This past weekend the most amazing thing happened for my daughter Anwyn. She’s the magical age of sweet 16. And while that does make her a doe-eyed beauty, it also makes her ripe for growing up and pulling her own weight.
A few weeks ago I broke it to her that she needed to get a job. Sadly, there were few places within walking distance where she could work. So I took her to one of those national recruitment days at a fast food joint where you pretty much only need to show up with a pulse and an IQ of 20 to get hired.
And she did get hired. Apparently being whip smart didn’t work against her.
But let’s face it, schlepping for corporate America in a polyester uniform is few teenagers’ ideas of a good time. That Anwyn bore such an indignity with grace and willingness is a sign of her inborn fortitude and selflessness. I would have whined like a bad fairy-tale princess entitled to a much better deal.
Meantime I held another showing of the film series sponsored by the local Transition Town group that I co-lead. There, I ran into a friend who mentioned that her son had ascended from dishwasher to prep cook at THE restaurant for local food cuisine in our town, Staunton Grocery. My friend confirmed that there may in fact be an available job scrubbing pots and stacking plates now that her son had moved up.
To make a long story short, I checked on the availability of the dish-washing position and Anwyn was invited to “trail” the other guy who mans that station. After a weekend of fast-learning she got the job!
Now her daily labor supports the local rather than the national economy. It supports local farmers, growers, and business owners rather than Big Ag, Big Corporations, and Wall Street.
And it supports her.
Have knife will travel
But more than that it means an entrée into learning real skills working among people who are deeply engaged in community building.
It means that as she earns money in a local business her experience will go back into her ambitions, perhaps one day to become a chef herself. Yes, that can also happen in a chain if Corporate lets local stores offer some apprenticeships with these five recipes on these five days. Trainers could pull from the walk-in a certain microwaveable meal and show her just how many minutes it went in to reach the perfect serving temp. Slit the plastic film first.
But cooking food from local farms based on chef’s passion for a nice seasonal meal sounds a whole lot better. In one weekend it already has been.
And there’s more of that where her job came from. Just take a look around.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List