image1When my son Jake announced he was getting a campus job, I never imagined it would involve telemarketing.

I was excited by his enthusiasm for his first paid position, but I cringed at the thought of my kid calling people at home to beg for money.

Jake saw it another way:  a chance to build his confidence by chit-chatting with strangers before asking them to contribute. An opportunity to think and respond quickly to turn NO into YES — or to encourage bigger donations by getting the guy or girl on the other end to reminisce about their time on campus.

Now with 50 hours worked, Jake has been named “Employee of the Week” and holds records in securing the highest donations in a variety of categories. He’s also been singled out for his cool-under-pressure handling of calls where he’s being cursed out.

“It’s better when someone hangs up, then when they spew venom at me,” Jake says.

Beyond raising money for his university, Jake loves talking to alumni who graduated decades ago and have proudly shared their wisdom and advice with my freshman.

(For the record, the position for students is officially called “development fundraiser” — a fancy term for telemarketer!)

When most teenagers prefer to text instead of talk — a disturbing trend — I’ve totally changed my tune on telemarketing on campus. It’s a job that pays much more than the minimum wage salary.  With every hour he puts in, the life lessons will stay with Jake long after.

If you need a confidence boost to help your career as an employee or entrepreneur, consider a side gig in telemarketing.  Turnover is high, so opportunities are ample.

Or join the political campaign of your favorite candidate where you can volunteer making calls or canvassing neighborhoods to encourage votes and solicit donations.

Doing something temporarily that pushes you beyond your comfort can pay dividends at any age.

Go ahead, pick up the phone–talk, don’t text.