When your teen hits working age, it’s time to consider the idea of a summer job. Seasonal jobs may help instill teens with responsibility and give them more independence as they earn their own money as well as teaching them job skills. While summer jobs or even occasional gigs during the school year increase a teen’s feeling of independence, they also may give teens a little insight of the realities of the corporate workforce.
Depending on what type of job your teen hopes to secure after college, a job or even an internship may help introduce them to the world of their future. At the same time, they can gain some valuable work experience and decide if this is the path for them. No, a teen cannot be a lawyer yet. However, they may be able to work as a receptionist at a small-town firm. No matter what job your teen secures, though, make sure their online presence represents them well and doesn’t include inappropriate photos. Yes, employers check social media sites.
Job skills go beyond typing and hands-on expertise, though. Job skills include the subtle nuances that are necessary to thrive and survive in the workforce. Here are seven ways even those small summer jobs can instill a work ethic and teach job skills:
1. Grace under pressure.
Where’s my order! Working in fast-food or as a server at a restaurant will have your teen face-to-face with the general public. The customer is always right, and dealing with tough customers teaches teens how to navigate stressful situations and problem solve.
2. Time management.
You can’t be late to work, unless you want to be written up … or fired. Teens learn that their bosses expect them on-time and ready to work. No hitting snooze 10 times! The real world doesn’t care if you stayed up late to binge watch a Netflix show!
3. Be a team player.
Almost every job requires employees to be part of a team. Teens have to learn to get along with co-workers and being part of a team helps them understand that you have to coexist with many different personality types.
4. Money matters.
Teens will earn their own money, and parents need to help them understand how to manage it. Should part of each check go towards savings? Or can your teen spend it all? Go over the paystub and discuss how much was taken out because of taxes and help your teen learn the meaning of their financial bottom line.
5. Learn from mistakes.
One of the best experiences teens learn from holding a job is how to bounce back from mistakes. Everyone will screw up sometimes, but how you handle that mistake makes a difference.
6. Authority figures.
Teens already know that their teacher is the boss of the classroom. But suddenly they will be thrust into an environment filled with managers, assistant managers or even supervisors. Learning the chain of command early may help teens recognize how the corporate world will work later.
7. Attitude is everything.
No one wants to work with the negative co-worker. Early work experiences may help teens learn how to manage their emotions, and how their behavior and attitude effects the atmosphere.
Holding a summer or seasonal job is a great way to help teens gain valuable work experience that will help them later in life. Learning to work with the public, handle pressure and deal with multiple levels of management all will serve teens well when they enter the workforce as young professionals. While parents can teach some skills, hands-on experience is the best teacher to help teens gain insight into the realities of the real world.