I would love it if I had enough money to not have to work at all. It will be at least a couple of years before that is a reality though. As it is I cannot afford to turn down any chance at money I have. It is for this reason that almost 100% of students flood the job market every May (post secondary) and July (high school). There are not many students in a position to go without a summer job of some sort. I would love to be able to take a road trip or spend a week at the beach but the opportunity cost would be too great.
This summer I could have gone back to the job I usually take in the summer. Financially it would have made the most sense. But I applied for a job closer to home and decided to take it instead. The decision has worked out well so far. The only second guessing comes on pay-day. I had the choice of what I wanted to do. And because I am spending the majority of my time there for four months I had to make the choice that would work best for me.
I live in a small town and while there are plenty of jobs (there is a want ad for chicken catchers that has been in the paper for as long as I can remember), the selection is less than any city. But even in my rural setting I can just about be sure I will get a job if I want one. The key is not to take the first job that accepts my application.
Summer students do not have much leverage in negotiations, so the best thing to do is sow your oats as vastly as you can. Apply to all the retail stores, apply at farms, apply for the township or city (what I am doing this summer), apply for sales jobs, factory jobs, etc. There is a lot of variety out there if you look for it. I recently spoke with somebody who told me that students in Toyota plants are making in upwards of $26/hour, which yes, did make me feel like an idiot for working for minimum wage. You can rarely ask for a higher wage, or more time off, or easier work but you can pick and choose the job that has the things you want.
Applying to as many places as you can is just a matter of keeping you options open. Worst case scenario is it costs you two pieces of paper and some ink. Best case is up to you.
The same can be said for part-time jobs during school. Don’t just work at the McDonald’s because you can. Also apply on campus, at a book store, a library. There is a plethora of places from which to choose.
So even if you have had a job for a while, apply to other places just to see what is out there. The grass is not always greener, but you will never know unless you look.