Working For A Living

June 30, 2006 at 8:01 am (Money)

The number of teenagers age 16 to 19 in the workforce has fallen 25 percent in the last 25 years. While 54 percent of teens worked in the summer of 2004, that number is the lowest on record.

So what’s your take on whether teens should get a summer job? The same article said that much of the decline was due to the rise in extracurricular activities teens were involved in as well as a larger number participating in summer school courses.

They can’t do both?

I got my first job at 15 working at Burger King. I was so proud of that first paycheck. I remember my very first "big" purchase too – one of those cool Papasan Chairs. I think I slept in it the first couple of nights.  When school started back up my hours were restricted since I was under 16. I couldn’t work past 8:30 p.m. and could only work like 15 hours a week. But I kept at it. And I kept at it. I’ve been employed ever since….a different Burger King…The Limited…a lawyer’s office (at the same time as The Limited for awhile)…waitressing…college admissions office…college Taco Bell Rep (bet you didn’t know there was such a job)…more waitressing…DEGREE…publishing company…distance learning company…state university…church…WHEW – that’s a lot of jobs.

I think I learned a lot in those early years of working – people skills, responsibility, managing (or rather spending) money, leadership, etc.  And I did all those jobs while still participating in school sports, drama club, summer school, etc.

I’m not saying I’ll force my kids to get a job when they get old enough but I’m pretty sure they’ll be rightly motivated by the fact that we don’t just give them whatever they want and they have to earn money for new toys, etc.



  1. Stacey said,

    I started my first job when I was 16 and I loved it. I was homeschooling, taking a couple classes at the community college and working part time. It was lots of fun and I was very proud of the fact that I could buy what I needed for the most part. I paid for my own car, car insurance, cell phone and necessities.

    I do think teenagers should be able to handle more these days. It’s seems like everything is just being handed to them more and more if you ask me!

  2. Kelley said,

    I started my first summer job when I was almost 16 too, working for a credit reporting company that my aunt also worked for. Boring job, kooky boss, but I’m so thankful that I learned early on what it takes to get and keep a job. I didn’t work during the school year until college, but balancing classes, work, choir, piano, social and extracurricular activities was VERY valuable experience for me. My parents weren’t helping me pay for room & board at college, so I had to work to supplement my financial aid.

    I agree that too many teens haven’t learned the value of working for a living. Even those who HAVE jobs don’t always act like they care about doing good work. Parents aren’t doing their children any favors by being their perpetual ATM. In fact, it is going to be a HUGE shock for those kids whose parents have played the part of “genie in a bottle” when they encounter people in the real world who aren’t as accommodating.

  3. udandi said,

    I agree with your last statement. in my case, my parents weren’t paying for all our college education or first cars but would match money we saved from our jobs – that was a serious motivator!

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