How to Determine Which Summer Job is Right For Your Teen?


Most of us can remember our first summer jobs.  The lazy strolls into work, the daydreams about being at the pool or on the beach while we reluctantly served customers or pushed brooms… the experiences we had during our first summer jobs were probably ones that we’ll be able to recall forever.  Thinking back on our first summer jobs may even bring up tales of sorrow, anxiety and misery, simply because we hated our first seasonal gig.  Others may look back on their summertime work from their teenage years and wish that it had never ended.

Luckily, parents today can use their experiences from their first summertime jobs when trying to help their own teens find their way into the appropriate seasonal workforce.  Carefully considering your teenager’s strengths and weaknesses will help ensure that your teen finds work that can be satisfying, productive, and even fun.

The first step you should take when trying to find a good summertime fit for your teenager is to make a list with two columns: one for strengths, the other one for weaknesses.  Then list out the issues and personality traits that you think may be important to consider when helping your teen look for work during the vacation season.

If your teen loves being outside during those long summer days and interacting with other people, then perhaps a job at the local amusement or water park would be the perfect fit.  On the other hand, if your teen is the type that would rather stay indoors and in the comfort of an air-conditioned facility while keeping the talking to a minimum, then maybe a job working at the local movie theater is right up their alley.

The next issues that you should address are your teen’s long-term career goals to see if they can be applied to a summertime gig.  For example, if your teenager plans on pursuing a career as a lawyer, then maybe they should take a summer to enjoy a carefree job in preparation for the long hours of study that will come once they get accepted to a university.  In contrast, if your teen wants to pursue a career that they can get experience in right away, like taking a summer internship at a local business or company, then maybe that’s the right choice for your teen.

Finally, make sure that your teen can fit their summertime job into the important parts of their current schedule.  You don’t want your teenager to work for an employer that isn’t going to allow them to attend summer school if your teen is already enrolled in classes, or a boss that won’t let your teen have certain evenings off for football or baseball practice.  Summer is a great time of year for your teen to get some work experience in, but it’s also necessary to keep your teen’s usual school schedule intact so as to avoid disruption when the regular school year starts back.

Whether you’re a parent that looks back on your first summer job with nostalgia and longing, or a parent that has spent years trying to get the horrid memories of your first summertime gig out of your head, it’s up to you to make sure that you use those experiences to help guide your teenager in the right direction.

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