The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice


While the media reports a glimmer of light at the end of the long recession tunnel, many are still struggling to make ends meat. During tight times, each family member should make contributions. For example, now that teenagers have been freed from the manacles of their educational institutions, they can pursue summer employment. Acquiring some financial independence and forsaking their parent’s pocketbooks will be a confidence booster for them and greatly appreciated by their family.

Less teen panhandling equals less pressure on parents and there are other benefits too. The teenage years can be awkward. Working with others subtly forces socialization, builds networking skills and promotes camaraderie with people outside of their blossoming social circle. They may even begin to appreciate the meaning of hard work and the value of a buck.

To help your teen find work, enlist the help of family, friends and coworkers. Discuss with your teen viable job options, such as landscaping, car detailing, pet walking, tutoring, and babysitting. The Red Cross and other organizations offer babysitting courses that include CPR training. Go to or inquire at your local community center.


There are also seasonal jobs such as summer camp counselor and amusement park worker. Great America in Santa Clara ( is looking for help right now. Open positions include janitorial work, lifeguard duty, landscaping work, ride operators and more. They employ more than 2,000 seasonal workers and are the single largest employer of youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. For other opportunities, let your fingers do the walking and check out, and

Once your teenager has decided on an appealing prospect, rehearse a script for potential employers. Have a card or flyer including contact information, times available and price range. A dress rehearsal can’t hurt – no baggie pants or revealing attire. Rejection will be part of the process and dealing with it is a life skill best addressed in youth. Comfort and reassure the discouraged and at the same time encourage persistence. Suggest sending thank you notes and checking back in a week or so.

Before the real one, have a few mock interviews. Make sure your interviewee is prepared to answer questions such as: “Why are you the best candidate for the job? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Why are you interested in the posted position? And, do you have any experience in this field?” Responses should include words like: “responsible, reliable, hardworking, optimistic and polite.” Always go for positive answers.

If you’re not concerned about your teen’s finances, but don’t want idle hands becoming the devil’s workshop, volunteering is an altruistic alternative – offers information about volunteer opportunities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Predictably, summer will persistently fly by, but the memories of meeting new people, experiencing new adventures and feeling the pride of making money and serving others will stay with your young entrepreneurs long after the warm weather wanes.

Contact Margaret Lavin at


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