I have a single-parent friend with a 17 year-old daughter. She’s attractive, level-headed, pretty ordinary in many respects, and likes to stay pretty much at home just hanging out, and has in the last year landed her first boyfriend. Pretty average, typical teenager behaviour; no spectacular awards, not out saving the whales, just trying to adjust to a 2-year-old parental split, and dealing with typical teenager issues as far as I can tell.
One issue that I do find interesting though is the lack of motivation to get a job and the extra cash that comes with it. Her dad, with whom she lives the majority of the time wants her to get a summer job as it would seriously help with education costs around the corner, and it wouldn’t be so bad if she had her own money to spend let’s face it.
I find it interesting that some teens can’t wait to get out and get their first job, and show drive and determination while discovering strengths and interests as well as even learning things they don’t want to do long-term. Others however lack this motivation and are content to spend summers in their bedrooms, sun tanning, chatting on-line, reading, hanging out etc. – all of which are good activities in moderation. This difference between teens isn’t unusual but rather to be expected. After all, you would find the same kind of differences and preferences in young adults, middle-aged people and seniors for that matter.
Still, why the pressure to get a job when your young? Well to put it bluntly, the people wanting you to get out and work are trying to get you some early experience to help you out later. It might not seem like much to get a job at a fast-food burger joint, or taking care of flowers in a garden centre, but you’ll find out later that the skills and experience you get in these early jobs looks good to future employers and even to school recruiters and future landlords.
You see, if you are motivated enough to get a job and learn some new skills, you will probably be motivated in other areas too. If you can learn by taking direction from your boss at the Electronics Store, you can bet that the owner of some place you really want to work later will assume you are used to taking directions and they don’t have to teach you absolutely everything as they would if you had never worked a day in your life.
In short, all that experience you aren’t getting now if you don’t look for a summer job might hurt you later in ways you can’t even think of now.
And let’s be honest, in some cases, if you aren’t busy doing something productive, that’s when the opportunity to get into trouble presents itself. The wrong people start putting thoughts in your head about just chillin’ and taking it easy. You might even be tempted with fast money; more money in a day or two than you could earn in a whole summer by doing something illegal. So why sweat it out over a hot grill making minimum wage when you could score big by taking something that isn’t yours? Bad advice.
Now I really don’t think the majority of young people are at risk of being recruited into crime by their friends. I do know however that many Employer’s have told me that what they are looking for in young people. Generally speaking, what they want is enthusiasm, some interest in learning, and dependability. All the technical knowledge you lack is what you’ll be taught.
Think about that first job and at a minimum getting your first resume together.