By Bruce Bahmani
April 10, 2002
Recently, I picked up a copy of InfoWeek a popular industry trade magazine and looked at the cover. It looked like an Iranian teenager and his mom were on the cover. I looked carefully at the caption and confirmed my surprise. "Saied Ghaffari CEO of Juniorjobs.com." I had heard of the young wunderkind who started his own job search website for teenagers to find part time and seasonal jobs while still in school. I decided that NoRooz would be the best time to write this story and when I contacted him, I found out why it was such a good date. You see his Birthday is on March 19th! So here goes and Happy Birthday Saied!
Saied Ghaffari is CEO and founder of JuniorJobs.com a job site similar to Hot Jobs or Monster.com but with one very big difference. Junior Jobs focuses on finding teenagers jobs. Mostly out of necessity, Saied who lives in the Washington DC area found that there weren't any good resources for teens to use in securing summer jobs or even part time jobs they could hold while attending school. So he put his head to work and with the help of his Mom for support and inspiration, and technical guidance of his favorite uncle, Karim Ardalan owner of MIS Inc., a leading internet technology company based in Albuquerque New Mexico, they hatched the Junior Jobs idea.
Employers who are specifically looking for teens to hire... Now let's just stop and take a pause here for a minute to think about this. Imagine the number of companies who need this. OK, now un-boggle your mind and let's continue. For $20 per ad, or $200 for unlimited ads, employers can upload job openings they have. Teens who are online can now find them, easily, and apply online, knowing that it is specifically for them, no guesswork!
JuniorJobs is in a growth phase right now. They are serving the greater DC and Virginia Metro areas specifically, but as you can imagine this idea is scalable. I asked about funding and investment, and they said that they will be entertaining investment offers and funding suggestions this summer, when Saied is out of school and can focus on this next phase of his plans. My suggesting is to get your cash ready to invest! This one looks like a winner!
Saied was born in Tehran and is a US citizen. He got his first Apple computer when was just 3 years old. He turned eighteen the night before Norooz or March 19 and his Mom had a big Kareokee party and a cartoonist came to draw cartoons of everyone there.
Saied is your typical teenager, an avid basketball player, they just won the championship game in his division Vienna Youth Basketball High School Division. His trademark is his "swish" where he magically manages to drop the ball in the hoop from underneath the basket by throwing it up at an angle - it's pretty awesome.
Additionally he is the President of Oakton Chorale, a 100 person musical ensemble. He is also a member of the Oakton Boys Jazz Group (six person) they perform the national anthem at local sporting events.
He has a major part in an upcoming school musical called Guys and Dolls - he has the part of Nicely Nicely. Perfect!
Although running the junior Jobs website is a full time affair, Saied manages all of this activity and in addition he works 15 hours a week at one of the famous new APPLE stores that are opening up all over the US. And he's waiting to hear from colleges to attend next fall. My guess is he won't have to wait too long!
Saied's mother is Davar Ardalan, and if this name initially sounds familiar too, don't worry it sounded that way to me too, until unlike you who are just sitting there reading this, I picked up the phone and called her to find out why. It turns out Davar Ardalan is one of the producers for NPR radio's "Weekend All Things Considered" <Link> and has produced some of the excellent programs of this national radio show.
Hearing all of this I got confused, exhausted, and panting decided to ask Saied's grandmother Laleh, the following question; "What in heaven's name did you feed these kids of yours?" She smiled and said 4 words, "The food was love!!!"
Back to the site. In addition to being a job hunting site, juniorjobs.com is also a forum where teens, employers and educators can interact. Visitors to the site can read about what a store manager has to say about the teen work force. There is advice and help in the job tips section and teens can read interviews with high school career specialists. They have tips and links on how to prepare for the first interview or write a first resume. In a section that to me says it all, called Generation Y - there are success stories, featuring what the teens themselves are doing and how they are learning and giving back to their communities. Awesome stuff, if you are a teen, awe inspiring if you are a parent, and damn proud-making if you are an Iranian.
Saied and Davar tour the country giving keynote speeches about their journey (which is far from over) to schools and associations, and in addition are putting together a book called "Juniorjobs.com: Dream it! Do it!" and they are partnering with Youth Venture which will give teenagers who want to start their own businesses, or start a club, $1000 seed awards.
So I don't know about you, but I'm reeling at this kid who just took the ball and ran with it. I hope that if there are any Iranian investors out there who are looking for the right thing to do with their funds, that they take a look at this idea and support it with all their heart. But at the end of the day, I'm not worried, and neither is Saied. He's a winner all the way, and I thought you should at least meet him, especially on NoRooz the most uplifting and optimistic day of the world.
On a byline, Saied loves Chelo Kabab which he indulges in, every chance he can get at Moby Dick in McLean Virginia. He also loves Joojeh Kabob and DOOGH. But he really loves DOOGH.
Hey, who doesn't?