Saturday, June 14, 2014

Jobs/Apartments at Miser Mom's Summer Camp

Thursday's Financial Curriculum Summer Camp at Chez Miser Mom focused on techniques for finding jobs.

We began with a presentation by K-daughter, currently gainfully employed as a lifeguard at a local pool.  We asked her how she searched for her first jobs.  She talked about walking through the local mall, filling out every single application she could find.  She also talked about asking her friends about jobs they knew about.  Both techniques led to early jobs.

Then we asked the boys which method they preferred.  They decided their friends didn't know about jobs, but they were also reluctant to think about filling out forms.

We then looked at the local classified ads to think about jobs the boys might consider, both now and in the future.  As for now, the boys found an ad for a Car Wash Place that had a telephone number.  J-son did a few role-playing sessions with me and K-daughter, where we traded off roles of employer and applicant, and then J-son called the Car Wash Place.  He was happy to tell me they said they would call him back when they had more information about jobs.
As for me, I was impressed by the number of ads looking for CDL Truck Drivers [= Commercial Driver's License truckers] in the paper.  There are some darned good salaries being advertised, and a heck of a lot of job ads.  I'm definitely going to keep an eye on that as my boys get older, even though I've sworn to myself that as long as they're under my roof, they'll ride bikes and not drive cars.  Maybe they can go straight from two wheels to eighteen wheels?
J-son is entranced by Zillow.
After looking through the classifieds, we talked about persistence.  In the previous week, the boys had turned in an application to volunteer at our local science museum; I sent them over on foot to check up on the status of that application. They came home bouncing with happiness: they're at the top of the list for next year!  (Or maybe for this year; they're not quite sure).  Whether or not they actually get this volunteer position, I'm glad they've had the experience of filling out forms and following through -- it's one small lesson among many that we'll be coming back to over the next few summers.

Friday's Financial Curriculum Summer Camp  was Zillow day.  This was a total win.  Ostensibly, this was a "how do you rent an apartment?" day (pointing not-so-subtly at the day I hope to boot these boys out of the nest into a place of their own), but it turned out to be one of the most engaging "camp" days we've had so far.  The boys had incredible fun playing on computers, lots of point-and-click entertainment.  They loved zooming through the "street view", trying to recognize streets they've biked past with me.  They loved looking at the pictures of rooms and houses.

Nigel also loves Zillow.  Can he find an apartment near his sister's house?

We got to talk about the difference between "rent' and "deposit' (reminding them of deposits they'd put down on watches and umbrellas in the days of Mommy Dollars).  We got to look at maps of the city and talk about location.  We spent a bit of time talking about costs of rent and utilities.  But mostly, they just has a ton of fun playing around with the computers.  Way fun.

I know that none of this will sink in permanently from this one week we've spent in our home "summer camp".  Skills like looking for jobs, or finding a place to live, or even grocery shopping -- these skills take practice, and that practice includes making mistakes, having successes, and learning from both mistakes and success.  My boys are 14 and 15.  I'm starting them on this process now, in the hopes that as I repeat this in the future, it'll get easier and easier.

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