Help Your Teenager Get a Job!

(Be Brave is a website to encourage
less fear and more courage! Take
a look!)

Eleanor Roosevelt

I am beginning this post with the ONE THING…Be Brave project label. It takes more than a little courage to be a teenager. I know I don’t want to do it ever again!

So your child has reached that age where he/she needs to go out and work for someone else. Not a relative or a close friend that is doing you a favor by taking said teenager off your hands for a few hours a week. But a real honest to goodness I talked to the guy and he said he would call when he needed me! job! It might be for pay or it may just be as a volunteer but still he/she had to sell them self to the guy and he/she actually did it! You are very proud.

At least you will be when it actually happens. But let me tell you there is a lot more to it than it seems. I know, you got a job at that age and it wasn’t that hard. I mean you just walked in gave the guy a smile and everything was just hunky dory! Excuse me ‘dear heart’ but you just don’t remember. Could it be that your parents helped you out…just a little bit?

Finding a volunteer job turned out to be a lot harder than we thought. It took some searching online and some hands on assistance from mom and dad. Teenagers are frightened of this and you will probably need to look over their shoulder until they have completed and sent the first letter or email. (A phone call to the person that is in charge of the teen volunteers is alright in this case…after all we are responsible for who we let them associate with plus you will probably guarantee a call back to your teen). Trust me, this is true even when they get ready to apply to college or for scholarships. They are living in big bodies but inside they just don’t feel that grown up. The ultimate push is probably going to have to come from you…and they are not going to appreciate it as much as you think they should.

Last week when my grandson and I went out in my car (he is too young to drive) to look for a volunteer job, I could tell he was not feeling very brave. He is strong and does a lot of brave things…he is a search and rescue volunteer and helped run a camp for new recruits this last summer. But this was different. We sat in the parking lot and he hesitated getting out of the car.

What are you going to say? I asked. He shrugged his shoulders and looked at me. I could tell he was looking for some direction.

This is the conversation we had:

Listen to me this is what you are going to say when you find the person that is in charge. Hi, my name is (fill in the name). How are you today? The other person will probably say Hi (name), how can I help you. Then you will say I am looking for 10 hours of volunteer work. I need it for an online class I am taking. Can you help me? The answer will be either YES or no. If it is no, I told him, don’t worry about it, it will be easier the next stop.

I will play the part of the other person I told him. And we role played the interview. I sent him off to do what needed to be done. In this particular case, we got the job done in one stop. But another time it might be harder and that is the next step.

I knew that I should not go into the interview with him but I was so tempted. I have done this before a couple or three times and I have never accompanied the teen. Each time I hold my breath and wait. We don’t want our children to have a hard time…ever. But we all know that we learn best from the hard times and the good times just glow and become better and better. So being a grandmother that helps raise grandchildren…in our case it does “take a village”…lets me revisit my child rearing years. I just thought I would pass along a few words of wisdom from a woman that knows what “getting a job” means to a teenager. Incidentally my husband was a high school principal, I was a teacher and I have raised 3 children.

There is some very good information on students applying for college and teen volunteers in the September issue of Woman’s Day Magazine. I found the articles after I had written this post. I would encourage you to read them.

Note: In this community here in Oregon teen volunteer help serve free lunches during the summer. My grandson will work on packing free backpacks for children that cannot afford them. Students can apply to the Explorer group run through the Washington Country Sheriff’s office. These are the young men and woman that assist in search and rescue both here in Washington County and on Mt. Hood in Multnomah County. I am sure other opportunities are available through out the country. That is where those computer online searches and phone calls begin.

Good luck!



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