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by Abigail Van Buren

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do -- Even When You're 11

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old boy who was able to graduate from high school early because I passed the required tests. My problem is I need to get a job, but nobody will hire me because I have had no experience. Abby, how can a person get experience if nobody will hire him?

I am a responsible, hard-working boy who has never been in any kind of trouble, and I'm willing to do anything -- run errands, wait on tables, sweep the floors, answer the phone, box groceries -- you name it. And if I don't know how to do it, I will learn.

So far I have applied for 22 jobs, but nothing has materialized.

Abby, how can a person without pull or connections get a job? I'm beginning to think it's impossible. -- DISCOURAGED

DEAR DISCOURAGED: Go back to some of the places you've applied and tell them that you are honest, dependable, hard-working and so eager to prove your worth that you'll work for one week with no obligation on their part, and if they feel you don't qualify, they owe you nothing.

You may not be hired instantly, but I'll bet your name goes to the top of the list.