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Now that summer is in full swing, you may have a kid that you’re trying to get involved in looking for a job. You want your son or daughter to learn a thing or two about responsibility, and you’re not going to be the one that’s paying to put gas money into his or her car now that it isn’t needed to drive to school every day. So, you want your teen to get a job.
I had it beat into my head over and over as a kid that youth – particularly your teens – is the springboard for the rest of your life. What you do during this phase does matter and can really help you or hurt you later on. If you went to college, got a useless degree, and are now $80,000 in student loan debt, you understand what I mean here.
Some jobs are more beneficial for the future.
While I don’t think there are any stupid jobs – if you’re providing for your family and yourself, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, regardless of the (non-illicit) job – I do think that there are some jobs that are more beneficial for long-term success than others.
Let’s say you have a 19-year-old that has spent the past five years working the summers as a cashier at the local fast-food company. While that’s great, and they probably learned a lot about responsibility, work ethic, finances, taxes, and the like in the process, what did they leave those five years with?
Well, they have the connections they’ve made, maybe a supervisor position, and something to add to their resume – and those things do matter – but did they leave with any appreciable skills? They can use a register, make a cheeseburger, work with customers and all that, but I don’t think anybody would argue that those things are going to be more beneficial than being able to know a tangible skill.
That’s why I would say that encouraging your kid to use their youth to their advantage – even with their summer jobs – would be a smart thing to do.
One guy I know spent his teenage years doing landscaping. He then went on to open his own mulch, topsoil, and gravel business when he was in his early 20s. He knew everything there was to know about working with each of these, had been able to save the money to invest in stock of each of them, and was successfully running a very busy company as a result of wise planning as a kid.
Another friend spent his time learning brick masonry. He later went on to go into a different field, but he now knows how to do hard landscaping. Should he ever need to moonlight to make a little extra cash on the side, he has the knowledge.
I don’t think it has to all be about trades, however.
I have plenty of friends that instead went the route of working their way up in a company over the years. While this is entirely possible at a fast food restaurant, these friends of mine did so at companies where there was a lot of ladder to climb, a lot of opportunities for advancement, and a lot of really great skills they learned along the way. Maybe in your area that’s the local window factory, the surveyor gigs, a propane company, or a solar power installation company.
For example here, I have a friend that went to work as a teller for a bank. When I saw her the other day, she was now working as the bank manager. She’d worked her way up, learning all the ins and outs of banking along the way.
Other friends of mine did the very same for a distribution warehouse in my area of a large company. They started unloading trucks, worked hard and were easy to work with, and gradually moved their way way up the ladder to very nice positions within the company.
There are a lot of opportunities out there for teens.
The point is that there are a lot of great opportunities out there job-wise for a teenager to not only make some money but to better themselves along the way if they’re willing to think outside of the box a bit. Becoming a barista or cashier isn’t the only option out there for them, and they need to be encouraged to think creatively here. Use your connections to give them ideas for places in your area where they may be able to get a job like this that will really set them up for “job success” down the road.
What are some of the options out in your area? Who do you know that’s hiring that a teenager could gain a lot of wisdom from? These are things to think about.
Have thoughts on the subject? Are there other ways, in hindsight, that you would have applied the same principles to your life? Let us know in the comments below.
Interested in more conversation akin to the above? Check out my book What School Should Have Taught You.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.