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10 Reasons Why Your Teen Should Get a Summer Job

10 Reasons Why Your Teen Should Get a Summer Job
Written by Oana Schneider

A lot of kids these days think that it’s their birth right to have the latest gadgets that technology has to offer. Although they’re lucky to be born during a time when information can be had in a second and most tasks can be done instantaneously, the downside is that not all of them realize the value of hard work.

According to Women’s Business Council, a government-backed organization, parents today are too obsessed with having their kids do brilliantly in academics, so much so that they overlook the importance of training their kids to exist in the real world. Let’s say that an overprotective parent has managed to raise her son to be outstanding in the academe.

When the kid graduates from college, he gets shell shocked with what’s in the real world because his mom never encouraged him to do real work in the past. With kids having very little or no experience in the workplace, they graduate from high school or college totally unprepared for the working life.

This is just one of the many reasons why parents should encourage their kids to take on a real summer job. You can probably start by having your kids do their share of responsibilities in doing household chores. Encourage them to volunteer in the community or apply for age-appropriate summer jobs with real businesses in your area. There are many benefits in encouraging your kids to take on a real job, which we will learn more about in the next section.

Top 10 Reasons to Want Your Kids to Get a Summer Job

For parents who are still thinking twice about having their kids take on a summer job, here are the reasons why you should actually encourage them to do some real work:

1. College graduates leaving university with zero work experience is a huge deficit.

A few generations back, it was commonplace for kids to take on part-time summer jobs while they were at school. The daughter of a prominent family can be seen working behind the counter at a local shop. Kids work part-time at machine shops and other local businesses. Unfortunately, the trend these days is for parents to obsess about the academic performance of their kids. They enroll them in different skills development classes and if they have no affinity for it, they end up feeling disappointed.

Another scenario is a parent who never let his or her child work a real job all throughout college. Once a kid leaves the university with zero job experience, it can be a huge deficit in his or her employment chances. In the same vein, not having that real-world work experience may affect the social and emotional kids of your child in the sense that he or she may have no clue about how it really is out there.

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2. If you have a family business, having your kids work might just inspire them to run the company in the future.

Although parents should never force their kids to run the family business or even be involved in it if they have no interest in it at all, it serves as a good training ground. If you have a pre-teen daughter, have her do clerical jobs at your office once she’s old enough. Even menial tasks like answering the phone or doing manual labor if you are into manufacturing can clue them in on how the business works. Seeing how things are on the ground might also inspire your kid to think about running the family business in the future.

3. Handling different tasks will give kids the opportunity to find something that they are passionate about.

A girl who works for a local pastry shop might aspire to own a similar business in the future. A boy who looks up to his dad, who is the CEO of a big company, can be tasked to work entry-level jobs so that he would see what it really takes to run a business from the ground up. A kid who worked as a mechanic helper, a handyman helper, or a part-time painter might find an affinity to building, so much so that he studies to become an architect in the future.

When kids are encouraged to handle a variety of tasks, they are bound to find something they’re good at, are interested in or are downright passionate about. This will help them decide which career path to follow in the future.

4. Kids who work will know the value of hard work and managing their own money.

When you encourage your child to work part-time so that he or she can help add to a college fund that is already one way of teaching the value of sheer hard work. If you have a son who works at the local coffee shop during weekends, he would learn how challenging it is to earn real money. The mere fact that he is already earning money on his own will make him realize its value, and make him spend his earnings in a reasonable manner.

5. Interacting with different kinds of people will train them how to be part of a community.

Kids who worked different summer jobs at local businesses within the community would know how to deal with all sorts of people. Compare a straight A student whose only social interactions are with a few friends at school and family members, with someone who has been exposed to people from all walks of life.

The latter kid would thrive in almost any environment while the former might find it difficult to adapt to the real world once he or she is out of college. Dealing with bosses, yuppies, ordinary folks, taxi drivers, total strangers, fellow kids and a variety of personalities would help develop your kid’s social skills – something which can only be learned once you let his or her world grow by taking on a real job.

6. They will learn about real world responsibility.

Did you know that in Japan, there has been a long standing tradition of students cleaning their own schools? These kids are made responsible for the cleanliness and orderliness of their schools, so much so that they are all tasked to clean the toilets at one point or another. If you’re a student who knows how difficult and icky it is to clean a dirty toilet, you would think twice about using it improperly the next time.

This is a practice that you would not necessarily find at schools in the US, although you can do the next best thing which is require your kid to do his or her share of the household chores – and take on a real job at a local business once it’s already age-appropriate.

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7. They can gain that oh-so-important job experience.

No matter how excellent someone’s academic record is, it will all be for naught of a prospective employee will crumble under the stress of working in the real world. A young woman who graduated summa cum laude at a university, and was hired as an entry-level employee at a prestigious company may succumb to the pressure of holding down a real summer job if she has zero work experience.

A young man who plans to open his own restaurant someday might be stressed out apprenticing for a chef at a restaurant if he’s never worked at a real kitchen before. If you encourage your kid to take on a real job, they can gain that ever important job experience – even if the industries are totally unrelated.

8. Taking on a summer job will help kids find something that they’re good at.

If your son worked as a bus boy, a mechanic helper, a painter, coffee fetcher, or a garden assistant, he would eventually find something that he is good at. The same thing holds true for kids who are encouraged to work at real businesses in the local community, or are tasked to volunteer with the local churches or homes. An experience or an encounter with someone will click, and that’s when they will know that they will find what they want to eventually do in life.

9. They can practice how it is to live in the real world.

Some parents are so scared to let their kids go out into the real world, that they shield them from any experience that they think might cause them physical pain or emotional hurt. If you allow your kids to take on a real job, he or she would know how the real world works, a skill which is definitely needed once he or she goes out of the safe four walls of the university.

10. They can learn about the career triangle.

The concepts of the career triangle include job satisfaction, lifestyle and the cash or non-cash benefits. If your kid manages to hold down a part-time summer job at a local business, he or she would learn about the basic concepts of being satisfied with the value of hard work. The monetary rewards will also be part of it, although the bigger bucks would come in later on when they’re already professionals.

These and more are the reasons why all parents should encourage their kids to take on real jobs while they’re young. It can be as simple as working on menial tasks for the family business, volunteering at a local shelter during their free time, or working weekends for a local business across the street. By exposing kids to what a real summer job entails, the skills, knowledge and experience gained can be used once they grow into full-fledged adults.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

17 Comments

  • I am in complete agreement with this post. I suppose that you could have given more advice on the concept that it is extremely important that you find something you are passionate about.

    However, I do believe that you posted the topic of the article one too many times, you could have used that space to give more information about the topic instead.

    I will definitely be coming back to this blog. It is a good way too get the information you need.

    Job well done.

  • These are all good points. To me, it starts when the children are very young, teaching them basic responsibility, such as getting up on time, getting to school on time, doing homework in a timely fashion, setting and clearing the table, helping with dishes, sweeping the floor, etc. That way, they learn they are part of a family/team/community, and there are expectations on them. It seems many these days feel they are above manual labor, but without manual labor, our society would fall apart, and the best time to learn about these types of matters is when they are young, and open to learning, and to new experiences.

  • Absolutely! All teens should work a summer job or at least work throughout the school year if their schedule permits it. A part-time job gives teens some independence and teaches them some real world skills, even if they’re just flipping burgers for a few hours every week. I love this article, and it’s spot on!

  • I almost kind of think it should be mandatory, and not just for monetary reasons. It teaches responsibility and gives a sense of fulfillment. I spent my summers doing community theater, and while I didn’t get paid (man, I wish I had), I learned so much that I’ve brought with me through my adult life.

  • I hope parents teach their kids that getting hired is in and of itself a pro sledge, and should not be taken for granted. When I was lo King for my first job, 10 years ago, the job market was SO bad, I applied everywhere I could in my area and was not able to get a job. I was not alone in this that year. The next year I managed to get a job, but only after many, many applications and follow ups.

  • This is a really great post. I wasn’t forced to get a job until I graduated high school. Prior to that we did summer jobs on farms like picking berries and garden work and did lots for our parents that earned us some change. I didn’t get my first real job until I was 18.

    • Likewise, my parents made me focus on academics rather than getting a job while still in high school. After I graduated, I couldn’t find a job because no one wanted to hire someone who would have to put in their two weeks notice in two months because of college. The job market is pretty rough for a teenager as well. What was your first job.

      On a different note, I had never heard of the career triangle before, but I have experienced it.

  • That’s so right. I know that it would also teach discipline and responsibility and they would be more ready in the future once they’re grown more to do what they’re ought to do as adults. I’ve never had the chance to have a summer job, or even any job in my life, but one day I will.

  • I absolutely agree that kids can only benefit from having a part time job. I’ve got two teenagers; one a junior in college, and one who will be entering college as a freshman in the fall. Even though at times I’ve worried about them having too much on their plates, I truly believe that it gives them the opportunity to learn to multitask, as well as, build a strong foundation for the future. College work study programs are an excellent source of financial assistance and work experience. Summer jobs often offer diversity of experiences. As my father used to say, “A little hard work never hurt anyone”!

  • Definitely agree to this! As a teen myself, I do believe that it’s best to start early and experience a lot of things through taking different jobs rather than staying at home bumming around or spending so much of your parents’ money hanging out with your friends. I’m taking up a summer job now and although it isn’t the usual job where I’m in an office or I’m at a restaurant or store helping out, I’m learning so much and I’m seeing that earning money through your own efforts is just so fulfilling and amazing.

  • i think this is a wonderful subject i whole hearty agree on teens getting a job over summer i am teen girl myself and i have been looking for a job so if you have any more wonderful ideas please email me at garciahaley074@gmail.com

  • I have a nephew who is a teenager and he wants a job. These are all really good reasons why a teen should have a summer job and I will pass these along to him. I know when I had a job as a teenager it did help me to prepare for when I got out on my own and I’m grateful for that.

  • Yes, practical experience and exposure to the real world are extremely important. A child coming from protected atmosphere would become a misfit in the society and falls apart, unable to stand the rigors of life.

    By taking up a summer job, they not only realize the value of money, but also learn to be responsible and honest individuals. They come across different personalities and learn to deal properly with everyone and learn important life skills. They learn to be independent, capable of handling all their issues.

  • I would like to get a summer job, but it is hard to find one in our country. Even when you find one, they pay you really low. Another problem I found among my generation is that many teens find a summer job and they continue with the job when school starts. The job becomes more important than school, they dropout from school, because they see more profit in job than school. Yes, school doesn’t pay you but looking on long term, education will be the key of getting a job.

  • I think it can be great for a teenager to get a summer job, because it really does help young people to learn the value of the money that they’re earning, and also helps them to realise just how much time their parents spend working in order to earn some of the things that teenagers expect to be provided with in their day to day life. However you do need to be careful that you’re not making them work too many hours, as it is vital that they are able to be teenagers as well as everything else. They do need time to go out and have fun, so bear this in mind. But on the whole, a summer job can be a good way to help them with the transition into their adult life.

  • I very much agree with this. It is very important for young people to learn how to work. Learning how to act in an interview, how to handle problems in the work environment, and learning responsibility for themselves and their actions, are life lessons that everyone must learn. I worked all through out high school in order to buy my own car and have money to do what I wanted. It taught me a lot about real life and helped me transition into it better than those who have never worked.

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