Teen Jobs



Ava Kavanagh, Staff Writer

As societal patterns shift from being content with a simplistic job to spending years bulking a college resume in order to seek a career path, teenage jobs become less and less desired. Instead, summertime is spent accumulating credits, community service hours, and unpaid internships.

On top of this, it’s also difficult for employers to hire teens due to several restrictions. The 1995 Omnibus Child Labor Reform Act permits a maximum of 28 hours of work per week with a limit of 4 hours each school day, or 8 hours before a non-school day. A standard shift is 8 hours, meaning if companies hire a surplus of teens, employers must double staff. By the mid-1990s, the share of teenagers who wish they had a job has fallen by about 50 percent. Thus, teenage employment decreases due to the low desire of high school students which, in theory, stemmed from the Omnibus Child Labor Reform of the mid-1990s.

Another obstacle for adolescents in the workforce is transportation. If a family cannot afford a car for the teen, or the teen doesn’t have a license, public transportation and Uber may be their only solution. With an already low minimum wage and motive for the teen population, this becomes unrealistic.

Moreover, teens seek out high-end retail stores and popular fast-food stops to work. Without experience, these jobs go to college students and adults with higher availability and experience. According to a Child Trend survey, only 20% of high schoolers are employed compared to the 45% employed undergraduates. Aside from a few exceptions, such as teens with recommendations or a supportive family business, high schoolers are relegated to low-end jobs and inconvenient hours. Considering the limited hours, expensive back-and-forth transportation, and lack of experience, the negatives of a teenage job begin to outweigh the positives.

Despite the multitude of faults teenage jobs have, there are beneficial aspects of working while in high school. Almost all college graduate careers require substantial customer service and adaptability, and these skills can be fostered in a teen’s first job. It also teaches the importance of budgeting and understanding the value of a dollar. It is essential to immerse yourself into the culture of several jobs early on, after all, it can only help you later on.

Considering both pros and cons, there are a few tips to assist in locking down your very first job: for a retail job, submit applications in mid-September for the best chance at a seasonal job. Likewise, for a summer job, submit applications in the winter or spring. After strategically timing the submission of your resume, maximize your chances by submitting an application online, with a brief follow-up in person. This allows employers to connect a face to a name, increasing your likelihood of being hired tremendously.

While a first job may feel like serving time, after your first 6 months of working as a teen, a retail job is just in reach. Although employment may seem a hard feat with many discouraging obstacles, once obtained it can set you up for a better job in college and an eventual rewarding career.

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