Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer 2008 Gloomy Job Market = Opportunity for Teens to Follow Their Passion

The economic situation this summer offers a terrific opportunity for teens to follow their passion. First, the situation:

In Harvey Mackay’s June 19th email column, he reported an economic statement about summer teen employment from The New York Times:

“The job market of 2008 is shaping up as the weakest in more than half a century for teenagers looking for summer work. Little more than one-third of the 16- to 19-year-olds in the United States are likely to be employed this summer, the smallest share since the government began tracking teenage work in 1948."

Second, the opportunities:

  • Teens whose parents wanted them to get a full-time paying job as a “rite of passage” – for example, at Starbucks or Wal-Mart – can point to the economic situation as a reason to use this summer instead to further their passion.

  • Teens who wanted an unpaid internship this summer and haven’t found one yet have more “ammunition” to convince an employer that an unpaid intern can help fill the gap in a company where budget cuts have eliminated job positions.

Now it’s up to the teens to make lemonade out of lemons. And that means brainstorming to think of “outside the box” ways to pursue passions. For example, for a teen who is considering a career as a veterinarian: Why not see if a local vet needs a free extra pair of hands? This is a terrific way to learn whether you can really put up with all those animals all day long. Better to find this out before you apply to veterinarian school.

Or a teen who is interested in architecture can ask to tag along for the summer with an architect working on a major building project. Up close and personal is the best way to find out what headaches an architect deals with – clients, builders, garbage removal, etc. – and what negotiating skills are needed to navigate this maze of frequently conflicting objectives.

Or let’s consider artistic fields. You want to be a painter and your parents are convinced in such a path you’ll starve. See if you can spend the summer being the unpaid assistant to a currently successful painter. During the time you spend with the painter, you should have ample opportunity to talk about the obstacles the painter faced before becoming successful.

And consider volunteering for an organization that does good works. Even though this may not be in a possible career field, you can learn a great deal by watching the dynamics of an organization. Even when you’re making the coffee, keep your eyes and ears open to learn as much as possible.

Make the summer of 2008 the summer you followed your passion. Hopefully you will learn a great deal about pursuing a current passion as a possible career path. And, if nothing else, you should have good material for writing application essays for college or grad school.

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job said...

Some interesting articles on the topic: