Local teen spends summer surfing for dollars
It's 11 a.m. when Melissa Parsons, 17, strolls into work at IQ Coordinator in Overland Park. That's a bit late for the business world, but for Parsons, it's right on time.
Her tall, slender frame is clothed in baggy jeans, an oversized shirt and sandals a bit casual for the business world, but that too is OK.
She makes her way through the plain office, furnished with mauve carpet and tables with dividers, to her desk. Grabbing a chair, she finds a computer she can log on to and gets ready to surf the Internet.
This is what she gets paid to do.
In this day of high-powered technology, many teen-agerslike Parson, are going beyond jobs at the nearby fast-food joint to sign on to companies to design Web pages and run software programs.
Stephen Clouse, senior programmer at IQ Coordinator, said the reason companies hire teenagers to perform these high-tech jobs hasn't changed with time.
"[Teen-agers] tend to be real gung-ho and excited about working," Clouse said. "If they're good, they want to make a good impression and work hard while making a little money at the same time. I know I was that way at that age."
Parsons, however, has a different theory on why she was hired. One much more based on today's quest for equality in the work place.
"They didn't have any women," Parsons said.
After logging onto a computer, Parsons will spend the next six or seven hours finding pictures on the Internet, helping design Web pages, proof-reading files, and, on the rare occasion, taking photographs of one of the many businesses IQ designs software for.
"I really like taking pictures, but we don't do that much anymore," Parsons said.
Parsons believes her job is less stressful than that of most of her colleagues, most of who are males, ranging in age from early 20s to mid-50s.
"There are times when it can get kind of hectic around here, but usually it's more so for them than me," Parsons said.
As she leaves, Parsons thinks about how she will spend her paycheck..
At $12 an hour, many teens would consider a serious spending spree at one of the designer stores. Parsons, however, has more practical plans for her money.
"I have to pay for my classes at Johnson County Community College this fall. I'm also have to pay for my guitar and lenses for my camera," Parsons said.
Now Parsons will spend what free time she has left with the band she plays in and just hanging out with friends and, of course, getting ready for her next shift at IQ.
"I've really learned a lot about how to deal with different types of people and how to run businesses. I'm getting better at working on computers, but I'm not a computer nerd-yet. I look forward to the next day," Parsons said.