DEAR HARRIETTE: Last summer, I ended up working at a fast food chain while my other friends were at internships or high-paying nannying jobs. The entire summer was pretty embarrassing for me, because I guess I dropped the ball regarding timing to find an internship or other job. My boss was kind and my co-workers were all right, but I cannot get stuck working at a fast food chain again this summer. Most of my friends had interviews lined up for themselves in early May, when I had just started looking for opportunities. I felt bad for myself all summer, but I saved up some money and now I know to start looking for an internship or job earlier. I don't know how or when to start emailing, applying or calling. I'd feel embarrassed to ask my friends because it'll show how behind I am, but my parents don't know much about this process either! I can't work frying food for another summer. How can I find information on how to get an internship or job without embarrassing myself? -- No More Frying, Boston
DEAR NO MORE FRYING: Start at your school. Speak to your guidance counselor or a favorite teacher, and ask if there are any internship opportunities available through the school. Think about your interests, and ask about job options in any of those areas. If you don't get any leads that way, look in your neighborhood. What businesses do work that you find compelling? Ask if you can volunteer there. Many times, an unpaid internship can turn into a great job. Finally, go ahead and ask your friends. Admit that you don't understand the process. Ask if anyone can walk you through the steps. Chances are, one of your friends will show some kindness.