Summer is well under way as are all the free time opportunities. What are you kids up to? Because there’s more than x-Box to fill the empty spaces. Time Magazine reported this week that the job market offers a few options for those that are willing. Here’s some of what Brad Tuttle had to say in Summer Jobs Market Bounces Back – But Most Teens Won’t Work Anyway:
Last summer, 1.1 million Americans ages 16 to 19 found summer jobs, up from 960,000 the summer before. In both cases, per NPR, the figures meant that slightly less than 30% of teens who could work were working. In the ’90s and through 2000, by contrast, more than 50% of this demographic were regularly working summer jobs.
The awful state of the jobs market in recent years—summer jobs or otherwise—have surely played a role in declining teen employment. In many cases, teens have been competing for jobs with people in their 20s or older who are out of work, who are desperate to please any boss in return for a check, and who have more work experience than the typical teenager.
But there’s something else playing a role in years of declining teen employment. Namely, the fact that many teens aren’t even trying to get hired. A Baltimore Sun story cites a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey from last summer about teen employment. Simply put, the vast majority of teens “said they did not want to work.”
When they were toddlers, we were never deterred by the “I don’t want to”s – so why now?
Mom: “Put your shoes on.”
Child: “I don’t want to.”
Mom: “It doesn’t matter whether you want to. Put your shoes on!”
We could trade out so many things for shoes, like “Eat your dinner”, or “Quit hitting your sister”, or “Get out of the street!” Some imperatives we lob at our kids are life saving. Might gainful employment fall into that category? It’s not life or death, but it just might be a determining factor in life after our homes.
With the job market tight, a little creativity goes a long way. Sometimes we have to look at the principal rather than payment. Maybe job sharing or volunteering will be the way our kids can learn things like:
- when you work, you answer to someone other than yourself (or your parents)
- work expects you to show up whether you want to or not
- work, though sometimes exciting and fun, is often mundane
- work ushers in confidence, satisfaction, independence
And it just might provide a laugh or two for us along the way…
Are your kids too young to get a job? A few of mine are! A wise friend told me that when their kids were young, she found projects around their house that would normally be hire out. She paid her kids to do them. In her mind, the worst thing that could happen would be a completely botched job where the professional she would have hired anyway could come fix it. The best thing that could happen? A few kids doing something they never thought they could. Not only doing it, but seeing their handiwork every day – a major confidence infusion for sure.
Did you work in the summer? Please share what you did and what you learned. Also, if you have an employed teen – let us know what he/she is up to. It just might spark some job excitement in other homes.
Thanks for walking the road with me!
My oldest is 13- too old to attend vacation bible school, but they are always in need of energetic volunteers.
VBS and church camps are a great idea, Beth! … They can always use some helping hands.
Did I have a job??? Yes. My first, I was 15 and needed my school counselors permission…work permit. I worked 20 hours M-F 5pm-10pm. I learned it was a job, not party time with friends coming in. Worked at YumYum Donuts. It was my job to wait on customers, but also to get everything cleaned up and ready for the baker at 10pm.
From there I worked at a restaurant, children’s clothing store(promoted twice) and a sandwich/yogurt shop(asst. mgr) all before I was 20.
I guess coming from a single parent home, it was a given we all got jobs, summer or not. I graduated with honors and paid for all sports(track, cross-country, softball..also during the summer), yearbooks, class ring, clothes over $100(that is all my Mom had per child, per year for clothes).
My son since the age of four has come up with ways to make money. Lemonade stand, art gallery(Grandma and Mom had to pay for drawings), Christmas gift wrap service, weed pulling, car detailing etc. He is now 24, laid off, going to a JC, and again, has his own small business. He lives with us since his lay off, and helps around the house, just like he did when we was younger. He does not, nor did he get paid for doing chores around the house.
I am just dumbfounded when I hear of parents nearing killing themselves or going into debt all for their kids. If they do not learn it young, they will have a very rough adulthood in my opinion.
Another great post, Kay!
Yes, I worked…starting at 14 years old. I did filing and answered phones in my dad’s office. They were happy for the cheap help. I was happy to be making money.
The working trend has continued every single year of my life since it began, including during college.
My parents had a great rule (which, at the time, I didn’t think was so great – it was only later in life I finally saw the value!) For every major purchase, they agreed to ante up 50%. I could decide how much of my own money I would invest, and they would match.
As an example, if I wanted to drive a Chevette, I could probably find one for $1,500 – we each would invest $750…but if I wanted to drive a bigger and much cooler car (which I did) then I would have to work harder, save more, and they would still match my investment. I also still had to budget and pay for my insurance (although I was added to the family plan, so it wasn’t as expensive) and ALL of my gas.
This same concept applied to college and even clothes (they would invest a set amount in back-to-school clothes – the items that were necessary – anything above that amount was my responsibility.)
I took working seriously as a result. And, I cared for my things – my car, clothing and college education.
Today, I’m so thankful that work ethic is a part of who I am. I never back down from a tough project – I know I can do it!
Hi Kay, I just finished listening to your audiobook, thanks to Austin Public Library. I hope for some clarification. I have a 14 year old son, too young to work, but not too young to volunteer. Do I understand correctly that you paid Boxter for his time spent volunteering? Say my son volunteers 8 hours per week, paying him $64-80/week would sure motivate him, but it would be quite burden financially for us. Curious how you handled that. Thanks. I really enjoyed the book!