On the (Teenage) Job Hunt

Had to make sure to put the “Teenage” in the title, as I am still happily employed, and I’d like to remain that way as long as possible. However, Tomas is 16 and definitely unemployed at this point. That’s something he’s looking to rectify. At this point, though, I’ll admit I’m no longer sure how that all works as a teenager. It’s been a long time.

Originally, we thought we had everything lined up just right. He had worked at the pool teaching swimming lessons last year, and the plan was to build on that experience this year. Yes, there were some anticipated problems: we were going on too many vacations. Between Fiddle Camp, church camp, camping camp, Disney World, and more, the options for him to actually be able to work seemed few and far between.

Well, all those camps are gone now. (I just finished canceling all the Disney reservations, since it’s not open until July 15.) That means Tomas will have plenty of time, but . . . the pool is closed, so it’s not like he can work there. We talked for a while about finding “the right job,” but in the end, he came to the conclusion the “right” job is pretty much “any job” at the moment. Minimum wage in Maine is $12/hour, which is fantastic for a 16 year-old. So he’s checking out fast food and retail. Apparently these days the applications for those are all done online. (And there I was thinking we’d have to drive him around to pick up paper applications. I’m so old.)

We debated for a bit about how “safe” it is to be heading out to the front lines of fast food right now. Honestly, I think it’s much easier for a teen than an adult. If he gets sick and can’t work, it’s not like he’s in desperate need of the paycheck. He’s working for convenience, not for necessity. My first job was at the Golden Arches, and from experience, I think the company will be making a good effort to keep things clean and disease free. The bigger concern would be the customers, and for that, mainly the angry customers. (And I’ve had more than my share of experience with those.)

No idea which job he’ll get, if any, but I definitely believe having a job like that prepares you well for the workforce later in life. There’s something you learn firsthand when you realize you’re working for someone else, and whatever they say is pretty much the way things need to be done. Yes, you can always quit, but if you want that $12/hour . . .

It’s a different dynamic than you get “working” for your parents doing jobs around the house, or working at school on various assignments. Feedback is more immediate, and it’s harder to just procrastinate things. I think it’ll be good for him, if he can get the job.

Anyone local have any advice for a teen on the job hunt?


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