DEAR HARRIETTE: I didn't get an internship offer from any of the companies that I interviewed with. I have three months ahead of me, and my best job opportunity looks like baby-sitting or being a housekeeper -- and I can't put these jobs on my already-sparse resume. What do I do now? Is it too late to snag an internship, considering all of my friends got approved for theirs weeks ago? -- Bummer Summer, Madison, Wisconsin
DEAR BUMMER SUMMER: It is unlikely that you will be able to secure a paid internship or even a traditional unpaid one at this juncture. That does not mean, however, that you cannot create something for yourself. Review your interests. What specific types of businesses are best for you as internship options? Are there any such businesses in your city? If you can identify a relevant company, especially a small one, contact the company directly and offer to volunteer for them during the summer. Explain your passion for the focus of their business, and promise to work hard to support them. Often an offer to volunteer opens the door. If you need to work for money, continue to baby-sit or clean houses on off-hours to make ends meet.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a freshman in college, and I nanny for a family of five children. I’ve been working for them since I started high school, and I really like them. The oldest, "Simon," is 14 and in high school. Simon is delightfully awkward, but he has a crush on me, and I don’t know what to do about it. Originally, I hoped he would grow out of this, but now he writes me notes about how beautiful he thinks I am and asks me on dates. His parents see this behavior and don’t do anything about this. How can I handle this situation gracefully? I want it to blow over ASAP. -- A Decade Apart, Westchester, New York
DEAR A DECADE APART: If you want to keep your job, you must align yourself with this boy’s parents and get them to support you. Be proactive. Tell them how much you care for Simon as well as their other children, but that you are concerned about Simon crossing the line. Tell them about his behavior and show them his letters. It’s not enough that they see what Simon does; they need to understand from your mouth to their ears how Simon’s words and actions are affecting you and, more, how misguided they are for him as a developing teen. Ask Simon’s parents to talk to him and help him to draw a line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior toward you.
Beyond that, you can talk to Simon, too -- preferably in an open setting. Tell him that you know he cares about you based on his notes and his behavior. Qualify that you care about him as a friend, but not more. Acknowledge that you realize this probably hurts his feelings, but it is important for him to understand that he should find a girlfriend his own age, from his sphere of friends. You are the family baby sitter and cannot be anything more to him.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)