Tuesday 3 August 2021

First job

Ads recently got his first paycheck. It’s always hard to tell from his inscrutable demeanor whether he found it exciting to have earned money through his own hard work, but he was definitely amused by what he would only think of as my ludicrous over-excitement :) He worked as a cricket coach for a summer camp that his cricket academy was running for 8–12-year-old kids. 

The work started more than a month ago with designing and printing flyers and doing outreach. There were a lot of Zoom calls to discuss the revenues, expenses, and likely profits (how many lanes do we need, what is the daily rental we need to negotiate for, what should be the camp fees, etc). Ads solemnly biked over to the Indian grocery store nearby to stick the flyers in their window and asked me to socialize the camp in my desi WhatsApp group :) The boys made a list of likely prospects and called them to gauge interest for the camp and register those interested. They planned the daily and hourly schedule, including a “Friday Fun Day” that seemed to include playing everything other than cricket! On the days of the camp, they had to go to the academy early to sweep, mop, and sanitize the premises, and they stayed back after the kids had left to clean up again. 

The boys were doing this for the first time and they made plenty of mistakes, which hopefully they have learned from. They will be savvier and more organized the next time around. They started the planning process too late (the marketing effort should have started immediately after spring break, and not in June when most parents have already signed their kids up for various activities). They didn’t have a large enough “pipeline” and struggled to get registrations. They didn't harness social media to get the word out. Finally, they realized that planning something on paper (or a Google sheet!) is easy; on-the-ground execution is much harder! 

I was happy that Ads did things that were completely out of his comfort zone. Cold-calling people, trying to sell them something, doing the grunt work of follow-ups, dealing with younger kids for several hours a day, cleaning and organizing- each of these activities is tough in its own way, and especially so for our kids who are cocooned in a comfortable bubble most of the time.

I'm hoping that in the next few years he will work at other jobs that are not in the comfy white-collar zone, especially those that are customer-facing in service industries. Restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets….I want him to bag groceries, fold clothes, work at a cash counter. I really believe that these are tough jobs that will be a fertile learning ground for young adults, and part of me wishes I had had the opportunity to work at such places when I was younger. So maybe I am projecting all that onto him, but with the best of motherly intentions :)

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