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One for the money...

By LES BOWEN
Sun Advocate reporter

Young people in Carbon County take a look at finding employment

Tyrone Bonner locks up after a day at Top Line Computers. Bonner said that his first job was a learning experience that has helped him become a better employee in the years since then.

Many people agree that one of the hardest phases of life is the transition from a child to an adult. Along the road to independence, young people face the question of money. Unless they want to spend the rest of their lives mooching off of the people that raised them, they must head out into the world to get a job.

"I live with my parents, and they support me, but I never have money for me," said Kevin Lancaster. "So I get sick of it and I go get another job."

Lancaster started working when he was 14 year old as a newspaper carrier for the Sun Advocate. He explained that he only lasted four months at the job and quit because he felt the money he made wasn't worth the work.

Since his first job, Lancaster has worked for Discovery Research Group three times. The first time, he worked there for a month and a half. After taking a year off of working, Lancaster went back to Discovery for another three months.

"I worked for Burger King for about two months," he said. Lancaster said that he enjoyed Burger King the most. He indicated that it was a good environment with nice people and good management, and the work was decent.

But about three weeks ago, he went back to Discovery.

"They pay me more every time I go back," he said.

He said the biggest challenge at Discover was learning to deal with people, especially when those people aren't always the easiest to work with or the most cooperative

Lancaster explained that the job market in Carbon County is a difficult one. He has turned in resumes and applications at other places, but nothing ever seems to pan out.

Mysha Blair agrees. Blair is a single mom who raises her five-year-old son and has worked as many as four part-time jobs at once to make ends meet.

"There's not enough good work in Price for young people," said Blair.

Mysha Blair cleans the popcorn maker at Price Theater after a showing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Blair is the single mother of a five-year-old and supplements her day job with part-time work at the theater.

At one time, she was working part-time for Price Theaters, as a cook for the senior citizens' center, as a dishwasher at Grogg's and a prep cook for Papa John's Pizza.

"That makes it impossible for people around here to find a job, because I had four of them," said Blair. She told how people looking for work would tell her she needed to give up one of her jobs so that they could find one.

Blair explained that many people are forced to work multiple part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, and she believes that puts additional strain on an already difficult job market.

Since she started working as a teenager, Blair has worked at at McDonald's, Discovery and Feature Films for Families twice each.

About two years ago, she found full-time employment at MedUSA, where she works as an account auditor. MedUSA is a medical billing agency that handles the collection of medical expenses for many local doctors. But Blair still supplements the full time job with a part time job for Price Theaters.

Getting into the job market is not always easy. Tyrone Bonner currently works at Top Line Computers in Price.

"I answer phones, do customer service and sell computers," said Bonner.

But nine years ago, when Bonner started working, he said he was clueless as to what having a job was really about.

His first job was at a Taco Bell in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I had no idea what a job was at that time," said Bonner. "I thought it meant being at a place and getting paid for being there, not getting paid for working."

Kevin Lancaster spends much of his free time playing video games at Games Galore. He said he is motivated to get a job when he gets sick of relying on his parents to provide everything.

He said one day his supervisor asked, "Why did I hire you."

"Because I have a nice smile," Bonner replied. But that nice smile had not made him into a good employee.

"I spent my time macking on the ladies," he said. He added that during the three months he worked at Taco Bell, he only did about five hours of real work.

Bonner said that his flirtation with the opposite sex has not completely changed, but he has learned about work ethics. As a result, he's not working the same job at $5.25 per hour.

Since he stopped working at Taco Bell, Bonner said he has been a construction worker, hot tender, cook, janitor, and a telemarketer. Now, in addition to his work at Top Line, Bonner works as a disc jockey at Big Dog's on the weekends and teaches break dancing classes at the college. Now he's making a little more and feels he is more of an asset to his employers.

But work can give more than just training on how to be a better worker. Brittney Gilson said she discovered what she wanted to do for a career from one job she worked at.

Gilson started working at Discovery when she was a teenager. By the time she was 18, she was a group manager.

"That's a big accomplishment," she explained. A group manager is the highest in the company someone can go before managing an entire office.

She said she never wants to work in management again.

Mysha Blair splices film back together after the projector damaged a segment of the film. At the end of each movie, Blair has to thread the projector in preparation for the following day.

"I had to become a mean person at times because people would walk all over me if I didn't," she said. The hardest part was working in management at such a young age. She explained that often older individuals that work within a company have a hard time handling criticism and instructions from a younger supervisor.

That was harder than dealing with rejection and profanity on phone calls.

"I think I grew the most at Discovery," said Gilson.

But the job that may have had the bigger impact on her life was working at MedUSA.

Gilson explained that part of her job was going to the offices of local doctors to follow up with accounts she was working with. She explained that in that process, she became friends with many people in the medical community.

One of those people was a receptionist, Tami Johnson, who Gilson explains became one of her best friends. Gilson said that the work at MedUSA confirmed the desire to work in the medical field and Johnson helped her discover what area to pursue.

Gilson said that she thought about the nursing program at the CEU, but that being a nurse wasn't exactly what she was looking for. After some direction from her friend, Gilson is now enrolled in outreach courses at Weber State University and is studying to become a radiology technician.

"Right after I was accepted into the program, I got a job at Price Theaters," she said. "This job is my favorite."

Gilson said that the kind of work she does at the theaters usually leaves her some time to get some studying done while the movie is playing.





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