touched on as a Summer Student will help support businesses across multiple sectors, giving great New Brunswick companies more opportunity to hire the next generation of summer students.

Looking Ahead

Looking back at my project/task list from spring, I am reminded of the important work that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. This includes a plan to help companies navigate red tape and another aimed at poverty reduction. As summer ends I can see that I have grown as an individual and contributed to something bigger than me.
Looking ahead, however, is even more satisfying. My expectation is that the projects I’ve touched here will make a real difference in the life of a young person in rural New Brunswick throwing a bail of hay for the first time.

Written by Ben Graham

ONB’s Student Program is open to fall and winter co-op placements and a summer work term. One hundred per cent of participants would recommend ONB to other students as a place to work. Interested in applying? Contact us.