Thursday, January 31, 2013

Teenagers, am I right?

The girl is now 16.

I have no idea where the years went. 

This summer, she'll take driver's training. Because surgery last year, she spent last summer recuperating and strengthening her knee.  She's doing fine, and I thought, awesome! Sure, her summer was pretty devoid of anything but physical therapy, but now!  She can get her permit and drive herself to her summer job. I figure it's time she gets a job, so she understands the sweet sting of sweat on her brow . . . maybe she'll get a job in the banana stand, I don't know. 

The husband and I hadn't really discussed this, but I assumed we were on the same page-ish. I worked starting when I was 15, and he had also worked some in high school.  She already works an hour a week at her school store, so she's got some idea of making a wage. The husband didn't work in college; I did.  He's something of a workaholic; I also feel like work is vital.  We both think the girl has it pretty soft.

Except not so soft that when I suggested she get a job a few days a week this summer, the husband countered with, "What? Why?"

He is of the opinion, which I get, that her job is to study and do well in school.  She's going to be taking college entrance exams, so she needs to focus on that. If she can get an internship to learn about a job, that's fine.  But slinging ice cream cones or working at the mall? Why?  I didn't have a real answer to that except that I had worked when I was her age, so of course she would.  Don't all teenagers work?  He responded with, "And what did that give you, except the feeling that you ALWAYS have to be working?"  I don't know.  Money and sore feet and nightmares from working in a restaurant?  A crippling sense of inadequacy when I'm not working?

So I ask you:

1.  Did you work in high school?
2.a.  Do you think it's important that teens work?
2.b.  Will you / have you made your kids work?
3.  Would you be interested in hiring a very smart teenager who has pretty decent musical taste and can possibly make change, or at least make notes in a ledger that a sale has been transacted?


  1. I worked all through high school and college. I actually liked my jobs. I am not sure if I will have my daughter work through the school year (depends on the kind of student she is I suppose) but summer job? Heck yes. No child is going to focus on anything in the summer unless they have to!

  2. 1. Yes, I worked.

    2. a) I think it's important that teens have responsibility...but not necessarily a job. That's not to say that having a job is a bad idea...but if they're already struggling with what they have "on their plate", adding a job into the mix won't likely help.
    b) I made sure all of my kids had responsibility for *something*. All four are/were in a Marine Corps JROTC program in high school and had various duties within the battalion. Additionally, all were involved in a varsity sport. Lastly, they had jobs around the house. I figured that whatever time was left over should be theirs to enjoy.

    3. Hmmm...

  3. First, how FREAKING much do I love you if only for the AD references?

    Second, I didn't work until I graduated high school. I was super duper involved during the school year and over the summer while I wanted to get a job, it never seemed as though I was quick enough to snag the prime opportunities. I could have tried harder.

    I think it's important for teenagers to work if they expect a lot of "things". You know? I was already a pretty responsible kid (younger sibs and parents who both work but can't afford child care will do that to you) and I didn't have a lot of things until I got older, so it's not as if I neeeeeeded the new iphone (didn't have a cell until I was...23?) with the expensive data plan, etc etc. I believe there's a line that once crossed puts a kid into "Hey spoiled, you need to get a job" territory.

    I also think that it's nice for a teenager to have something of their own. It's so different for a parent to give you money than it is to have money that's yours, that you earned by the sweat of your brow. Possibly at the banana stand.

    There's always money in the banana stand.

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  5. I didn't work until I was in parents didn't want me to get distracted from my studies. I did volunteer in high school, though, but I think working during the summer would have helped me to (1) be less bored and watch less TV and (2) have more structure than my days other than "wake up, eat ice cream, watch The Price Is Right." I think a small job or dedicated volunteering hours is a good thing...and the job could be something almost like volunteering, like cutting older people's grass, that helps a kid to learn empathy, etc. I would totally have my kid volunteering.

  6. I started working when I was 14, at the local college food service. I worked all through high school and all through college. It wasn't until I was 33 that I finally took some time off between jobs, just to live a little adventurously for a few months. But I don't regret a moment of any of it. Starting work early taught me responsibility. It taught me to value how I spend my money. When I did take time off I spent that time wisely, and not running around like an 18 year old without a clue (which is what I would have been). If I have kids, I will encourage them to have summer jobs. I think it helps build character.

  7. I BEGGED and FOUGHT my mother to work while I was still in high school. I wanted my own money and freedom. She tried to tell me that I would be working my whole life and not to worry about it, be young while I was young. We compromised on her allowing me to have a summer job ONLY - no working during the school year.

    Work as a teen was for the most part boring, and since I had no skills, I was stuck with the food service industry and being a clerk at a tiny mom and pop shop. The paycheck at the end was pretty cool, otherwise, *meh* whatev. However what it DID teach me was that I NEVER wanted to do "blue collar" work once I got out in the real job force and that I would bust my butt and climb the ladder at every job I ever got henceforth so that I would be on top. This mentality has served me well, so on THAT note working at a young age taught me something.

    Make her sling fish, or do something unpleasant.....worked for me.

  8. I had my first job in 11th grade. KMart. I was fired the first day on the register because I let an old woman go with not paying $.30. I put the change into the register from my own pocket as she walked away but it was considered aiding shoplifting, so...

    I've had a job since. I worked through my senior year of high school all through undergrad, by then with a newborn. I was eight months pregnant with #3 when I finished grad school. So yeah, maybe working or not focusing solely on school made me do things a big backwards, but I am the better for it. My kids will work (maybe not in high school) because I want them to know what it feels like to make a salary (not that bullshit few dollars I give them to go in Claire's and stop talking to me.) Besides, they need something to fall back on if they decide to drop out and cute can't get you but so far unless you have aspirations for the pole.

  9. Our boys work.

    I know I know... people say work should be good grades BUT listen to this: college recruiters and admissions look for kids who have been able to work AND get good grades.
    When I heard that at an open college Q & A from the lips of 4 different schools, purdy much sealed the future for our teens.

    They work.


  10. I worked. I worked my buns cream cones by day, a hot dog stand by night (not a euphemism--a REAL hot dog cart), and college level courses on my days off. I loved every minute of it, and it taught me life skills my non-working friends probably never learned. Plus, I survived a diet of ice cream and hot dogs, which totally prepared me for college.

  11. I didn't work in high school. My mom said school was my job. I applied for my first job when I was nineteen. I had zero work experience and when they asked why they I should hire me I was all, "uhhhhh." Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I had to beg my uncle to hire me at his sandwich shop.

  12. I worked every summer - cleaning scuzzy hotel rooms, then at a hotel front desk (WAY better) then waitressing (oh the humanity) then special needs kids (my favourite). My son plays competitive baseball in the summer, and I was worried this would not allow him to work - then I realized that it does actually teach him responsibility and accountability, and a lot of the time is more demanding than my jobs were even if it is something he loves, so I worried less. I think at 16 you're probably right that a few days a week wouldn't hurt.

  13. There's money in the Banana Stand...

    1. Did you work in high school?
    Hell yes, I needed money for booze and drugs

    2.a. Do you think it's important that teens work?
    Yes. Builds character and accountability

    2.b. Will you / have you made your kids work?
    If I had them, I'd put their asses to work and exploit the shit out of them.

    3. Would you be interested in hiring a very smart teenager who has pretty decent musical taste and can possibly make change, or at least make notes in a ledger that a sale has been transacted?
    Sure. Send her to LA.

  14. I started babysitting at 12. I got a job at JCPenney's at 16. I worked at Target, Cedar Point, Chuck E Cheese, and the Henry Ford Museum. I learned from all my minium wage jobs that I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life. Evenings, weekends, holidays suck working. I also learned that I couldn't afford a nice place to live on that money. One of the managers at Target lived in subsidised housing. I loved having my own money and couldn't wait to get out of my parents house.

    Learning that mean people suck at work is important too. Learning how to interview, get a job, hold a job, and quit responsibly are life lessons.

    My kid has earned money dog sitting, having a garage sale, lemonade stand. He LOVES money. He is very careful with his money, not so with mine. He REALLY wants an iPod Touch but just can't part with the money.

    I do need a sitter for the summer.

  15. My father-in-law and his wife live nearby and they aren't getting around well anymore. I'll bet they could use some help around the house.

  16. I worked. But I didn't study or do homework at all. (Lazy.)
    I just wanted cash to buy Guess jeans and important goals like that.

    My kids go to school, have hours of homework and then train every night at their karate studio. Not sure when they'd have time for a job - and they are definitely not lazy.

    But I read Alexandra's comment and she's got me thinking.


    Plus, I don't even know where those Guess jeans are anymore.

  17. I'm 21, and starting to apply for my first jobs coming out of university. From my POV, I'm so glad I had a part-time job from 16 and worked most Easter and summer holidays whilst at university. It gave me something to do, gave me a disposable income, and now I have a nice long list of 'previous employment' to put on my CV, which can only be a good thing. Also, the kinds of jobs you can get as a teenager are the kinds of jobs that tend to motivate you to work hard at university to ensure you get better jobs after! :)

  18. I worked as a babysitter all through high school. I had one family three nights a week steadily for junior-senior year, including full-time in the summer. I liked that I didn't have to wear an ugly polyester uniform and work with grease and steam (fast food). Right out of high school I landed a job in customer service at a bank, which was very cool at the time. I worked steadily throughout my 20s, 30s and 40s, until baby No. 2 came along. My oldest, almost out of her teens, has worked retail and restaurant all through high school and into college. Now she babysits. It works with her course load. In both cases, those early jobs teach responsibility and the value of the dollar. I observed my oldest make much better decisions when she had to spend her money on clothes and makeup.

  19. I worked.
    My kids worked.
    I think working prevents kids from having a sense of entitlement and shows them a taste of the real world while they are still under the influence and care of their parents.

    My two cents worth.


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