Finding That First Job

Submitted by PeterAKenny on November 5, 2019

My foster son wants to work. What kind of job should he get for starters and how can I help him?

I assume that he is younger than 18.  First jobs are important. They represent a child’s first contact with the work world outside the home, offering an education into basic human skills.  

You don’t need to attend job fairs or scour the newspapers. You help him the same way you would help your birth child.  If he is under age 16, I suggest you consider the needs of your friends and neighbors.  Jobs for babysitters, mowing lawns, helping with a move, and similar short-term tasks are usually available within the community. And they are often well paid.  One well-done job will lead to another. 

For youngsters 16 to 18, I recommend that you continue with the basics.  Help your foster child focus on those skills that involve getting along with others, resolving problems with co-workers and customers, doing an acceptably good job at cleaning, cooking, or meeting the public.  Let the specific career skills await graduation from high school.

Where might you find these jobs?  Most young people want to work in the fast food industry, a burger house or ice cream parlor where their friends congregate. Don’t look down on such jobs. That is where you learn to meet and get along with lots of new people.   Other possibilities include grocery stores, other retail shops, or seasonal work.

Your foster child will learn through trial and error how to meet the expectations of his employers.  He will have the opportunity to develop social skills outside the family in a give-and-take world. Getting along with “strangers” in a work environment can help develop a learned ability that cannot be taught in the classroom.  It can only come from experience.

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