Last month, Bonnie Bell, Principal of Bell Investment Advisors in Oakland, who is also the Director of Career/Life Coaching at Bell, was featured on NPR’s Marketplace in a segment dealing with teenagers and summer jobs. Marketplace is produced by American Public Media, focusses on the latest national and international business news, and is broadcasted by over 500 public radio stations nationwide. This particular segment was produced by Oakland Youth Radio, a regular contributor to American Public Media in matters relating to youth.
The question posed to Bonnie related to the research regarding teenagers and summer jobs that revealed because these jobs are harder to find then ever, teenagers are either not working at all or taking whatever jobs they can get. Most often, this means canvassing — collecting money for a cause, gathering signatures for a petition, or handing out marketing materials for a company or organization. Since the average length of time a teenager is able to tolerate one of these jobs is one week, will several of these short-term jobs look bad on his or her resume in the long run? Bonnie suggested that we need to back up and think about the real purpose of any job experience (in addition to earning money): to get some “real world” experience, with real supervisors and coworkers who can be a reference for you. “Your experience, whether positive or negative, teaches you something about the world and about yourself. It’s all valuable experience in that sense.”
For young people, several short-term jobs in a summer says more about the economy than it does about them. The important thing is that you can explain what you learned about yourself as a result of your experience. When it is time to begin developing a resume, it is conceivable that a teenager could group together a string of summer jobs as a “conglomerate of experience,” even something to brag about as very hard, frustrating work. “Even two-weeks’ worth of canvassing isn’t a complete waste,” she says, reminding listeners that two weeks of that experience is much better than two weeks of doing nothing.” In regard to canvassing in particular, Bonnie tells us, “You have to learn to think on your feet. You have to engage people.” Her advice acts as the message of the entire Jobstacles segment: “Young people have to turn their job history into a narrative that makes sense to other people.”
Bonnie has a Master’s degree in Counseling, a Master’s of Divinity, and over 20 years of experience as a career/life coach. At Bell, Bonnie is the force behind the firm’s Career/Life Coaching services. She and her husband Jim Bell, President and Founder of Bell Investment Advisors, are proud to be in the forefront of financial advisors who are integrating investment management, financial planning, and career/life coaching in order to help clients plan for and create a good life. Click here to visit Bonnie Bell’s Career/Life Coaching Blog, Making a Good Life Happen.
Read the entire Jobstacles feature here or listen to it below.