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Buffett_Groupie
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Hi, all respectful value investors:

 

Kindly let me know if your or any organization you know is hiring summer student for 4 months starting May.  My son is a first-year university student and looking for a summer job.  He's willing to do any type of office or field work before resorting to the last resort of working at a fast-food joint.

 

IMHO, a first-year university student's choice is very limited regardless what their major is because initially they have nothing to offer to the employer and adds no value to the company.  The only useful skill I can see is his expert use of various social media apps.  Hence, it's understandable for employers to give him skunk work such as photocopying, data-entry, data-cleansing, cold-calling, data-collection on the web, regardless his intelligence level.

 

By the way, he gets more thrills from crashing a professional baseball game in Korea (https://youtu.be/Ke_XgF35LSg) and getting 80,000 hits on YouTube than meeting Buffett in person.  Can't understand the teens nowadays  >:(

 

There's no need to lecture him on pursuing one's passion or doing what he loves.  Any other tips on helping a teenager find a first job are helpful and will be greatly appreciated. 

 

Thanks!

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I have zero advice on getting an office type job, but I'd encourage a more blue collar summer job.

 

I painted houses one year and it was an excellent experience.  We were paid a bonus by how fast we worked and how well the job was done.  We could work as many hours as we wanted and to a college kid the cash was just rolling in.  The job was great, it taught me discipline, how to work hard, and that hard work often results in monetary gain.  I also learned a skill that's useful even now as an adult.

 

Another summer I worked in an auto parts factory.  The money was decent, the work was boring, but it gave me a perspective I could have never received otherwise.  I got to know fellow workers, I understood why they had careers in a factory, and learned the types of things I should avoid in life if I didn't want to find myself stamping out car doors the rest of my life.

 

College graduation in a decent field is practically a guaranteed coffee grabbing, cube sitting type job.  Use the summers in college to gain experience you'd never get otherwise.  Your kid seems like he might enjoy something off the beaten path.

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I have zero advice on getting an office type job, but I'd encourage a more blue collar summer job.

 

I painted houses one year and it was an excellent experience.  We were paid a bonus by how fast we worked and how well the job was done.  We could work as many hours as we wanted and to a college kid the cash was just rolling in.  The job was great, it taught me discipline, how to work hard, and that hard work often results in monetary gain.  I also learned a skill that's useful even now as an adult.

 

Another summer I worked in an auto parts factory.  The money was decent, the work was boring, but it gave me a perspective I could have never received otherwise.  I got to know fellow workers, I understood why they had careers in a factory, and learned the types of things I should avoid in life if I didn't want to find myself stamping out car doors the rest of my life.

 

College graduation in a decent field is practically a guaranteed coffee grabbing, cube sitting type job.  Use the summers in college to gain experience you'd never get otherwise.  Your kid seems like he might enjoy something off the beaten path.

 

+ 1.  I have a technical job that I very much enjoy (think a combination of food safety, epidemiology, and toxicology).  In high school and college, I had some opportunities to work white collar intern jobs, like many of my friends.  However, I chose to spend my summers in high school and in college doing plumbing work, electrical work, masonry, and finished carpentry.  (In hindsight, it is clear that these white collar intern jobs were of no use to my friends when looking for real jobs...they were basically a coffee/xerox queen.) 

 

I view these trades as essential life skills, and think that every man (and women) should be able to do basic plumbing, electrical, masonry, and finished carpentry.  These skills will save you a bunch of money over your lifetime.  And as Oddball noted above, I met some folks during this work that I would never have met otherwise.  To this day, they remind me of the impact that a poor decision can have on your life.  They also remind me how lucky I was to be born in the United States...

 

 

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I have zero advice on getting an office type job, but I'd encourage a more blue collar summer job.

 

I painted houses one year and it was an excellent experience.  We were paid a bonus by how fast we worked and how well the job was done.  We could work as many hours as we wanted and to a college kid the cash was just rolling in.  The job was great, it taught me discipline, how to work hard, and that hard work often results in monetary gain.  I also learned a skill that's useful even now as an adult.

 

Another summer I worked in an auto parts factory.  The money was decent, the work was boring, but it gave me a perspective I could have never received otherwise.  I got to know fellow workers, I understood why they had careers in a factory, and learned the types of things I should avoid in life if I didn't want to find myself stamping out car doors the rest of my life.

 

College graduation in a decent field is practically a guaranteed coffee grabbing, cube sitting type job.  Use the summers in college to gain experience you'd never get otherwise.  Your kid seems like he might enjoy something off the beaten path.

 

I totally agree. For two summers when I was in college I worked for my city's street department, which meant riding on the back of a garbage truck. Talk about something that will motivate one to study!

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I have zero advice on getting an office type job, but I'd encourage a more blue collar summer job.

 

I painted houses one year and it was an excellent experience.  We were paid a bonus by how fast we worked and how well the job was done.  We could work as many hours as we wanted and to a college kid the cash was just rolling in.  The job was great, it taught me discipline, how to work hard, and that hard work often results in monetary gain.  I also learned a skill that's useful even now as an adult.

 

Another summer I worked in an auto parts factory.  The money was decent, the work was boring, but it gave me a perspective I could have never received otherwise.  I got to know fellow workers, I understood why they had careers in a factory, and learned the types of things I should avoid in life if I didn't want to find myself stamping out car doors the rest of my life.

 

College graduation in a decent field is practically a guaranteed coffee grabbing, cube sitting type job.  Use the summers in college to gain experience you'd never get otherwise.  Your kid seems like he might enjoy something off the beaten path.

 

+1

 

I would avoid the typical fast food job as I don't you get much in the way of autonomy or real skills, but I've never worked at one before so maybe I'm just biased.

 

When I was in highschool and college I worked several jobs and received great experience and learning from most, but I was also wired to be drawn off the beaten path and make my own way. Some of the jobs I had looking back were the following:

 

1) Construction - Learned the satisfaction of building something with my hands and going to bed physically exhausted every day. Also learned that I probably wouldn't want to do it for a lifetime, but it was good pay for a teenager. 

 

2) Sales - I sold concessions at the local coliseum for sports games, concerts, shows, etc. Was paid solely on commission and it was all under the table, in cash, every night. Learned how to get attention of patrons, hustle, and sell more than any of the others in the arena. I also learned how to discriminate against opportunities that would be a waste of my time as I could choose which events to show up for. I made really good money for only working 5-10 hours per week.

 

3) Waiter - Probably the most typical job I held, but you learn similar form of learning to sell and hustle. You learn to upsell patrons, provide a good service, and earn to earn your tips, double-check orders that go out, dealing with stress, dealing with rude people, etc.

 

4) Flipping laptops - My aunt worked for a company that often had sales deals to clear inventory of old laptops of certain builds. Friends and family could by these things for 50 - 70% off. I'd regularly buy a few new laptops and flip to classmates for a profit. This obviously taught me how to assess and get comfortable buying and holding inventory with the intent of selling for a profit, determing how much money to risk at any one time, how to sell the laptops, etc. It also taught me the value of capital - flipping 1 laptop was the equivalent of 10-15 hours of labor at other jobs I could have, but that I didn't have to work anywhere near 10-15 hours to sell one. The value of the capital I used to buy those laptops was astronomical given the other opportunities available to me at the time. 

 

Unfortunately, I don't have any real advice on getting the job for your son, other than to recommend that he stay away from the typical, boring, no skill jobs people his age get (like fast food) and look for something more atypical, more physical, and maybe less certain in pay. I feel that the experience from those opportunities teaches you more and gives you a better skill set and a higher level of confidence in yourself, but I may just be incredibly biased here because it worked for me.

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I have zero advice on getting an office type job, but I'd encourage a more blue collar summer job.

 

I painted houses one year and it was an excellent experience.  We were paid a bonus by how fast we worked and how well the job was done.  We could work as many hours as we wanted and to a college kid the cash was just rolling in.  The job was great, it taught me discipline, how to work hard, and that hard work often results in monetary gain.  I also learned a skill that's useful even now as an adult.

 

Another summer I worked in an auto parts factory.  The money was decent, the work was boring, but it gave me a perspective I could have never received otherwise.  I got to know fellow workers, I understood why they had careers in a factory, and learned the types of things I should avoid in life if I didn't want to find myself stamping out car doors the rest of my life.

 

College graduation in a decent field is practically a guaranteed coffee grabbing, cube sitting type job.  Use the summers in college to gain experience you'd never get otherwise.  Your kid seems like he might enjoy something off the beaten path.

 

+ 1.  I have a technical job that I very much enjoy (think a combination of food safety, epidemiology, and toxicology).  In high school and college, I had some opportunities to work white collar intern jobs, like many of my friends.  However, I chose to spend my summers in high school and in college doing plumbing work, electrical work, masonry, and finished carpentry.  (In hindsight, it is clear that these white collar intern jobs were of no use to my friends when looking for real jobs...they were basically a coffee/xerox queen.) 

 

I view these trades as essential life skills, and think that every man (and women) should be able to do basic plumbing, electrical, masonry, and finished carpentry.  These skills will save you a bunch of money over your lifetime.  And as Oddball noted above, I met some folks during this work that I would never have met otherwise.  To this day, they remind me of the impact that a poor decision can have on your life.  They also remind me how lucky I was to be born in the United States...

 

 

I'd give the same advice.  I sit at a desk all day now, but as a teenager in highschool and for my first few years of college I worked for a carpenter (framed houses), as a construction worker (paving roads, setting curbing), as a landscaper (building brick patios, stone walls, fishponds, etc), and I spent one summer as a splice technician climbing telephone poles for NYNEX (Verizon now) back when everyone still had land lines.  I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.  A desk job is better than flipping burgers, but if he can find a job where he can learn valuable skills that he won't learn later in life that would be the best IMHO.  He'll likely be able to get internships in his field his junior and senior years so this year and maybe next are really the only opportunities he will have to do these other things.

 

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Since there are so many extolling the virtues of non-office jobs, I'll take the other side on this.

 

I had to (was forced to ;) ) do physical jobs in high school and a bit in college. Was a total waste of time and hated them totally. Would have been much more useful to study more, do more programming, etc.

 

It very much depends on the person. You and your son know best what would work for you guys.

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I think my one year in the army was great for my next 8 years. I had nightmares for 8 years from that(wrong unit) will teach about time management and group psychology and flowing orders. So a cool army summer camp would be super. Went from a c student to a A- in one year :D

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Since there are so many extolling the virtues of non-office jobs, I'll take the other side on this.

 

I had to (was forced to ;) ) do physical jobs in high school and a bit in college. Was a total waste of time and hated them totally. Would have been much more useful to study more, do more programming, etc.

 

It very much depends on the person. You and your son know best what would work for you guys.

 

Agree - I would focus on building my resume if I knew what I wanted to do after school. Whether that's trying to join a professional club, a community service organization, independent study etc. And if you are in a leadership position (or works toward one) or do something distinctive you are setting yourself up for a great discussion in an interview.

 

You can also do manual labor in addition to a professional job or one of the other activities I noted above.

 

 

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I want to second whoever said he needs to look on his own.  My parents put the onus on me for all jobs except my first.  I was 15 and my mom had to drive me to the grocery store where I was a grocery bagger because I didn't have my license at the time.  I worked like crazy there and was promoted twice in a few months.

 

A few years later I wanted a job doing computer stuff during the summer.  I typed up a resume and letter and went in person to a number of different companies that I found in the phone book that all had tech-y type names.  Looking back that was a ballsy move, but it was good experience.  No job from it, but some interesting conversations.  Most places were just impressed that a kid showed up trying to pitch themselves for a job.

 

Before anyone told me it wasn't correct my m.o. for finding a job was to go to an establishment, ask to see the owner, give them a resume and pitch myself.

 

Kids need to know how to sell themselves.  There is a kid three doors down from us, he's in 3rd grade.  He came to sell popcorn, he had worked on a small pitch with his dad and it was killer.  The kid was nervous, but I give him credit, he explained who he was, why he was there, what he was doing, and why I should buy popcorn.  He didn't stop there, he then went on to explain (briefly, this is key) what the money raised would be used for.  I was extremely impressed, I'll make a blanket prediction, this kid is going to be VERY successful in life.  Knowing how to pitch oneself is essential.  View every interview as a sales call, you are selling yourself to the company.  The company has some problem they are looking to solve and they think you might be able to solve it, show the company you can.  You also need to identify their problems and issues and sell to those pain points.

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Let me also echo the sentiments of him working/selling himself without your help.

 

Being given something doesn't mean nearly as much as earning it yourself.

 

But I think he also needs to see the different options for himself. I worked retail for a long time and it gives you a different perspective on dealing with people and interacting with them.

Spoiler alert: the customer is NOT always right.  :D

 

Maybe you'll be lucky and he will find a job in finance. But be prepared as a father. They will teach him there is a whole world outside of Berkshire Hathaway.  Are you prepared for that? ;D

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Am I the only guy who doesn't have a picture with Buffett or Munger? 

 

I'll third the comment on having your son look on his own.  You have to throw that kid out into the fire and let him stare into the abyss and chew on some glass.  Helping him isn't any help to him although it's nice that you care about your son.  I'm going to have to stop myself from doing the same thing for my kid.  There's a nice middle ground where you provide support without getting too involved.

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This advice is given a bit directly to the OP given some assumptions. 

 

1) If your son has a picture with Buffet and attends NYU, it likely means that either you have a good chunk of resources at your disposal or you're quite well connected into the value investing community

2) Working off this premise, this means that you're likely talking/conversing with the right people already

3) I think that some blue collar work would be good in your particular instance as your son will truly understand the value of a dollar.  Too many kids go through life thinking that money comes out of ATMs not earned via hard work.  I have a young relative who didn't understand that getting 2 bowls of hearty beef noodle soup, 2 appetizers, and 2 sodas for $20 was a good deal.  He's never had to make minimum wage and never really have to watch what he spend.  Buying anything was all about getting money from his parents.  He's gotten much better over time as he learns to budget etc.  Your kid will learn a ton about how hard it is to earn a buck flipping burgers, washing dishes, or helping out in a Chinese take out.  I highly recommend the last option.  Now, if you're like me who slaved away in the Chinese food business from the age of 11 to 22, you're in desperate need of an office job and white collar association.

4) To sum up 3), if your kid has never had to worry about money, then he should get a blue collar job, flipping burger, washing dishes, construction, etc.  ideally with a difficult boss, not with a bunch young 20s who squander their earnings on recreational drugs and alcohol.  If your kids has been doing blue collar work his whole life, he is in desperate need of office work/white collar polish. 

5) Follow the advice of Oddball and others on initiatives for job searches.  They are spot on. 

6) I'm going to get some flak for this.  But as a last resort, you can probably reach out to a few smaller managers and offer investments in return for an internship.  Look what good is having resources if you don't utilize them.  As a college student, I had to work 60 hours a week during the winter and summer breaks in order to help make ends meet for my family.  Despite good academic performance, this stunted my career development to a great degree.  I did not know how to function in an office setting, I did not know how to conduct an interview.  The white collar world was really just "this other world" that was very different from a hot kitchen, sharp knives, and lots of yelling during dinner hours.  I would've gladly taken any edge/help I can get from my family.  Again, this is the last resort if your son can't get any traction.   

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Hi, all respectful value investors:

 

Kindly let me know if your or any organization you know is hiring summer student for 4 months starting May.  My son is a first-year university student and looking for a summer job.  He's willing to do any type of office or field work before resorting to the last resort of working at a fast-food joint.

 

IMHO, a first-year university student's choice is very limited regardless what their major is because initially they have nothing to offer to the employer and adds no value to the company.  The only useful skill I can see is his expert use of various social media apps.  Hence, it's understandable for employers to give him skunk work such as photocopying, data-entry, data-cleansing, cold-calling, data-collection on the web, regardless his intelligence level.

 

By the way, he gets more thrills from crashing a professional baseball game in Korea (https://youtu.be/Ke_XgF35LSg) and getting 80,000 hits on YouTube than meeting Buffett in person.  Can't understand the teens nowadays  >:(

 

There's no need to lecture him on pursuing one's passion or doing what he loves.  Any other tips on helping a teenager find a first job are helpful and will be greatly appreciated. 

 

Thanks!

 

Don't do your son's work for him.  Tell him to get a job and see how it goes.  He's a university student - I consider that an adult.  If he was interested in getting hired by anyone here, maybe he would've joined and started messaging people?  I'm guessing he hasn't done that, so maybe you can draw some information from that fact.

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