So you’re a teenager and you’re beginning to think about jobs. Let us be the first to say congratulations.
You might not realize it, but you are making the absolute best decision ever. Whether your parents forced you to do it or whether it was of your own initiation, it’s a huge step you’re taking and we’re so excited for this chapter of your life.
“According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every year a person works in their teens, their income raises 14-16 percent in their 20s. When teens choose to have a job, employment teaches responsibility and good work habits, improves time management and organizational skills and helps them save money.”
You need to realize the situation that you are in right now -- take a step back -- zoom upwards, get out of yourself for just a moment. Take a look at your life, look at your parents: you see them doing jobs; maybe they love them, maybe they hate them. But you will be in their position in life before too long. Right now, you have the absolute best opportunity to put yourself on a trajectory to have a fulfilling job, career, and life.
Teen jobs can be rewarding and fun
Along with the many benefits of teen jobs (including increased chance of graduating high school), there are so many jobs that teens can hold these days. That means that you don’t have to do a paper route or wash your neighbors cars if you don’t want to. Or you can. It’s up to you what route you take.
One kid we know had a track record of some really fun jobs. He worked as an intern in a Hollywood Production office. He produced his school’s anniversary video series interviewing faculty about the school’s history. While still in high school, he worked as a photography store stocker, turned photography salesman, turned actual photographer for weddings and churches. Pretty cool, huh?
Somewhere in that teen job career, he worked as a restaurant server at local diners, restaurant hosts, host manager and yes, even as the restaurant’s bird mascot. When he got to college, he got a job as an Art Lab Computer Tech, worked as a gardner, a painter, and event waiter, and even a golf course caddy.
There are so many interesting jobs you can do as a teen, especially when you are in that sweet discovery phase of your life, when you might not have the same responsibilities in life you’ll have just a few years from now. This same kid also worked his (at the time) dream job selling skis and helping others develop the same love and passion for the sport that he had.
Imagine doing something you love and getting paid for it!
At CareerBliss, that’s what we’re all about, and that’s why we love helping teens find jobs that will kindle their passions, whatever they are. It definitely beats wasting time doing something that doesn’t make your life better for tomorrow and in so doing, also makes someone else’s life better.
The Chutzpah to just do it
Chutzpah is a Yiddish word for extreme self-confidence or audacity--that is, doing something no one else would dare. As a teen looking for a job, having (or developing) a certain degree of chutzpah can really help in your job search.
People may have a tendency to undervalue what teens can offer because they might not have the life experience that one would expect of someone applying for a job. But Chutzpah can change that all in a second. The story goes that one teen, let’s call him Taylor, walked into a job interview at a patio furniture store. The manager was busy, so instead of sitting around twiddling his thumbs waiting for the manager to join the interview, Taylor just started helping customers. He ended-up selling three pieces of furniture on the spot, one after the other -- the manager, very impressed, certainly didn’t stop him! Taylor did the unexpected. He just started doing the job he wanted without waiting for an official title or job offer to take shape. And he quickly proved himself to the manager and customers alike.
So how can you tap into your own chutzpah? Try to find fun and adventure in everything you do, no matter how mundane the initial task is. Do that and you will find yourself automatically engaging your creativity and ingenuity to challenge yourself to always make it fun and adventurous. This way no job or school assignment will seem mundane or boring.
The fallacy of getting to know yourself
While getting to know yourself through the course of your life is important, one of the first things we want you to realize as you try to get to know yourself better is this: realize that you are not going to! You may hear and feel a lot of pressure and expectations to know yourself, but push that to the back burner for now. You’re in high school, and that’s a whole growing and learning process in itself as you become the person you want to be.
The chair of one LA Film school advised that you are not going to have everything figured out when you’re in college. So you as a teen can relax knowing that you certainly don’t have to have it all figured out in high school. Realizing this can help alleviate some of the burden you might be feeling as you try to find the job of your dreams.
You will get to know yourself the best by not feeling pressured to do so. Just let yourself be, and learn as you take the ride of life. Push yourself to achieve great things. But do so without the pressure of having to figure life and yourself out just yet.
Mentorship advice for savvy teen job-seekers
The web is swamped with articles on jobs for teens, and how to get them. But when it comes to teen jobs, some of the best advice we can give is to do something that gets you around people who can mentor you. Mentorship is important throughout your professional career, but as you just start exploring the wonderful world of work and your own career aspirations, mentorship is critical. The more that you can invest in yourself now, the better off you’ll be further down the road.
What kind of job should you have? The better question is, what kind of job can you actually get?
The best way to structure your search for jobs as a teenager is this: figure out how much money you’ll need to earn, then find a job that can cover your needs. If your parents are covering most of your room and board, then great. If not, then you have an even more exciting challenge ahead of you. Whatever the amount is, get it covered with a job that pays your way. Then you can use the rest of your time to invest in yourself and do things that are productive and make your life better.
So, how can we apply these principles to you picking a great teen job for yourself? The idea is that you want to invest your time in a job that will invest the most in you. So, go get a job in whatever will pay you enough money so that you can then go intern for someone, or volunteer/ shadow with someone that you really want to be like.
What you pick as a teen job right now is not as important as the people you choose to have around you, and the atmosphere you choose to be in.
If the only job that will hire and pay you the kind of money that you need is washing windows, or being a server, then great. Do that, then go spend your other time volunteering at the photography store, the music store, the sports retail store. You might even look into volunteering/interning in a professional environment such as a marketing agency or an accounting firm.
Whatever your passion is right now in life, go pursue that. If you can get a job in that, then great.
Best jobs for teens
Jobs with you hands:
Gardener, lawnmower, landscaper, handyman for neighbors, housecleaner, shoveling snow, delivering newspaper, dog grooming, bagging at the local grocery store, dog waking, house cleaning, leaf raking, maintaining yards.
Jobs with computers:
Help your neighbors or parent’s friends with their computer needs; start an online business (like selling stuff, taking surveys, etc), Web designer.
Jobs with neighbors:
Walk their dogs, babysit their kids, raking leaves, being a companion to the elderly, yard maintenance, washing cars, nannying, lawn mowing, house sitting, plant sitting.
Jobs with kids
Teacher’s assistant, tutor, camp counselor, babysitter/nanny.
Here are just a few companies that tend to be friendly toward hiring teen workers
Want to get a quick start on your applications? Check out the employer profiles on CareerBliss at each of the links, and see what job openings they have near you.
Your career happiness is our #1 priority here at CareerBliss. To help you succeed in your career, we offer a wide variety of tools and resources to help you out along the way. Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!