Guest Post From Another Jennifer: 6 Life Lessons From Driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile


jen1

Today, I’m handing the clipboard to Jen from Another Jennifer blog. You’re in capable hands. I mean, these hands once steered the Wienermobile. How cool is that?

I found out about Jen’s jealousy-inducing summer job out of college, and just had to have the story on my page. I mean, this is a blog about fatherhood, futbol, and food. The last is the final pillar of the holy trinity of my pages.

Check out her work at Another Jennifer. I’ve said it before – she’s not just another Jennifer.

###

My first job after I graduated from Syracuse University was driving the iconic Wienermobile. I was a Hotdogger, to be more specific.

I traveled the southeastern part of the United States with two other recent college grads and auditioned kids to be in the next Oscar Mayer commercial. We mainly visited zoos, amusement parks, military bases and baseball parks.

As my classmates prepared for their fancy management training programs in corporate America (the economy was much better back in 1998), I had a week to dump my stuff at my parents’ house in Massachusetts and make my way to Madison, Wis., for my own two-week corporate training program, Hot Dog High. (For those interested, I am a Hot Dog High XI graduate.)

When I look back on the experience now, I realize how incredibly lucky I was to even be offered such a job. I actually read in an article that it’s statistically easier to become President of the United States than to become a Hotdogger. The experience most certainly set me up to become the entrepreneur that I am now.

I probably learned more in that summer than I have in all my other years combined. Here are six life lessons I took with me from driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile:

1. Be yourself

My first interview with Oscar Mayer was more of a random conversation than an actual interview. I left the room in the SU Career Center thinking there was no way I would get past the first round, which I was told included more than 1,000 resumes.

I got a call two days later telling me they’d like to fly me out to Madison for a second interview. In that interview (which lasted two days), I sang on camera in a conference room and talked about my most embarrassing moment.

You can’t prepare for an interview process like this. My resume got me in the door. Being comfortable with myself got me the job.

2. Don’t take life too seriously

jen2

When your primary mode of transportation is a 22-foot long hot dog, it’s hard to let the little things bother you. There’s no such thing as a quick trip to the store to buy deodorant, and when you break down you have to explain where to find the engine to the mechanic.

Our old Wienermobile, Bologna, was steaming hot (pun intended) and the radio barely worked. We worked long hours, seven days per week. Do you think we complained? Heck no. We were driving the freaking Wienermobile while our friends were at their “real jobs” working in air-conditioned cubicles.

3. Drink lots of water

photo credit: Ice and Water via photopin (license)
photo credit: Ice and Water via photopin (license)

I’m a New England girl. I’m not used to the heat of the south, which is where my team was stationed for the summer. The heat index, along with the fact that everyone wants to buy drinks for the drivers of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at the end of the day, taught me the importance of having a large bottle of water with me at all times.

(Note: We had a stipend for cab rides so we could go out sans hotdog in the evenings we didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion.)

4. Break the rules every now and then

The kids were supposed to have a limited time to sing either the “Wiener Jingle” or the “Bologna Song.” That’s it. We often had big lines and needed to keep things going. But when a 4-year old triumphantly grabs the mic and belts out a five-minute version of “I Believe I can Fly” or when a 7-year old girl messes up the words and sings “Cuz if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be making love to me,” you let that go.

Sometimes the experience is more important than the results.

5. Always look on the bright side of things

photo credit: Wienermobile! via photopin (license)
photo credit: Wienermobile! via photopin (license)

We weren’t alone in our travels that summer. PETA actually sent out protestors to most of our events around the country. And my team happened to have the route that included a stop in the town where PETA was headquartered.

Instead of being intimidated, we looked on the bright side. They got extra media coverage for us, helped reinforce our theme of “food, family and fun” (not really their intention, but that’s what happened) and the kids got a kick out of the protestor dressed up like a pig.

Thanks, PETA! (Note: Yes, I got to see how Oscar Mayer makes hotdogs and bacon. Yes, I still eat it.)

6. Human interaction is good

When I drove the Wienermobile, there was no Twitter or Facebook. We weren’t blogging. We had a cell phone that we only used to make calls when we broke down or to check in with Madison. Most of our media and event calls were made in the hotel. By today’s standards, we weren’t very “connected.”

Yet I probably connected – really connected – with more people in that one summer than I ever will again.

People still don’t quite get what I did that summer. And that’s fine with me. Perhaps the most important life lesson I learned that summer is to grab an opportunity when it presents itself. Because you may never get that chance again.

What’s the craziest job you’ve had?

###

Jennifer Barbour is a copywriter, blogger, aspiring author and new media consultant. She aims to inspire, to entertain and to make you think. Her passions are writing, philanthropy, her awesome family and bacon, though not necessarily in that order. You can find out more at anotherjennifer.com.

hot dog quote

Advertisements

61 thoughts on “Guest Post From Another Jennifer: 6 Life Lessons From Driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile”

    1. Ha! I’ve always loved bacon. I can safely say that I will never become a vegetarian after this experience though. I didn’t serve any food, but I ate a ton of meat that summer!

  1. This is absolutely awesome! I loved reliving this experience with you! The most interesting job I’ve ever had was as a bilingual secretary in Paris, France. It was a wonderful opportunity, but adventurous in a completely different way. This seems like so much fun!

  2. I’ve been OBSESSED with the Weinermobile more than half of my life and I was more than a bit jealous reading about my dream job! I was born in Syracuse too.

    1. I met so many people on the road who were overjoyed to see the Wienermobile. Spreading smiles and giving people the opportunity to look inside and get some wienermobilia was amazing! I hope you get the chance to see one in person, if you haven’t yet. (And go Cuse!)

      1. The first time my team was let loose with the Wienermobile, we got lost in Madison and broke down. It wasn’t as thrilling as originally expected. We made up for that later in the summer though. 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading, Letizia! Don’t forget to drink that water!

      And I believe Bologna was retired after we drove it that summer. Going through the pictures, most of them were of Bologna on a flatbed truck!

  3. What an awesome experience! And such a great story!!! Definitely a story to pass down! I can’t come up with a crazy job, but I did have a couple fun ones when I was in/just out of college. One was an internship in a lingerie dept for a dept store and I was really shy back then…but I had a crazy fun boss who I am still in touch with, and I also spent a summer managing a t-shirt shop on Martha’s Vineyard…very cool summer gig!

    1. Love Martha’s Vineyard. And I bet you have some funny stories about the lingerie department.

      I’m still not sure my kids fully understand the job, but they have lots of wienermobilia!

  4. Oh what an AWESOME post Jennifer!! So lovely to see you here with Eli and share such an incredibly fun and brilliantly UNIQUE story. SO cool that you got to do such a thing- and I just love how the experience grew you as a person, but I’m sure it was a freaking HOOT of a summer!!! I just did the typical teen jobs- waitress and drug stores and snack bars crap. My first job out of college was actually my clinical internship in a psychiatric hospital in New Orleans. Then back to Chicago for a “real therapist job” in a psychiatric hospital. Serious growth through it all!! (As I’m sure you could imagine!)

    Oh, and- HI ELI!!! 😉

    1. I’m sure the psych hospital generated some stories and life lessons for you, Chris! That summer was jammed packed with fun. It still amazes me a company of that size trusted a bunch of recent grads to handle their brand for the summer. What an experience!

  5. What a gig!! Love that you viewed it as a great adventure.
    I think my weirdest has to be freeze modeling. this department store dressed up in their clothes, put us on boxes through out the store, and we had to hold these poses like forever. people would try to make you smile, laugh …..and sometimes cry when they pinched to see if we were real.
    worst minimum wage job by far. didn’t even get to keep clothes.

  6. LOL These points are fantastic and spot on. Thanks for sharing her thoughts! And thanks for sharing this lovely post with us over at Showin’ Some Love Hump Day Blog Hop! Already following you. 🙂

    ❤ Amanda*

  7. My friend from high school was a Hotdogger! So awesome. Let’s see..my craziest job. I don’t know that I had anything so interesting as that but I have combination of crazy stories from being an Innkeeper at a San Francisco B&B, as well as a Pizza Delivery Girl. I could probably write a book about crazy co-workers. Someday!

    1. Pizza delivery girl sounds like a good one. I can imagine there are fun stories there. I think anything that puts you in contact with lots of people is going to generate some good stories.

  8. I loved this post! I’m glad I came by – I didn’t know Jennifer was guest-posting here today. 🙂 As for driving the wienermobile – I would have never guessed that. But, you know, I’ve worked at ice cream shops, rental car agencies, ski areas, delis, bookstores, eye doctor offices…it all adds up to those life experiences that make us who we are. 🙂

    1. Her coming here was a contingency of me sharing the wings recipe on her site. She came through in a big way!

      I was a seafood clerk in high school. I smelled like fish for two weeks after I quit the job.

      1. That reminds me. My husband has yet to make me my wings. Our friends stole our grill this past weekend for their Memorial Day party (which we did attend). That means I get wings this weekend!

  9. Such an interesting post. The Wienermobile! How cool! I don’t think I have had a job as interesting. One of my most favorite jobs was working on the campgrounds in Mississippi. Seemed like I was vacationing, but yeah, I was working….

      1. I agree. A vacation setting is always nice.

        And I believe KITT is the coolest car since the Wienermobile. It’s been around just a tad longer. Gotta give some props to the hotdog.

  10. Those are great life lessons and I think that they will probably provide more value than sitting in an air conditioned office. One of my jobs in my early teens was working at a boat rental place in 80 degree weather. The lesson I learned was that I didn’t want to be a boat jockey or work in the heat the rest of my life. Thus education, A/C office, and technology. 🙂

  11. What an amazingly fun experience! The most unusual job I ever had was being a shoe shiner for a corporate real estate company. My partner and I would travel to business parks and collect shoes to spiff up and clean. The coolest place? The FBI. I love all the points you make what this experience taught you. Just one question – is the wiener hollow all the way through? If so, is it storage, or can you hide out in there?

    1. Good question! It’s hollow all the way through. Mine (which is now retired) had seating in the middle and storage in the back part. That’s where we kept all our gear for events.

      Thanks for sharing your unusual job!

  12. Wow, that is super cool! I’d never even heard of the weinermobile! I will have to mention this to my son… Thanks for sharing this fun post! The insights are wonderful, too.

  13. I like #4 and #6 a lot. These are definitely all thought provoking 🙂 I definitely think breaking the rules every now and then will and has to happen, while human interaction has tons of benefits!

Say what you need to say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s