Enlisting Young Talent

Because of our family’s lengthy stint in grad school, it was a very, very long time before J and I got grown-up jobs. (Arguably, I never really did, at least not breadwinner-level career stuff.) So for years, I was grateful for the kindness shown to me when friends and connections would hire me for all kinds of little gigs: from pet- and housesitting as a teenager to formatting a textbook manuscript as a newlywed and scanning an ex-pat alum’s personal documents in graduate school. Cobbling these little income channels together helped in concrete ways, and helped to pass the time during periods when I was scrambling for “real” employment. So it’s been a pleasure now that we are settled to be able to hire young people to help with our lives while we help them.

We’ve hired middle school mother’s helpers and high school babysitters and dog watchers, like everyone. But we’ve also found a fourteen-year-old lawn mower who then passed the job — his first — on to his next youngest brother. I hired a freshman to make a duvet cover for Pippin’s birthday. A young engaged couple, friends of ours, have helped us out with housesitting and repairing our backyard deck.

Now we are at a point where, undertaking a project or seeing a need, we ask ourselves if it’s something we’d find challenging to do ourselves — like J fighting allergies to mow — or impossible — like me sewing a duvet cover. It seems like so many people fall into one of two categories with this dilemma: either they tackle projects themselves or they leave it to the professionals. But if we are going to need help, we try to look around our community and think about who has the skills and might enjoy the gig, especially among the young. I could choose to be embarrassed for farming these tasks out instead of attempting them badly myself, but I like to think I’m paying it forward just a little, one odd job at a time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s