Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jobs for Teens

Each of my three children have always been interested in earning their own money. We have always expected each of them, as family members, to contribute by helping with household chores. Those chores have been based on their age and ability and we have never actually given them an allowance for helping around the house. As a result, they have all been especially eager, to get jobs somewhere, to earn a pay check. Simple enough, I thought. Not so, it seems. Jobs for teenagers are harder to come by, then when I was a kid. An after school position, or even a summer job, isn't as easy as just asking at the local grocery store anymore. In Illinois, where we live, anyone under sixteen is required to have a work permit. Those permits are issued by the local district school superintendent.

First employment - at the sandwich shop.

As a homeschooling parent, I'm a bit miffed by the requirement to ask permission from the district superintendent for my children to work an actual job. It adds one more hoop to jump through and in my opinion, gives undo authority to district schools over a teen's earning potential. There are, however, "jobs" for teens that are not required to have permits - sports officiating (umpires at the local baseball field) is one, delivery of newspapers or caddying at the golf course are others. So without wandering to far off into the political weeds....

My oldest's first experience with earning his own money, came as a newspaper deliverer. At that time, a local community newspaper gave each edition to every residence in the community, delivered to each door by a local teen. This provided an excellent first "job" opportunity for preteens and teens in our neighborhood. These first opportunities were coveted in our town. Other families in our vicinity held the same positions, handing them down from one sibling to the next for many years. Unfortunately, the newspaper made the decision to end direct delivery and eliminated the jobs held by young people. Since then, most of the earning opportunities for my teens have come privately from neighbors and friends. Many based in the connections my oldest made as a delivery person.


The next ongoing, lucrative opportunity, came as a dog walker. Everyday, during the school year, my son walked a beautiful German Shepard whose owner had long work days and wanted her pet companion to have much needed daily exercise while she was at work. My younger son filled in on days when the primary dog walker had a schedule conflict. Dog walking was an excellent way for both of them to spend time with a canine friend without our family having to make the commitment to dog ownership. The bond established between boy and dog was, none the less, significant and meant a positive pet experience for both of them as well as earning money.

The pet care opportunities have expanded and my daughter has enjoyed taking care of a neighbor's ducks when their young family needs assistance. More challenging then poultry care, she has also had the opportunity to babysit and more recently she has become an assistant in a gymnastics program for beginning gymnasts. All of these experiences are leading toward a greater understanding of making a contribution in return for financial rewards.

Pet sitting includes feathered friends.

















Besides the financial benefit, the experience of accepting responsibility has been extremely beneficial for for my teen-aged children. Having the reinforcement of a paycheck from outside of our family emphasizes the importance of creating value, doing a job well and responsibility. Having teenagers in our family, who hold part-time jobs, requires me to add to my own responsibilities. Scheduling family meals is more complicated and driving them to and from jobs has been added to my to-do list. However, the benefits of them increasing their financial literacy and learning about employment is well worth the effort.