My first job was pumping jelly into doughnuts. Really. I only did it for a week during the grand opening of the shop there in La Canada in southern California. I was 16. I’ve had many jobs since then, from field worker to educator. However, not only the current economy but the demographics are making it increasingly difficult to land that first job. That and attitudes.
My dear friend, a Coast Union graduate, told of her youth here in Cambria. “Almost all the girls were maids at the hotels, especially if you weren’t lucky enough to land a job at a restaurant. Even some of the boys did maid work.” I certainly did my share of it through life. Heck, I’m still doing it now as an independent contractor.
But, some kids have that aptitude and some don’t. Not to mention, there aren’t a lot of those positions available any more, it seems. At least one rarely sees them advertised.
You REALLY need a certain aptitude to work in the restaurant business. You can’t talk like a typical teen — “Uh?,” “Yeah,” and my personal favorite, “Whu?” While Linn’s and some other restaurants do an admirable job of employing these kids, there’s only so many positions available. If you’re not on it, time-wise, you lose.
What about field work? I mean, there’s nothing like a little physical labor to let you know you’re alive. It’s good to get dirty. I don’t know how many kids would even consider it or, if they did, know who to contact to apply for work.
Having lived in Cambria most of my adult life, I know how creative you need to be. Maybe that’s what’s lacking — a sense of entrepreneurialism. I realize it’s hard to teach that characteristic, but it’s sorely needed.
My friend has worked for himself all his life. He’s been very suggestive in our conversations. “How about buying a little trailer and hauling stuff?” “Covered.” “How about going to auctions and looking for equipment on the cheap that you might use to start a new career, heavy equipment, stuff like that?” “How do you learn to use it and how do you know if you’ll like it?” But, these are all ideas to consider.
Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with just enough opportunities to keep my head above water. I don’t think I’d make it in a nine to five, minimum wage job at Cambria prices but, I always make it by. It’s tougher for kids who have no experience, no ideas, little opportunities…How do we help them in this day and age?
My friend’s latest idea was for Zachary to just offer the skills he has — abilities to move heavy things, drive places, take care of animals … It’s a place for kids to start who may be struggling figuring out what to do. List what you like to do, what you CAN do and see, outside the box, what you can make happen. One never knows what niche you may be filling!
E-mail Lady Tie Di, aka Dianne Brooke, a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees, at tiedi@att . net, or visit her Web site at www.ladytiedi.com.