Monday, June 27, 2011

The World of Work

The end of the school year is coming. The fifth graders are soon moving on. The four graders will soon be the oldest kids in the school. They aren't quite ready to plan their career paths--they have many more years of school to go--but it never hurts to hear about the choices others have made.

That's one reason Fatima Oliveira came to visit our fourth and fifth graders. She is a property manager for Beacon Development, the company that is helping plan, build and run Phase One of the Old Colony renovation.

Ms. Oliveira doesn't work with Old Colony. She manages an apartment complex called Baker Chocolate Apartments. The building used to be an old chocolate factory that has been renovated into homes for people to live. And no, it doesn't still smell like chocolate--which was one of the first question someone asked her.

But it certainly wasn't the last question. The kids were really interested in what it was like to rent apartments to people, keep a big building running smoothly, make sure that contractors fixing up the apartments did the work just right. "I am very, very picky," said Ms. Oliveira.

That led to more questions. Some of the people who work for Ms. Oliveira are men much older than her. Someone asked if that was a problem. If it ever was a problem, she answered, it certainly isn't one now. We all have a part in making our property work and mine is to make sure everyone does their job. Everyone has learned to respect that.

A lot of kids thought it would be fun to help people find and move into nice home. Ms. Hardin asked what subjects in school were especially important to do her work. Math is really important, Ms. Oliveira answered. English too, because she often has to write letters and reports very clearly. She also said that, at her company, property managers needed a college education.

It sounded like a lot of work to prepare, but it also sounded like a fun, well paying job. A good idea to keep in mind.

But first there's summer vacation--and sixth grade!