What are your teenagers doing this summer? Are they working or are they sleeping till noon and hanging out with friends? Up until I was 14 my summers were pretty quiet around our house. But one of my girl friends wasn’t so lucky. Both her parents and my parents were gone all day, everyday, so we were pretty much on our own. To make sure she stayed out of trouble, my friend’s mom would leave a huge list of chores for her to do everyday. And if we wanted to hang out, it meant both of us spending the day at her house doing those chores. We would try to rush through them each morning so that we could at least spend the afternoon out in the sun.
But once I turned 14 those summer days of doing whatever, were over. It was time to find a part-time job. And I am so glad I did. I worked part-time as a cashier all through high school and college and I loved it. In fact I earned enough to pay for my college tuition and my books. No student loans required.
Why Should a Teen Get a Job?
There are so many reasons why a teen should get a job as soon as they are legally able to. It teaches them how to stand on their own two feet and how to work at becoming independent. And not encouraging them to do this is only setting them up for potential failure. Getting a job while they are young prepares them for the future. Work experience will look good on their college applications, as well as future job applications.
Working one or more part-time jobs is a great way for your teen to learn that there is more to life then what happens at home or at school. When they have a job they have to be at work at a certain time and they are expected to complete their job duties well. They will learn that if they do not show up for work because they don’t feel like it they will not get paid, and may in fact get fired. Depending on the type of job they do, such as being a cashier, they may even deal with money. Dealing with money and making sure your cash is not short at the end of the day is a huge responsibility, at any age.
Manage Their Finances
Once your teen starts working they will begin receiving pay checks. They will need to open their own bank account and they will need to learn how to manage that money well. As a parent you could consider making them a deal that they need to save a certain amount, say 75% of what they earn, and they can spend the rest on something they want. This would be another perfect time to talk about their goals and what they want to spend their money on now and in the future.
Develop People Skills
Getting a job allows your teen to expand their people skills. Sure they had to deal with teachers and fellow students at school, but working is different. They will most likely have a manager to report to, and customers to keep happy. Not only will they have to work at their job but they will also have to work on managing their relationships with all of the new people that they are now working with.
Develop Communication Skills
Whenever you read a job posting one of the first requirements you typically see is “excellent communication skills”. Going to work each summer will help your teen develop their communication skills. Sitting at home, will not.
When your teen is working they will need to learn how to do new things and most likely they will get to a point where they are asked to train newer employees how to do certain things. At that point their communications skills will be more important than ever. They also need to learn how to communicate well with their manager, and to always make sure that their manager knows if they need a day off or if they are unable to work due to an illness.
Develop Survival Skills
When a person starts working as a teenager they have the opportunity to develop survival skills that they will come in very handy when they graduate from high school and either get a full-time job or go away to college. In essence, it helps them grow up. Now you might be thinking, that the above skills are all pretty basic things that anyone can do. They are only basic skills to you now because once upon a time you were taught those skills. Never assume that your teens have developed any of the above skills until you see them practice those skills.
There are so many different jobs your teens can do. Some examples are:
They can sign up for a babysitting course and get their certification to babysit
Again they can become certified to work as a lifeguard at a local community pool or at the beach.
Does your teen like pets? Many people work all day and need a person that can take their dog out for a walk each afternoon.
This is a great way for a teenager to make money, especially once they have their driver’s license and they can travel from one house to another.
Pretty straightforward work, especially when you consider that most items are simply scanned in at the register.
I am probably the only person I know from my group of high school friends that didn’t work in the fast food industry. One of the things I like about this industry is that quite often teens are promoted to assistant managers, which teaches them a whole new set of responsibilities.
How do you feel about this? Do you think teens should get a job or should they wait until they are finished high school? Please share in the comments below.
Sicorra and I met on Twitter, and she has been instrumental in the growth of The Heavy Purse. She was the first person I wanted to guest post here as our friendship has been the catalyst for so many good things.
Connect with me on Twitter: @TacklingOurDebt and please visit me on my blog, Tackling Our Debt where I write about ways to pay off debt and live a frugal lifestyle, as well as ways to make more money. Please understand that anything I write about is based on personal experience and is not meant to be taken as professional advice. If you require specific advice, please contact a professional in that field.