Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Child Employment and Character Building

I recently unearthed a diary from when I was 12 and planned to open a beauty spa in my parent's house. What I later learned in B-school was called the "Unique Selling Proposition" (USP) was that, after the neighborhood ladies had paid me to apply wet oatmeal to their faces, do their makeup with the Lip Smackers line, and french braid their hair, I was going to invite them to lie on chaise lounges in my backyard with Fleetwood Mac album jackets that I'd covered in tin foil. You know, to boost the skin-cancer properties of unprotected tanning.

It may sound like a pre-teen's fever dream, but in fact the spa was just another in the series of childhood businesses I started, each with their own USP. Yet people say "Child Labor" like it's a bad thing.

Today I'm over on "It Builds Character…And Other Parenting Clichés" with a post lamenting the loss of childhood entrepreneurship.  The team of contributors there tackles everything from home décor during the potty training phase to why Gwyneth Paltrow is never going to convince us that her life is as bad as ours. Clearly, I've found some like-minded ranters; I'm thrilled they invited me to guest post!

Hope you'll click through here to read more (and to see a picture of me in my Business Bandana when I was nine and co-director of a thriving neighborhood preschool.)


  1. I sent round a flyer, on my finest Holly Hobbie stationery, letting the neighbors know I was available for odd jobs - and my first gig was helping a lady make bed. My mom cut that off with a quick phone call, but there was still no end of vacation plant-watering and mail to help fill my coffers...clearly passed on thru the genes,since the boys made about $80 each last summer by washing all the neighbors' cars over a period of about 3 weeks. This year they could bump up the price with a little Armor-all treatment?

  2. That line "get slightly rich very slowly" is killin' me over here, mama. I can't stop laughing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...