The number of working teens has witnessed a steady decline. In the summer of 2016, only 35 percent of teens were either working or actively seeking employment, compared to 60 percent in 1978. While this could be caused by the rise of technology, increased academic pressure, or any number of other factors, the benefits of working should not be dismissed.
Holding a part-time job can help a teen learn responsibility, time and money management, and necessary life skills. As long as the hours are manageable and don’t interfere with the student’s schoolwork, gainful employment is a healthy and necessary step toward adulthood. Here are five ways that teens can make money, whether in the summers or after school.
For many teens — girls especially — this represents the first notch in their professional belts. Since it usually occurs on a word-of-mouth basis, there are no set age restrictions — it’s a question of maturity and personal preference. If she has younger siblings, she likely already has the required skills. Put the word out to friends and neighbors that she would be willing to keep an eye on the tots the next time they’d like an evening out.
2. Agricultural labor
While the majority of these jobs take place in the summer months, they’re a good place to start because a child as young as 12 is permitted to do farm work if he has written parental consent. Raking blueberries, for example, is a highly social and physically invigorating way to make extra money. In the fall, apple orchards will sometimes hire young people to gather any fruit that’s fallen to the ground.
3. Dishwashing or busing tables
Having a background in the hospitality industry is always a valuable asset. Even for adults, it remains one of the fastest ways to make money — although the hours can be prohibitive for high school students who need to rise early. A shift or two in the dish pit or clearing tables will get her foot in the door, and possibly set her up for a better position in the years to come. A bonus: Working in a restaurant will give her a great perspective on human nature. If it’s a place where alcohol is served, she may also gain fresh insights on the importance of not drinking and driving.
4. Pumping gas
This position might be fading into the background of some states, but in others such as New Jersey, it’s actually against the law for motorists to pump their own gas. This is due to the safety hazards posed by individuals who don’t know what they’re doing; ergo, pumping gas is a necessary and valuable skill. For those who drive themselves, or are hoping to get their license soon, the atmosphere also provides a window into the world of automotive technology.
5. Bagging or stocking groceries
Not one of the more glamorous or exciting ways to make money, but another good stepping-stone opportunity all the same. As in the restaurant business, teens who start out low on the totem pole in a grocery or retail setting are well-positioned to take on a stronger role later on. Have her put out applications at all the area supermarkets. The majority of them are always on the lookout for dedicated workers.
Depending on the age of the child and the area you live, there are numerous ways for a teen to earn an extra buck or two. All it takes is ingenuity, dedication, and a strong work ethic — skills that any well-adjusted adult should strive to attain.