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Work motivation?
Old 01-23-2010, 09:00 PM   #1
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Work motivation?

Hello all,

I'm hoping some of you can share with me your successful personal experience in motivating your college son/daughter to work during the summer.

Here's my situation: I have a daughter and a son, both are in their 3rd year of college. Both are doing extremely well academically, so I'm very happy in that regard. I always encourage them to work during the summer so they can have some additional pocket money and to have a better appreciation of money. My daughter has been doing just that for the last 3 summers. My son, well, have worked for a total of less than 200 hours in his whole 20 years 9 months long life. I just can't motivate him!

Here's my tentative plan for him this summer (June, July, and August 2010): I will only give him $200/mth this summer, just enough for grocery. I will not pay his rent/utilites, I will not give him his usual monthly allowance. But I will match him dollar for dollar for everything he earns up to $400/mth.

Will it work? Is there a better way? Thanks.

Sam
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:33 PM   #2
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That won't work. You need to give $0, not $200. You also should not pay for cell phone or transportation.

We cut off our daughter (living at home, still in HS) and said, "You must go look for a job." No using our car unless you get a job. She didn't believe it at first, but when we threatened to cancel her cell phone, she went and got a job.

An additional benefit of work: No more hanging out at boy friend's house for hours on end because there is not enough time to do so between going to school and going to work.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:45 PM   #3
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We told each of our kids that we would fully support them in the first year, including a small allowance for pocket money. We then went on to tell them that after the first year, we would pay only tuition, fees, books, and rent. Beyond that (i.e., if they wanted to eat), they needed to earn and pay themselves. DS got a PT job 8 months into school and seems to be doing fine paying his own way for those kinds of things. DD started in september and by Thanksgiving she had found a PT job. DS's job is too good to give up, so he will continue with it during the summer and take a very light academic load. DD already has a summer job lined up and will be coming home to do it. Ya just have to tell them early on that they are responsible for their own welfare. Worked for us, but YMMV.

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:45 PM   #4
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Our situation is oddly related. Our son has always worked summers. In fact he has a pattern of getting overcommitted to work and finding himself at the end of the summer feeling he didn't get a vacation. On the other hand he has never worked during the school year, despite usually having some free time. Now in college, he has complained that we don't do enough to support him, given his excellent academic performance. We are pondering whether it would be wise to give him an extended vacation from work this coming summer as a reward and encouragement to continue with college.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:51 PM   #5
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Here's my tentative plan for him this summer (June, July, and August 2010): I will only give him $200/mth this summer, just enough for grocery. I will not pay his rent/utilites, I will not give him his usual monthly allowance. But I will match him dollar for dollar for everything he earns up to $400/mth.
Will it work? Is there a better way? Thanks.
I guess you have to give him enough that he won't try to move back in with you, but not so much that he can afford to do nothing.

It's only going to work if it motivates him, and if this plan doesn't motivate him then nothing else will.

And if he doesn't try to move back in with you, then you don't really care whether the plan works or not!
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:21 PM   #6
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As Noords says, give him barely enough to live on.

Both our kids worked from age 14. Soccer refs for a couple of years and then selling yogurt (DD at TCBY) and bagging groceries (DS). Same thing at college, we paid fees and enough living expenses to get by on. We offered to provide a car but they had to pay $500 /year insurance - DD declined so managed without a car through college, DS paid up.

Your son is 3 years into college so his work training is long overdue but needs to happen.
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sam View Post
Hello all,

I'm hoping some of you can share with me your successful personal experience in motivating your college son/daughter to work during the summer.

Here's my situation: I have a daughter and a son, both are in their 3rd year of college. Both are doing extremely well academically, so I'm very happy in that regard. I always encourage them to work during the summer so they can have some additional pocket money and to have a better appreciation of money. My daughter has been doing just that for the last 3 summers. My son, well, have worked for a total of less than 200 hours in his whole 20 years 9 months long life. I just can't motivate him!

Here's my tentative plan for him this summer (June, July, and August 2010): I will only give him $200/mth this summer, just enough for grocery. I will not pay his rent/utilites, I will not give him his usual monthly allowance. But I will match him dollar for dollar for everything he earns up to $400/mth.

Will it work? Is there a better way? Thanks.

Sam
I guess my daughter must have been like yours. We didn't have any trouble getting her to work. I think she thought that would be an exciting and very grown up thing to do, and we raised her to consider working during college to be the norm and expected.

Children are so different, even when they are young adults. As a parent, I think you probably have a better idea of how to motivate your son than anybody here.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:01 AM   #8
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IMO... studying my siblings... my nephews and nieces etc.... and others...

Either they are motivated or they are not... not much the parent can do...

However, it does NOT mean you have to support them for life... cutting them off completely does do a few things... but for one of my nephews, it meant sitting in the middle of a field for a week before he decided his parents meant it.... but to this day, with three kids etc., he is still not motivated...
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:58 AM   #9
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It also depends on what is available, younger son worked @Subway at the end of high school and in college he had a part time job on campus. They liked him a lot but there were no openings for the summer. Last summer he could not find a job, he had one lined up and it fell through when a graduating senior elected to keep the on campus part time job. I know he applied for 8 jobs in one week, whenever a potential employer learned that he was going back to school there was no job offer.
He is looking for a part time, on campus job right now, called every day to check but no calls returned so far. Still hoping. DS is a good student and very diligent. And he is at an affordable state college. He doesn't need any more motivation.
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:56 AM   #10
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No kids, so can't speak for others but....

Not wanting to work (at that age) is a foreign concept to me. I loved having a job and have that sense of independence that having my own spending cash gave to me. I also wanted a Yamaha 100cc motorcycle and that was the only way to get it.

There was no allowance or other financial support that so many seem to take for granted. My dad would have laughed at me if I'd said "Hey, I need $10 to take my girlfriend to the movies." And in fact it never occurred to me to ask.

So, my response would be: "If you want spending cash, get off your butt and earn it".
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:07 AM   #11
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I second most of the advice others have given - keep the support to subsistence but sufficient to get him through school. That degree is a useful piece of paper regardless of the major. My son (like me before him) was a lousy student, dropped out just before finishing and finally returned when he was a bit more ready. Then for no apparent reason (again, like me) in his late 20s he got serious and has become a stellar employee. In any event, their basic personalities are set by now. They will or won't change themselves but you won't do it for them. Here's hoping your son will simply turn a new leaf when he graduates and is on his own.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:48 AM   #12
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Thank you all for your input.
Sam
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:16 AM   #13
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I second most of the advice others have given - keep the support to subsistence but sufficient to get him through school. That degree is a useful piece of paper regardless of the major. My son (like me before him) was a lousy student, dropped out just before finishing and finally returned when he was a bit more ready. Then for no apparent reason (again, like me) in his late 20s he got serious and has become a stellar employee. In any event, their basic personalities are set by now. They will or won't change themselves but you won't do it for them. Here's hoping your son will simply turn a new leaf when he graduates and is on his own.
Don, I did the same thing. And I worry about my son the same way. We hope he finds motivation before he screws up and loses choices.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:01 AM   #14
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My son (like me before him) was a lousy student, dropped out just before finishing and finally returned when he was a bit more ready. Then for no apparent reason (again, like me) in his late 20s he got serious and has become a stellar employee. In any event, their basic personalities are set by now. They will or won't change themselves but you won't do it for them.
Similar story with our son. Hit a brick wall in his final semester, failed all his classes and dropped out. He had failed some earlier and was already on the pay-as-you-go system where we paid for classes he passed, he paid for the ones he failed. He went part-time, used up an inheritance from a great-aunt ($15K), lived in a 1 bed apartment for $400/month, had to get a student loan, got clinical depression and on pills from Doc. DW went and stayed with him for the last 8 weeks, sleeping on an inflatable mattress on the floor, just to keep him motivated, made sure he went to classes, and not miss deadlines on his assignments etc.

He graduated with a BSc in Computer Science, 2.5 GPA, and moved back home where we helped him in job applications etc and he got a job on an IT Help Desk at a bank within 6 weeks and slowly got himself together, moved into his own apartment after only 3 months. We paid off his student loan and made it into an interest free loan to us which he paid off within 12 months (~$7K).

3 years later he is doing just peachy. He called us Friday to tell us he had just won a big promotion into "Tech Ops" (server administration). He contributes into a 401(k) enough to get a company match, and also into a rIRA, and has an emergency cash position. Quite a remarkable turnaround, and it was really tough to see him go through all this at the time, and difficult not to just throw money at the problem at the time.

Bringing up kids can be really challenging, heart breaking, and immensely rewarding - or not! DD was a breeze. She was also the first born which again proved the old saying "past history does not guarantee future success"
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:07 AM   #15
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Maybe make any allowance or assistance contingent on doing SOMETHING. Work, volunteer, summer school classes, other enrichment, study abroad etc. Better to introduce them to the fact that they are adults now rather than let them figure out Daddy will welcome them back and support them forever at age 22-23 after they finish college.

Most 18-20 year old kids I knew at State U had to either work or move back w/ the parents during the summer. I worked and so could keep my apartment and have food and beer money.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:58 AM   #16
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I canīt comment on this topic because in Spain thereīs no tradition of youngster having a summer or part-time job while studying. A very few work during the Christmas season, but itīs fairly unusual. After the inordinate success of BAYWATCH some youths work as lifesavers -is that the right word?
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:14 PM   #17
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Just thoughts and observations that may or may not be relevant to your situation:

After age 15, if I wanted anything beyond food and shelter, I was expected to work for it. Period. Father was 63 and retired by the time I graduated high school at age 16, so Social Security paid for my room and board while I lived at home and attended a local college. I worked every summer. I didn't enjoy working, but there wasn't any option if I wanted to buy, for example, clothes! I think that if I had been given more, I would not have been as diligent.

Husband says he was not motivated to go to college after high school. It did not occur to him not to work; he would have been ashamed to "sponge off" his mother. So, he lived with her and bounced from one low-level, awful job to another until he was almost 20, realized this really WAS all there was to look forward to, then asked his mom for money to go to the state U - which fortunately, she was able to provide. He loved college, got straight A's, and worked summers at a seaside hotel, which he also enjoyed. He says the keys to his motivation were a) despair at his job prospects without a degree and b) his brain just "grew up" between 18 and 20.

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:12 PM   #18
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I worked at a theater when I was 17 making $40 a week. I had $90 saved and wanted to buy a '65 Chevy Impala for $150..I asked my dad for the difference, but he wouldn't go for it..I was really mad! Looking back, it was probably one of the best decisions he made for me.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:22 PM   #19
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I canīt comment on this topic because in Spain thereīs no tradition of youngster having a summer or part-time job while studying. A very few work during the Christmas season, but itīs fairly unusual. After the inordinate success of BAYWATCH some youths work as lifesavers -is that the right word?
Lifesavers is pretty close, in the UK we would call them Life Guards. (my mind's gone blank on the US terminology )

In the UK in my circle of folks it was common to work as soon as you could.

I worked from age 12 in my uncle's scrap wood business at weekends right up until I left High School (very hard work and dirty, dirty, dirty!!). The 3 months after leaving High School I worked for a bakery (The Co-Op) driving a delivery van - excellent money!! Then I left home for good and started work for the company which sponsored me through university. I only ever had normal company vacation - 25 days / year outside of college semesters.

DW worked from age 12 - in the same shop as her father worked, then from age 14 in an outside market on a stall and at 16 in a Department Store. Summer after High School she worked for the Town Council in their offices in Manchester. Then she left home for good and joined the same firm as myself, being sponsored through the same University. 17th September 1973 - it was the date we first met
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:53 PM   #20
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Hey Alan! that summer of ī73 I did a 10 day touring of South/Southeast England. It was a year after I finished my Law degree. By then I already knew that I wouldnīt like being a lawyer or anything to do with legal work. Which I did for 30 years..... So you canīt imagine how happy I was when my Company forcefully ERed me in 2005 with a very nice compensation and pension....
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