Gotta say I’m mighty proud of my two older kids at this moment. To start out, my oldest daughter Ashley (22) has been working as an admin assistant to a restaurateur in the local area and is making good money on an incredibly flexible schedule. She does almost all of the work from of her apartment or here at my house (lots of scanning and paperwork). Definitely a good gig that offers her the ability to earn money without adversely affecting her study and school schedule. She was recently invited to train as a backup hostess at one of his area restaurants and surprised us all by offering the position to her brother instead. Darn selfless and the action of a real mensch.
To put this in context, Gareth (19) has been doing a lot of work this summer as a manual laborer. Word got around in the community quite quickly and he’s been helping with garage and attic cleanup, lawn care, and similar physical labor. Satisfying but hard work and he’s really earning that wage he’s negotiated with the various “middle aged women” clients he’s picked up (his terminology, not mine, though accurate!). Still, while physical labor is satisfying, it’s not very social when you’re out in the yard by yourself, digging up a dead tree stump or clomping about in an attic storage space and dragging boxes to the curb.
Working at a restaurant is a much better, more social and more lively gig. At this point Gareth’s worked his hosting job for two nights in a row and while he’s still learning the ropes, he is making better money and having a much, much better time at work. His pay includes a good hourly wage plus a share of the evening’s tip pool and free food too. Teen boy. Free food. Yeah, a dangerous proposition! Last night alone he had three entrees after they closed up, which would have cost about $45 off the menu. It’s great to have a young man’s metabolism, ya know!
Putting in 3-4 hours a night, however, is wiping him out and it’s good to see. There’s something about being young and being able to see the pros and cons of different kinds of work that I believe serves as an excellent motivator to plan out your life. Nothing like asking “is this what I want to be doing in 10 years? 20?” to help focus life goals. And if he wants to stay in the restaurant business, I’m completely okay with that too. I have many friends in the biz, ranging from shift managers to chefs and owners. It’s a tough business, but there’s a lot of fun to be had too if you have the right attitude and a good shift crew.
Meanwhile, I’m scheming when we can all surprise him and go in for a meal. If nothing else, it’s sure to embarrass him and, speaking as a Dad, that might be worthwhile all by itself. 🙂