Mother Offers $500 Reward to Help Daughter Find a Job

By Suzan Clarke

Mar 6, 2013 7:25am

A California mother’s unusual attempt  to help her unemployed adult daughter get a job appears to be getting swift results.

Linda Smith, 61, of Menifee, Calif., made a sign on which she posted the following offer: take her daughter’s resume and pass it on, and get $500 in cash if her daughter is hired because of the referral.

Smith took the sign out on a busy intersection in Menifee, and stood there for more than two hours in the morning rush hour on Friday.  Of the 80 resumes she took with her, only 11 were taken — but word of mouth and social media are doing the rest, she said.

In an interview Tuesday with ABCNews.com, she described how she came up with the idea. She said her daughter, 36-year-old Lisa Smith, had been searching for work since last summer.

Much of Lisa Smith’s immediate previous work history was as a full-time, in-home caregiver for her mother, who suffered a brain injury when she was struck by a drunk driver in 1996.

“She was in (South) Korea doing modeling at the time and she knew something was wrong with me. She quit modeling to come home and make sure I was OK,” Linda Smith said.

Eventually, Linda Smith regained her independence and was able to live on her own last year. Since her daughter had been hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs to care for Linda Smith — who served in the Army in the 1970s — she needed to find other income once her mother no longer needed the care.

The young woman has some college credits but wasn’t able to attend class full-time because she was caring for her mother. She had a GED, Microsoft Office training, and also worked in Linda Smith’s marketing business as an executive assistant.

Even though her daughter has considerable office experience and is eager to work, Linda Smith said she believes employers in a down economy may not be receptive to her resume because her most recent work history was as a caregiver and assistant to her mother.

“I’m not stupid. It’s going to take a miracle for her to get hired somewhere. … I just thought she could use a little boost,” she said. “I always heard that people won’t do anything unless there’s the WIIFM, what’s in it for me?  So I thought, how can I mesh them being excited to take her resume and give it to their boss? What could I offer? A round trip to Hawaii? Well, how about cold, hard cash?”

A reporter for The Press-Enterprise, the local newspaper, saw Linda Smith standing on the street with her sign and wrote a story about it. Since then, the inquiries, suggestions and requests for resumes have been pouring in.

Lisa Smith is amazed. She told ABCNews.com that she had been doing the job hunt alone because she wanted to stand on her own two feet, but admits that it has been very hard.

“I put out maybe over 80 resumes. I’ve been to multiple job fairs. I’ve gone in person to as many as four businesses in one day, so when that didn’t get met to where I thought it would, I started to acquiesce when she said,” she said, speaking of her reaction to her mother’s offer.

Lisa Smith described the leads generated by her mother’s actions as “a miracle.” She has a job interview lined up for Friday. Even though she used to run her own business and initially started out looking for an executive assistant position, she said she’s willing to work in any position and in any industry.

Linda Smith said she couldn’t be more pleased about the response, even though she admits the public reaction has been mixed. Some people have emailed her asking for her daughter’s resume, but others have questioned her involvement.

One commenter on Facebook asked, “Uh…why isn’t her daughter out there holding her own sign?” and another added: “Mommy needs to cut the strings and let the daughter find her own job. This next generation is scr**ing this country with their I am owed type attitude. God help the USA!”

But Linda Smith said she and her daughter have no one but each other, and she wanted to help her daughter get her life on track since she spent so much of it caring for her.

“She was getting to the point where she was like, ‘don’t know how much more of this I can take,’ and nobody that’s a mother wants their child to be in that position … all she wants is to get hired so she can earn her own way and not deplete her savings,” she said, adding that she wasn’t asking for a handout or for her daughter to get a job she didn’t deserve.

Lisa Smith said she is grateful for her mother’s efforts.

“She’s such a great mom,” she said. “So amazing.”

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