How Can Unqualified 22-Year-Old Kid Get a Job in Brooklyn?
August 27, 2017 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Kid is 22, some college, very presentable, smart, articulate, no work experience at all because depression + privilege + misunderstanding of world. How to advise kid how to get his first job in NYC? He's in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. NYC Youth programs are for underprivileged kids, which he is not.
posted by Native in Exile to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Apply for a job as a busboy or a dishwasher in a restaurant. Or at an agency as a day laborer. Or apply at a regular temp agency and be willing to do any job. I once got a job putting labels on bottles of hand lotion that way.

Oh, and since he's in NYC, he could be a bike messenger if those are still a thing. Also, companies that sell Good Humor, Italian ices, etc., hire people to work street carts for them.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:38 AM on August 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


My husband got into help desk work at a similar stage in his life, although he used family connections to get him in the door. Anyone else in the family work in tech and could refer him for help desk or mail room or such?
posted by cabingirl at 8:46 AM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


If he doesn't have any connections in tech, he could always get a job in a call center and work up from there. My first non-retail job was in a call center that did support for Verizon DSL ("oh, you're not in India?"). The pay is crap, but they'll hire almost literally anyone.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:45 AM on August 27, 2017


What about AmeriCorps VISTA, an AmeriCorps state program, or some other stipended voluntary program? AmeriCorps programs are voluntary programs where participants are paid a small stipend through the federal government to work at a qualified nonprofit for one year. AmeriCorps VISTA positions tend to be office jobs (volunteer management, development, communications, program coordination etc.) and most prefer that you have a college degree although I don't think it's universally required. AmeriCorps state programs are more likely to be direct service jobs (working at a food pantry, employment services program, homeless shelter, etc.) and generally don't have the same college degree preference. Some AmeriCorps positions are more competitive than others, but I bet if he was interested and could articulate his interest in the mission of the program he was applying to he could find something.

We had AmeriCorps VISTA members at an organization I used to work for, and they were generally fresh out of college with little-to-no professional experience. The VISTAs who took the experience seriously were able to build professional skills and begin to develop a network. When their year was up, most moved on to good upper-entry level jobs at other nonprofits and in some cases, for profit companies.

The catch, of course, is that the stipend is likely not enough to pay for housing in Brooklyn. Given his current situation, I assume that he's already living with family so maybe he could make it work for a year?
posted by cimton at 9:51 AM on August 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I know lots of young adults in a similar position who got job training and experience through Job corps.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 10:50 AM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


A job as a barista sounds like a good way to learn to show up, on time, work reasonably hard, be good to customers, and get over privilege. Tips are usually allowed, and to some extent, will reflect the quality of work, so good service gets reinforced.
posted by theora55 at 10:55 AM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


When you say "no work experience," do you mean just literally, that he hasn't had a job, or that you are concerned that he may have a more significant lack of work skills and mindsets, i.e., you're concerned he won't show up to work on time?

Because if only the former, he might be able to find work as a paralegal. Depending on where he worked, the hours could be weird but the pay would be decent for entry-level work. But he would need to be reliable, know how to be reasonably deferential to superiors, etc.
posted by praemunire at 11:07 AM on August 27, 2017


If he doesn't want traditional work, can handle heavy lifting and fucked up hours, apply as a barback in a bar. Physical labor is good for depression, and hauling beer, ice, and dirty glassware keeps a Barback busy.

if he likes the environment, next step up the ladder is getting trained up as a bartender. And if he's good at it, it's a skill you can take anywhere alcohol is served.

They say that when you're ready, the Industry finds you. Maybe he was never meant for a desk job. I wasn't, and spent years bashing my head against one.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:01 PM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Who does he know? Who does your (his) family know? And friends? Huge numbers of "no work experience" kids, underprivileged and not, get a foot in the door (not, please note, necessarily a job right of out the gate) through connections. Work those connections to the nth degree (in addition to applying to temp agencies etc.). Not having an attitude about being "too good" for possible jobs also helps. The goal here is a record of being employable, not A Career.
posted by rtha at 10:31 PM on August 27, 2017


Not all NYC programs are for underprivileged kids. My kid, who sounds very similar to your kid, got a job working at a Barnes & Noble through the NYC Summer Your Employment Program.

When I first saw this program online, I assumed it was for underprivileged kids. But I read the website carefully, and saw nothing to indicate that. My kid applied to the program, and was totally honest in answering any question about income, including family income and assets. There was no problem; she was accepted into the program.
posted by merejane at 12:17 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have not checked out all the programs here, but it might be worth your time to take a look. Again, NYC SYEP was not only for underprivileged kids.
posted by merejane at 12:20 AM on August 28, 2017


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