Get A Job, Kid–Revisited

Well, everyone certainly has an opinion about teen jobs!  (See post & comments one below the one below.)

What’s interesting is that people fall pretty clearly on one side or the other.  And it doesn’t seem connected to personal experience.  People who worked as teens are just as likely to think their kids should do the same as they are to decide, No, not a good idea.

Some of you claim that teens would waste their spare time rather than use it for study, enriching hobbies, or volunteer work.  Well, yeah, they probably would, left to their own devices.  That’s where parents come in.  The idea is that they (the parents) guide, support, encourage, and push the kid to explore the world, develop talents, and build the kind of resume that leads to college and/or a decent job. 

Is waiting tables or delivering pizzas a good substitute for this?   Sure, you learn life lessons.  (Customers are annoying, menial labor is, well, menial, money does not grow on trees, etc.)  But it doesn’t take long to learn those lessons–a month flipping burgers or mowing lawns should suffice.  Beyond that, it’s same old same old.

Whereas an internship at a bank (if you are interested in business) or volunteering in a clinic (if medicine is your thing) teaches similar life lessons while expanding one’s horizons. 

Possible caveat:  If the kid wants to buy something the parent can’t or doesn’t want to pay for, earning the money is a good choice.  As Terry put it so very well:  “Life costs money.  Get a job.”

So, Joanne (original questioner), you’ve been strangely silent!  Are you overwhelmed?  Violently opposed to one or more opinions?  Lost interest in the topic entirely?  What do you think?

(UPDATE:  Jo responds to original post, comment #11, below!)

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  • Grant Erwin says:

    I have a different take than everyone else. I think teens should get menial jobs. Even if they grow up, go to college, and become professionals it’s really good to see the world from the blue collar perspective. Not everyone gets to be wealthy in this society, and when you’re bagging groceries, mowing lawns or pumping gas you learn what it’s like to do those jobs. Ultimately, you learn compassion for people who don’t succeed financially and have to struggle at dead end jobs their whole lives.

    Besides, where else do you get money to spend on your girlfriend? 🙂