The older boy is currently looking for his first “real” job. But let me back up from that for a moment.
When he was three, we moved to our current town and I got a part-time job in the nursery of a health club. It was a great job for me (take note, moms of young kiddies!) because I got to take my kids to work with me AND I got a free health club membership. Back then, that nursery was hoppin’. I remember Martin Luther King Jr. Day that year: we had 52 kids in the one big room (with plenty of staff, but still!). It was chaos.
I worked there about three mornings per week, and the older boy adored helping with the babies. He was more than happy to bring us diaper bags when it was changing time, retrieve dropped pacifiers for us, or any other miscellaneous favors that an adult could ask of a three-year-old. For the next two years (until he went to school), he was an amazing assistant and proved to be a really awesome junior caretaker. Over the following several years, whenever we encountered children smaller than him, he was drawn to them like a magnet, getting down to their eye level to talk to them or just trying to make them laugh.
It was no surprise, then, that when he turned twelve, he was interested in babysitting. A boy babysitter, especially to parents of little boys, is a rare and valuable thing; teen boys–though often might rile up small children more than you might want if it’s right before bed–play with kids differently than girls do (generally; obviously this isn’t true in every case!). Little boys usually really enjoy being babysat by a “Big Boy”, and indeed over the past five years my son has proven to be a popular guy in the eyes of the kids he cares for.
But a babysitting job here and there doesn’t cut it when you’re in the middle of your teen years and you discover that you need a steady income of some kind.
About 18 months ago, he started cleaning the floors at the salon where I work, on Sundays. He gets paid very, very well for the two hours that he is there, and this pays for his car insurance.
Now that he’s seventeen and, thankfully, through the nightmarishly busy Junior year we just experienced, he is all about trying to save money to buy his own car and have a more vigorous social life.
He’s keeping the salon job (much to the younger boy’s dismay, because he wants it!) and has put the word out to his babysitting clients that he hopes they start to go out on dates more often, and now he’s looking to *truly* enter the world of work. The funny thing is, he started out with the attitude that he would be able to find a dream part-time job and pooh-poohed many ideas for employment that we tossed at him over dinner conversation. We finally had to explain to him that a teenager who claims to want to earn money can’t be so picky, and that although it’d be great to totally love his first job, it’s quite possible that he may have to do something that he doesn’t “feel up to” in order to rake in some coin. He claimed to understand what we were saying, and we opened up discussion about all the places within a five-mile radius of our house where he could start looking.
Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), this summer is supposedly the worst in 25 years when it comes to teens finding jobs.
Fortunately, there is a new deli opening up just across the street from our neighborhood. Our kid has been totally stalking the place (I’m so proud) since he noticed the contractors doing the build-out. He went online to the franchise website and printed the application, and has had it filled out for about a month, even stopping in twice to see if the owner was there, but no dice.
On Monday we noticed the “Now Hiring” sign in the window. Yesterday he rode his bike over and, as luck would have it, found the owner’s wife there, who proceeded to interview him and tell him that he’s probably in good shape, because they have twelve spots to fill. He says that he thinks she liked him (“What’s not to like?”, says his mother), and would call him soon.
Though he will continue to look around, please keep your fingers crossed that he gets this one. The location couldn’t be closer to our house, eliminating the need for car juggling! And maybe, just MAYBE, he might enjoy making sandwiches!