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Career advice for young couple in their 30's
January 6, 2013 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Career advice for young couple in their 30's: What is their best path forward?

Here are their academic backgrounds, work histories, and other activities:

1. High school diploma (drum major in marching band)
2. BA, General Studies (coursework in Music, French, Psychology)
3. MA, Music Therapy
4. Other studies: about 30 credits shy of a BA in Psychology
5. Graduated from real estate school (did not take licensing test)
6. Top two personal interests: candle-making, calligraphy
7. Longest tenure in a job to this point: two years as an academic office worker
8. Highest earnings ever: $13/hr at the academic office
9. Has never worked/volunteered in the fields of Music, French, Psychology, Music Therapy, or Real Estate

1. High school diploma (very active with yearbook committee and newspaper)
2. BA, History
3. Other studies: one semester of law school
4. MFA, Photography
5. MA, Religious Studies (with some work towards doctorate)
6. Top two personal interests: blogging about politics/current events, Wordpress
7. Longest tenure in a job to this point: 18 months in the dairy section of a supermarket
8. Highest earnings ever: $250/job as a freelance photographer (less than $5k lifetime earnings)
9. Has never worked/volunteered in the fields of History, Law, or Religious Studies

They are unclear as to what kind of career they want to pursue. Assume they have not networked with past classmates and do not have any industry contacts. Based on their backgrounds, what is the best path forward? What would allow them to maximize their earning potential?
posted by 99percentfake to Work & Money (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a reason neither has pursued a career in what they got their master's degrees in?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:27 AM on January 6, 2013

Not to threadsit, but that first question might become a popular concern so...

The wife accepted the "academic office job" at the school where she got the Music Therapy degree. Initially she couldn't get her job search off the ground, so when the $13/hr job was offered (through a friendly connection), she accepted the position and discontinued the Music Therapy job search.

The husband only had a summer break between finishing the MFA and starting the graduate program in Religious Studies so he did not seek employment in Photography. When the Religious Studies program did not work out, he was so sick of the field that he did not want to pursue employment in that area.
posted by 99percentfake at 9:36 AM on January 6, 2013

Well, knowing where these people live might help. Can she study up and take the licensing exam in real estate? Can they afford to buy some sort of franchise operation? Are they willing to move to North Dakota?
posted by Ideefixe at 9:55 AM on January 6, 2013

You've mentioned education and interests, but in my opinion perhaps not enough about their various actual skills for people here to help give you some ideas.
posted by Dansaman at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

The wife could start tutoring music privately, looking for opportunities to use her music therapy degree (would she be able to be a public or private school music teacher in her jurisdiction?). Can she start her own business as a music therapist? I could see it doing well in a high socio-economic area that has a number of special needs children and parents able to spend money on them. She can approach existing therapy groups and offer to join their practices if they have a large client base.

For the husband, get a joe job and start volunteering on political campaigns or for labour organizations (whichever floats your boat...). If unionism is an interest then a unionised joe job - even part-time - would get his foot in the door. I am not sure exactly what Regious Studies entails - would it lead to a possible designation of therapist in your area? Does the husband have an interest in helping people on a personal level or is he more interested in systemic helping? Being a mediator/conciliator would be another option but again would have to find out what is required to be admitted to the local regulatory body and what he wants to focus on (labour mediations, family law etc).

I can see how the diverse education would be really helpful in both guidance counsellors/career councellors/librarians but those jobs already have a large pool of applicants. The best I would offer is looking for an entry-level job in a public or academic library (especially unionised) and work their way up.

I understand about wanting to have a "career" but with so much unrelated education and very little actual work or volunteer experience both resumes would look a little flakey and unfocused. Make sure each resume is tailored to the job applied for, drop unnecessary education - especially do not include dates for education, so the applicants appear younger as the lack of experience would be more usual to new graduates in their twenties and less of a turn off. (Sorry that sounds a little harsh).

I REALLY struggled finding a "career" after seven years of post-secondary education. Years later I found out the employment rate (including underemployment) in my area for my age group was something crazy, like less than 25% of people working and most of those in part time positions. What I thought was ME (and was crushing my self-confidence) was actually a really horrible job market. If nothing is tying the couple to their current place then they need to pick up stakes and move where the jobs are (or the barrier to enter their chooses professions are lower). It doesn't have to be forever but they need to add employment history to their resumes to get the career jobs they are looking for.
posted by saucysault at 10:13 AM on January 6, 2013

And don't even mention high school on your résumé. It is kinda odd you included it here, but maybe you were trying to be complete.
posted by saucysault at 10:21 AM on January 6, 2013 [4 favorites] sounds like your issue is that none of these fields you all studied in are good job prospect fields, so you ended up settling for what you could get. Just like the rest of us, really. And you probably need well paying jobs to pay off the whacking amounts of debt too, right? Unfortunately in the modern era, that might take some doing.

I don't know if either or both of you have an entrepreneurial bent, but the music tutoring idea or freelance photography as side jobs might keep you guys interested while you're holding down regular boring day jobs. saucysault's ideas sound right up your alley to me.

Unfortunately, I really have no idea what to tell you about finding a career job that makes good money and feeds your souls--that's hard to come by even when you know what you want to do, and it doesn't sound like either of you really have any idea. You kind of sound like the folks in Barbara Sher books that study a field for awhile and then drop it once they've mastered it, rather than consistently plugging away at one interest. I kind of have the feeling that you both are folks who just kind of fall into jobs rather than searching for something, and either you accidentally fall into something you love, or you don't. So you may just end up being people who keep switching around in jobs.

If the wife is willing to try to get into the middle management side of academia beyond just the office work, people who do that seem to do very well. I don't want to do it myself, and everyone keeps wondering why I don't (answer: GRAR people) but as a "settle for" career, people seem to like working in academia well enough. God knows I've heard plenty of "I had no intention of settling in this, it was just a job, but I got into it and now I'm vice chancellor of whatever" stories and those folks seem to have been happy with how that turned out. Given your academic background, that might actually fit somewhat for you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:31 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Haven't answered a question like this in a while, so will give it a go..Apologizing in advance as i'm not editing and the response switches between you/they/etc.

There are many ways for them to think about getting to this step, but here are some steps/things that I've done when the goal was "get a job in a new field" and "earn X amt minimum."

• They have been in the work force for at least some time period, so have them make a list of their top things they like/want in jobs and the top deal breakers. Reduce it down to few must haves and a couple deal breakers. It looks like money will be part of this list since that is part of the question (maximize earning potential).

• Think carefully as to what they are willing to do to get there. Is moving on the table? Starting at entry level? Going back to school? Everyone needs to answer this question for him or herself to identify the best answers or solutions to take (i.e. when I did this for myself, going back to school was absolutely off the outside city X was off the table...)

• Start doing research that meets with the criteria of the most interesting jobs for you. So let's pretend this person said "I want to interact with people" "do photography" "be paid X" ...maybe the possible jobs are freelance, work for a magazine, teach at a community college. Find people who do these things. It doesn't matter if you have connections now, you find people who do what you want to do.Think of it this way, people by nature like to help people, those who do not will forget you asked the question. So google, look at linkedin, ask friends of friends, post on forums, but find people who do what you want to do. (Here was my speech/approach because I'm a bit shy).Ask your key questions: You are trying to find out if it will meet your list of criteria. Does it have the salary (ask for a possible range so that you don't bother people ...ask if they know of fields that pay more/less etc. The list eventually should be narrowed in on one or two fields that meet their list and their background/a job should be pulled it if does not meet desired salary or has a deal breaker, etc.. Keep doing info interviews once this is narrowed down and now ask questions to help the job search. The questions you want to ask them are things such as: Can they review your resume so that you can present the hot words that recruiters/head hunters look for? Can the recommend other job titles?How did they or other people break in, so could they recommend things to do (i.e. take a class, volunteer, whatever), but it should come from people who are doing what you want to do, not people outside the field. The reason for asking this questions was how to make yourself into the best applicant for the job -- in presentation and background.

• Ask yourself if your current workplace has short cuts or steps to get there. For example, if a class was recommended, and you were okay with taking a class, see if your workplace pays for classes (some do). Or if it is related to the current job, ask if you can also take the part time job doing music therapy or teach one music class at the college....whatever it is that gets you one step closer that was on the list that people who do the job you want also did in the past.

• Hold on to the vision and start doing those things. Hold on to the vision like a dog holds on to his bone (there is inconsistency in what you list and you may want to subtly point it out, which is .... she couldn't get her job search off the ground, so when the $13/hr job was offered (through a friendly connection), she accepted the position and discontinued the Music Therapy job search..... If you get a job, that does not mean stop. It is transient: Keep.on.looking until you find the job that meets your criteria (the other one is transient, do not say it, but drop it if you find a job that lets you do what you want for $50 an hour or whatever the criteria is).

• If they get their dream jobs, have them hold on to their visions. What did they want out of these jobs? Salary X? experience Y? If their goals are $50 an hour and they are hired at $40, then they should ask what steps they need to move up in a year to get to salary X. At that job, do those things. Also post on forums or ask other colleagues: What makes job candidates in teh field desirable? Do all those things. If you don't get salary X in a year, apply to the next job and go for what you want (YMMV may vary for what you want and your job field and doing this).

• If for whatever reason they decide to pursue freelance photography or something similar and the goal is maximize earnings, always think per hour. So 20 hours a week at $10 an hour would be silly, but $50 to $250/hour or whatever they can do in their field that would make the time worthwhile would help them meet their goal (not saying that this is a problem, but I've seen some freelancers get into this according to some of the askmes on this topic). You can test it before going into pursuing it fully - can they get clients that pay the desired hourly rate?
posted by Wolfster at 10:44 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

Are these your relatives that wanted to do the MLM thing?

So ... I don't want to be harsh, because I do have some real advice, but I want to put this in some context for you. People who have spent a long time in school, getting masters degrees in this or that, are often intimidated by the "working world." They don't know how people get jobs. They don't know that they need to demonstrate skills. But they have advanced degrees, so they assume that they are deserving of a good middle-class job where they show up and receive a paycheck and benefits and don't have to think about it very hard. And it's very, very scary to them when they start to realize that it's not how it works. But then they question themselves, why can't they do it when other people have? At the same time, if they have spent 10+ years getting various degrees, they probably believe, on some level, that people who have non-intellectual jobs are chumps. They don't want to be the chump who goes to a workplace everyday. This is why the MLM scheme seemed attractive.

1. Childcare - if they already have a child, probably the easiest way for them to make money is for the wife to watch another child the same age. It's highly likely that she'd make more money doing that, versus finding some other job and paying for childcare themselves. Yeah, not much of a career, but would enable her to stay with their child and she could refocus her career efforts after the child reaches kindergarten.
2. Temp agencies - Do they present well? Can they dress professionally for an office? I assume they proficient in Microsoft Word, a little Excel would go a long way. Temp agencies are pretty used to former academics who need to transition to paid employment. So many employers use temp agencies for long-term gigs and it could give these folks exposure to what is out there in terms of employment. (If they decide to go this route, they should look into resources online for how to be a successful temp.)
3. This might be tricky as so many local governments are cutting back, but I think it's possible that the wife (and husband?) may be qualified for some adjacent-to-social-work civil service job. (Not as an actual social worker, but more clerical type of things.) Y'all are in the States? Have them comb through and the state/county/municipality job websites. It can take a while to get from application to employment, but may be worth it for them.

None of these are going to strike them as great career paths, but that's not the point. The point is to get them used to being employed so they can make better decisions about what sort of career they want to go for.
posted by stowaway at 12:03 PM on January 6, 2013 [15 favorites]

I agree with stowaway on everything but in addition to suggesting "the wife to watch another child", the husband could equally well take on this role. Especially because the wife sounds slightly more employable than the husband in the business world.
posted by hazyjane at 12:20 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I really don't think I can answer this question adequately without knowing anything about the people in question's priorities for a job (i.e. flexibility, working with people, working from home, commuting, location, etc). The only criterion you've given us is "maximize earning potential".

Well, then here are my answers:
He should go to law school at a top tier program and work as a lawyer.
She should get her real estate license and they should move to a high value real estate area.

Still, if these were their priorities, I don't understand why they would have wasted their time and money getting graduate degrees in programs that specifically do not offer paths to high income jobs. There must be more to this story - they must be willing to sacrifice a high income for job satisfaction, or they must have been at one point, perhaps they've changed their minds.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:27 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Try to get jobs in grocery work or as admin assistants or as anything. From there start thinking about career.

Civil service isn't a bad option. Law enforcement, education are generally hiring.

I really can't emphasize enough how important it is to just start working. Even at $350/week for each of you, that's more than $2k a month you give up for every month you spin your wheels.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:33 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't want to de-rail, but Iust wanted to throw out that most librarian jobs require an MLS or MSIS, so it's very hard to leverage an entry level job in a library in to a professional one. That's true even if you have a masters in another field. Plus, libraries are definitely not where you want to be if you're interested in maximizing your earning potential.

But otherwise, just agreeing that getting started with a job is more important than beanplating what career is ahead. It's a lot easier to get a job once you have one, so they can bootstrap themselves up the ladder easier that way.
posted by itsamermaid at 1:01 PM on January 6, 2013

Hmm, it doesn't really sound as if either one of them has actually focused on any field in particular so far and none of the qualifications sound particularly relevant to most fields of work. The closest is the real estate training, which, unfortunately did not result in a qualification....

Nor do the lists contain any information about experience, skills or strengths they might have that an employer would be willing to pay for. What I am trying to say is that none of the listed items really make them hugely employable in a range of fields, with the exception that both of them have managed to hold down a job for more than a few months. And you omit any performance evaluation for these more important jobs so we don't know if they just got by or excelled in these roles.

And if these lists are in any way consistent with what they present as a resume that's not very impressive, despite the higher education and advanced degrees, because neither one of them sounds like they have grasped what employers actually look for and may value. And being able to pass exams is only indicative of wider things, it does not warrant a job in and of itself.

So what they really should do is work out what they are good at. Once they've done that they can try to identify jobs that may play to what they are good at. And then they need to try to get into that kind of job. To do that they need to take their respective lists and turn them into a relevant resume. And take it from there.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:20 PM on January 6, 2013

I had accidentally deleted a bunch of my original comment explaining why I thought the wife would be able to secure employment as a nanny. Music therapy, french, and psychology are an appealing background for a potential nanny. She has enrichment to offer children and maybe has some basic academic knowledge about child development. Heck, she probably does arts and crafts. He does not have the same background.

Look, I know it's not cool to be gender essentialist about jobs, but I wouldn't hire him as a nanny. If he were the one with the background in music therapy and psychology it would be different, but I don't think random dude in his 30s is a great candidate for a nanny job, if those jobs are even available in their area.
posted by stowaway at 1:30 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ah, so may I assume that this was the couple that was "bothered by the assumption that they were uneducated"? There is a difference between educated and having in-demand job skills.

Stowaway had some good advice. Coming from a long academic tenure into the working world is a big adjustment. As an owner of a BFA (aka: not an entirely practical degree) myself, I'd also add that once you get into an unemployment slump it seems like you have and even higher wall to scale to get into that middle class job/life you think you're entitled to/ just paid a whole bunch of money for a couple pieces of lambskin. There comes a point where you've got to realize that America is not a meritocracy. That a good job will not come to you, that no one deserves anything more than anyone else.

So then the question becomes, what do you do with your newfound disillusionment? Jump into the rat race, or strike it out on your own?

I initially tried freelancing, doing graphic and web design. I was fresh out of school, lacking confidence, and having no business sense. I can tell you $250 a job is way too low. I won't tell you how cheaply I made some logos, but I realized freelancing is best come at as something you want to do, not as what else can you do.

I found gainful (i.e. clawed my way back into the middle class) employment through a temp agency, specializing in design. It has been such a good experience for me. Sure my career is somewhat lackluster compared to some classmates—there is always going to be a "coolness" to being self-employed. Taking a low-rung job will feel like admitting you've given up. It is also an amazingly comforting thing to know money is coming into your bank account at regular intervals. It's grown my self-confidence, and I'm now ready to take on a more challenging job with industry connections, an understanding of what I want in a job, and a comfortable savings net. You've got to start somewhere.

I have really no idea what jobs are related to religious studies, but I know wedding photography can be very profitable if you market yourself correctly. ($3000 a weekend) There are also people who will pay you to install wordpress and install a pre-fab template theme, and copypasta text. It seems crazy, but it's true.

The wife could certainly look into higher paying administrative assistant, executive assistant, office manager jobs, if for some reason music therapy isn't an option. If husband goes into wedding photography, ceremony musicians can make $500 a weekend in high season and you can make a nice packaged deal to clients, while she keeps her day job.

I recommended nursing school to either person in the last askme. I'm somewhat loath to add another degree into that stack, but I think it might be helpful to have VERY specific job training for either one of them. Just think more community college, less grad school.
posted by fontophilic at 3:18 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

I recommend a temp agency as a way to break into 'real' jobs. Admin, accounts, HR and so on.
In my experience, if you are bright and get stellar reports back from your temporary employers, the agency will be keen to bump you up and up into more responsible and higher paid positions.
I started out with no real work experience, opening envelopes and doing basic data entry, and in two and a half years took a permanent position managing accounts for a medium sized business.
posted by Catch at 5:37 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, for one thing, you might not want to mention high school activities in your job search if you're in your thirties. No one cares if you were involved with the yearbook. I was a very accomplished violinist. Now I work in television. Such is life - don't dwell on the glory days. And maybe I'm just a silly goose, but a couple in their thirties is not what I'd picture as a "young couple."

Their lack of hustle and networking do not speak well of their abilities to move forward in competitive fields. Networking is really important. Hustling and taking risks is really important. If you don't want "just a job" and you want to "follow your passion," you need to bust your ass! I don't want to make this about me, but trust me, I know about busting my ass. And taking risks. And networking.

But really, the biggest problem is these two have advanced degrees in fields with poor employment prospects.

If the objective is employment related to their degrees, they should try networking with classmates and figuring that out. Without location information, MeFi advice won't get more specific than that. If they want middle-class jobs that pay the bills, trying to find something in civil service is a good bet. You won't make a lot of money, but you will make steady money and have good health insurance.

I've also known some undermployed folks who found decent jobs working as teachers at private schools. Teaching isn't an easy job, and no one should do it if they don't genuinely want to teach, but it seems like it's easier to get a job at a charter or private school than a public school, so that might be worth exploring.

But really, if the question is: How do we realize our dreams and make a living? No one can answer that for anyone else. The beauty of the answer is that you had to figure it out for yourself.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 5:59 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Y'all, I don't think they're talking about highschool to potential employers. I think those are character notes for our benefit and edification. They say "these people started out as Highly Conscientious Good Citizens and now they're Bohemian Ne'er-do-wells - what went wrong?" I say this as a proud, card-carrying Bohemian Ne'er-do-well.

I think there's a fundamentally incorrect assumption at the heart of this question - that past performance accurately predicts future profitability. If these people are "unclear as to what kind of career they want to pursue," then their next step in becoming quajillionaires and founding a family empire is to GET CLEAR on what they want. Do *they* really want to "maximize their income potential"? Or do they just want to pay their loans off, buy a modest house near their similarly-overeducated friends, and raise ridiculously smart children?

That said, having looked at that list of yours several times, a crazy idea emerges: Comprehensive Indie Wedding Solutions. She obviously loves crafting and thinks she could be great at sales if given the chance; he's got photography and website-building talent. Something to work up to after a few years of establishing separate lines of calligraphy/wedding favors/photography/website work perhaps, but if they're looking for a dream to get behind, there's nothing like a family business. Assuming their relationship is stable, that is :)
posted by katya.lysander at 1:03 AM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Most of my friends had better work experience and dedication on their resumes when they graduated high school. Thinking about a career is not the point right now, they just need to find jobs. Temp agencies or retail are reliable starting points.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:05 AM on January 7, 2013

That said, having looked at that list of yours several times, a crazy idea emerges: Comprehensive Indie Wedding Solutions. She obviously loves crafting and thinks she could be great at sales if given the chance; he's got photography and website-building talent. Something to work up to after a few years of establishing separate lines of calligraphy/wedding favors/photography/website work perhaps, but if they're looking for a dream to get behind, there's nothing like a family business. Assuming their relationship is stable, that is :)

This is a great idea if you're the sort of person who has a lot of drive and ability to network and build a business. It does not sound like either person in this couple has the right personality to start and run a profitable business. And that's fine!

WeekendJen has it. Just find some sort of job and worry about the rest later. If this is the same guy who had the crazy money-making scheme in a previous question, he needs to come to terms with the fact that there are no short cuts and he just needs to, you know, work. No more degrees. No multi-level marketing schemes.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 8:34 AM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Thanks for these answers. What I am reading is that except for potentially teaching a class for a community college, there do not appear to be opportunities available to this couple beyond what they might have expected if they had stopped at their BA degrees (General Studies, History). And apart from one (serious?) suggestion that the man go to a top law school, most people feel that additional university-level education is not the best path forward.

I will type more later, but the "temp" suggestion was perfect -- it is something that all of the people trying to assist this couple had overlooked.
posted by 99percentfake at 12:55 PM on January 7, 2013

Well, all that education made them interesting people and kept them out of hard drugs so that is a positive outcome. : ). But yes, unless the education is free or they are living off trust funds any further investments in school should include a hard look at the ROI.

Honestly, it is great that you are trying to help this couple but sometimes well-intentioned help gets in the way. It teaches people to rely too heavily on others, to not use their agency or take responsibility for their own successes and failures. Learned helplessness is a big problem, especially for people that have failure to launch. I know it is hard to see someone flounder around. It sounds like multiple people are telling this couple what to do, getting all up in their grill with opinions and not giving them the space (or confidence) to figure it out on their own - even if it means they eat noodles and work shitty jobs for a while.

Maybe the best idea would be to tell them you believe they have the tools and resources to solve this problem themselves. And then really believe in them.
posted by saucysault at 5:57 PM on January 7, 2013

unless the education is free or they are living off trust funds any further investments in school should include a hard look at the ROI.

I was in the car when the OP's last post came through and couldn't respond, but this is exactly what I was thinking (even the part about the trust fund!).
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:54 PM on January 7, 2013

Okay, I compiled the suggestions into what was possible for short/mid/long term.

Short term - get money coming in (urgent)
Mid term - start building career track (important)
Long term - explore other goals/plans (once things are under control)

Short term
• Both: Put in for work with temp agencies
• Either: Test for evening/weekend work in public library (only takes four year degree locally)
• Man: Look for freelance photography gigs (weddings, etc.)
• Man: Install Wordpress on a freelance basis

Mid term
• Either: Academic – office job on a college campus
• Either: Civil service – general job
• Either: Law enforcement
• Either: Teacher for private school
• Either: Teacher in public school system
• Woman (with Man helping): Nanny/childcare/babysitting operation
• Woman: Civil service (something close to social work)
• Woman: Employment as an office worker
• Woman: Give private music lessons (part-time)
• Woman: Music teacher for a private/public school
• Woman: Realtor (part/full-time)
• Woman: Work for an established business doing music therapy (part/full-time)

Long term
• Both: Consider an all-in-one comprehensive wedding business (photography and music)
• Both: Consider starting some sort of franchise operation together
• Either: Consider teaching a class at community college
• Man: Consider volunteering with political campaigns
• Woman: Consider starting a music therapy business

I excluded two things that didn't fit certain limitations -- mediator/therapist and law school. And giving music lessons or doing extra childcare is also not possible right now given where they currently live.

I'm going to show them this thread.

Sorry if I asked the question in a weird way. Their paths have obviously been a bit meandering so I tried to include a chronological path, hoping it would give insight into their interests and skills. I think good people can get trapped in bad situtions and sometimes folks do not get practical advice so they keep spinning their wheels. But if people want to change, I still think they can....and if they are willing to do the work, other people are willing to help. Someone pointed it out and I definitely agree -- no one else can live their life for them.

In the short term, they will do whatever it takes to get money coming in while applying for "mid-term" positions. We will be paying for a professional resume service and making sure they have interview clothes.
posted by 99percentfake at 9:28 PM on January 7, 2013

Here is a seven week update (with partial resolution):

The woman has long-term plans to become a grade school teacher. A friend of the family (an established teacher with connections) is helping her develop that path. Meanwhile, she jumped into temping and was eventually offered a position in a professional office. This week she started there as a full-time probational employee. If things work out, after ninety days she will be eligible for benefits and earn $12/hr. She plans to work that job until the teacher situation takes off. In her free time she is also selling on eBay to earn some extra money.

The man is progressing more slowly. He initially wanted to consider a business, and when that fell through, he has been gradually cranking through his employment options. He has only registered with one of the four temp agencies, has not gotten any temp work, and continues to work the minimum wage attendant job in my business. He has not provided a draft resume or accepted any offers to get fitted for an interview suit. He did write an email to a company that takes pictures of people doing marathons or triathlons. They added him as a contact but told him they already had a lot of other contract photographers in the area.
posted by 99percentfake at 11:59 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the update! (I saw the update in the other thread, too.) That is so great that the temping thing led to some steady employment so quickly. And doing ebay to bolster income - good for her!
posted by stowaway at 9:08 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

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