Most parents agree that there’s value in teens putting effort toward something other than classes and homework. Sports, clubs and volunteer work are awesome resume boosters that teach worthwhile life lessons.
However, there’s another activity that deserves some attention: working part time. Understandably, many parents want their teens to focus first on their academics and extracurricular commitments, but there are so many benefits for teens who work a part-time job. Here are six of the most notable:
They’ll learn about money. Before teens go to college, it’s essential that they learn fiscal responsibility. Mom and Dad won’t give an allowance forever, and high school is the prime time for teens to learn about budgeting, investing and saving for things they want (e.g. clothes, concerts and doing things with friends) and need (e.g. college textbooks).
They’ll become skilled at time management. Teens who want an income have to give up at least some of their free time. That means they need to be diligent about scheduling time for homework, sports/other practices and other to-dos, and adept at keeping a very organized planner. These skills become even more important in college, when the workload and expectations increase significantly.
They’ll learn work ethic. Even the act of researching jobs and going to interviews requires motivation and follow up. And once a teen has a job, he or she will inherently learn what it takes to perform well in different industries and how to meet and exceed the expectations of managers with different styles and personalities.
They’ll gain skills that aren’t taught in school. Performing well in school requires effort, but skills learned on the job in a restaurant or retail setting, for example, are valuable in a different way. Many jobs that are available to teens involve regular interactions with customers. They’ll need good listening skills, empathy, patience and more. Often, these jobs are in fast-paced settings too, so teens will become pros at working efficiently under pressure.
They’ll put their academic knowledge to use in the real world. Many of the duties of jobs in the retail and restaurant industries (where teens often work) involve technology (e.g. using a point of sale system) and math (e.g. preparing customer bills and making change). Office work is also a great way for teens to apply academic skills to the real world—skills like typing, reading, developing spreadsheets and writing.
They’ll gain exposure to different careers and industries. Teens who are convinced they want to become doctors might explore opportunities to work in doctor’s offices or hospitals—and while they are unlikely to interact directly with patients, even working in that environment is excellent experience. Any job that gives teens an idea of what a post-collegiate career they’re considering is actually like is a job worth taking.
Teens who work part time develop many indispensable skills that translate directly to life. While it is wise for a teen to make sure a job won’t interfere with school priorities and the ability to lead a balanced life, a job with reasonable hours and expectations offers many lasting and positive advantages.
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