4 Reasons Your Teen Should Get a Job
You might think your teenager shouldn’t get a job because it could distract from their schoolwork or social life, but getting a part-time job actually has several benefits for high schoolers. Not only will it prepare them for life after school and valuable lessons about work ethic, but it’s something your teen might even come to enjoy! If you’re looking for a way to get your teenager to be productive with their spare time, I highly suggest helping them find a job. Here are my top reasons why.
- Jobs Help Teens Find Direction
This might not be the first thing most parents think of when they think about their teenager finding an after-school job, but it’s one of the best benefits of starting work from a young age. The faster your teen gets into a working position, the faster they’ll begin figuring out what kind of work they enjoy doing, and what kind of work they want to avoid. For instance, if your teen finds a job in customer service as a retail associate, they might discover they love the social part of the job, but don’t feel comfortable upselling merchandise and promotions. This is a good sign your teenager needs a people-oriented job, but probably not one in sales!
Often, teens head off to college not totally sure what they want to do; they might have a broad idea about studying business, medicine, science, or the humanities, but their career goals are still fuzzy. While this is totally okay (who knows exactly what they want when they’re eighteen?) having some previous work experience will give your teen a head start in knowing what they want to do down the road!
- Jobs Polish Social Skills
When teenagers spend all their time with friends, teachers, classmates, and teammates, their social skills can get a bit rusty. The slang they use with their friends might slip into conversations with adults at inappropriate times, and the mannerisms they have with their teachers don’t always encourage open contribution to adult conversations. By getting a job and being part of a professional team with people older than them, your teenager will learn how to talk and communicate with people from all ages and backgrounds.
This might not seem like a pressing issue, but in the long term, teenagers who already know how to behave and cooperate with managers, coworkers, and clients will have an easier transition into work life after high school and college!
- Jobs Encourage Time Management
If there’s one thing high schoolers are known for, it’s procrastinating. There’s a common phrase used amongst high schoolers (particularly seniors, who often check out once they get accepted to college): “Due tomorrow, do tomorrow.” Pushing things off to the last minute is a harmful way to go through school and life, and it’s important for teenagers to ditch procrastination early on. And a job might be just the thing to help.
At work, teens can’t afford to procrastinate. If they’re assigned a task—whether it be to bus a table, help a customer with a purchase, or make a delivery—it has to happen immediately. There’s no way to put it off or get distracted by their phone, and if they do slack off, there will be instant consequences from their manager. Jobs help teens realize the importance and ease of completing tasks straight away as well as teach the value of prioritizing tasks so everything on their to-do list gets done in a timely manner. This will transfer over not only into their school life, but their professional life going forward! Just think about how much it will help with chores.
- Jobs Develop Financial Skills
Lastly, one of the greatest things early jobs teach teenagers is the value of money. Once your teenager starts working, you can finally stop loaning them tens and twenties to go hang out with their friends! Instead, you can tell them to front their own expenses with the new money they’re earning from their job. I’m willing to be your teen will quickly realize just how far a dollar goes and become more judicious in their spending.
Having a job is also a great opportunity for teens to learn how to save money. If your teen learns the benefit of saving and investing early on, they’ll be more likely to do it in the future, leading to serious financial success! Having a job is a brilliant way to give your teenager a crash course in finance.
Get to Work
If you think your teen has the time to get an after-school job, I highly encourage you to help them find one! It’ll teach them heaps of great lessons about hard work, financial independence, social skills, and organization.
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.