First Job for a Teen

As teens begin to develop independence, they may want to take on adult responsibilities such as getting a job to make money on their own. As you weigh the pros and cons of your teen joining the workforce, consider their individual strengths and limitations. Some possible pros and cons include:

Pros

  • Gain experience in the employment search and interview processes.
  • Manage multiple responsibilities (school, work, friends, spending, etc).
  • Develop a sense of independence.
  • Gain financial awareness and ability to contribute toward personal expenses.
  • Learn inter-personal skills to deal with customers, co-workers and managers.
  • Gain experience in a profession (retail, service industry, construction, outdoor landscaping, etc.).

Cons

  • Mis-management of time can lead to falling grades, ignoring chores, etc.
  • Long hours, late nights.
  • They may enjoy their job and/or the steady paycheck so much that they want to change their long-term education plans.

 

If you decide that your child is ready for the responsibilities of working, help them decide what type of job is most appropriate for them. Have them write a list of strengths, weaknesses and career options they may be interested in. Teens need to understand that their future employers are looking for some very key attributes --- neat appearance, respectful, good communicator, reliable, prompt, take direction well, and ability to work well with others.

 
Summer Jobs - Consider starting your teens out with a summer job. Summer employment is helpful because they can slowly develop the responsibilities of working without putting schoolwork in jeopardy. Then they can slowly take on work hours during the school year when you feel they are ready.

Self-Employment - Self-employment is another option for teens. Examples include babysitting, lawn mowing, elder assistance, or a paper route. These can also be a great start because you and your teen will control the number of hours they work as well as their earning potential. With this option however, be sure to speak to a tax professional so you are aware of the tax rules and laws for a self-employed teenager.

Conclusion - Be sure to encourage your teen to participate in research during the entire process, from choosing the appropriate job to savings and taxes. Allow your teen to make the major decisions so they can get the most out of this milestone in their young lives.