By Haley Droste, Courier & Press, May 10, 2016 –
Summer break from school is often anticipated for months before its arrival. The thought of sleeping in, no schoolwork and relaxing the summer away are reason enough to make anyone swoon.
The argument can be made, however, that balancing your teen’s summer freedom with a summer job is one of the best decisions for their present and future.
Teens have the opportunity to learn a great deal about themselves through summer work. A summer job provides the opportunity to build self-confidence and promote and instill independence.
Working may also give teens the opportunity to meet and mix with others they may have never met otherwise. It can also provide an opportunity for teens to learn from others and further develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Bringing home a paycheck provides a sense of accomplishment. It also allows teens to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the value of money. When teens are required to earn and manage income, it provides them with a greater sense that money doesn’t “grow on trees.” Instead, they begin to understand that it requires hard work and responsibility to obtain it.
With gained income comes the responsibility to budget and plan. Deciding what they want to spend money on and what they need to save and plan for is a good exercise. Making their own money allows teens to gain some independence from family, which can help pave a successful pathway to adulthood.
Summer employment for teens provides the opportunity to learn several life skills, such as how to search and inquire about employment, how to complete an application, how to create a resume, how to seek out references for employment and how to successfully tackle an interview.
Seeking employment is a learning experience that can be helpful for teens even if they don’t end up getting a job. Summer employment is an opportunity for teens to have a “step up” on their competition when it comes time to enter the adult workforce.
Not only are teens learning the importance of hard work, reliability and time management through summer work, they are also gaining work experience universities and future employers will deem valuable.
A summer job can also help teens choose a potential career path. Summer work is a great time for teens to try out different things they may have an interest in. For example, if a teen is interested in sales, they may try a retail position. This could provide the opportunity to learn sales from a very basic level and gain experience in customer service.
If a teen is interested in teaching or working with children, they may look for a job working at a summer camp or baby-sitting. A summer job can be a springboard into the right direction for their future.
Summer should be enjoyed, but it should also be valued for the opportunity it provides for teens. As we near summer break, give some thought to what summer work may look like for your teen.