Chances are, you found this article by searching “How to Help Your Teenager Find their First Job” or “How Can I Get My Teenager Off the Couch?”
Whatever your search term, welcome. To this tiny corner where Moms chase hope and humour at every stage of parenting. And also help our teens find their first job using any number of strategies. Any of these sound familiar?
Subtle Mom: “Susan’s son just got a job. I saw him the other day and he looked happy. Super duper happy. I wonder if having a job has anything to do with that.”
Nostalgic Mom: “I remember when I had my first job. I made 12 cents an hour. Those were the best times….”
Godfather Mother: “Yo. Kid. Get a job already, will ya?”
No matter which strategy you use to nudge your teen into employment, their first job will be valuable. They will learn all kinds of lessons that don’t involve us using our words.
Pin this as an act of faith. Declaring boldly – my teenager will land a job. Soon.
Remember the launch of our teenage entrepreneur’s car cleaning business a while back? (read full story here):
He has been running this business for almost two years now, and like any businessman, has learned a few things. These are reflections on the many unexpected perks to a teenager landing their first job.
9 lessons from a teenager’s first job
1. It is easier to spend money than save it
You might as well learn this lesson as a teenager, right? Because we all feel the this truth sting when spending 7.2 hours holding a garage sale only to earn enough for a Frappucino and piece of lemon loaf.
Being a wise steward of money is so important. And what better way to learn how to save, than to actually have some money. But good news! We don’t always have to be the ones to give cash to our children.Better they make small financial mistakes along the way, than costly ones once they leave home.
2. Squirrels are onto something
Apart from living with a death wish when crossing the road, squirrels do have some solid practices. Like hiding away their haul for lean months. If your teenage entrepreneur has a weather-dependent business, this will be a valuable lesson. It’s important to have a budget, and pace your spending otherwise you are a rich boy in August and can’t afford a taco by February.
And booking a car cleaning for him during a freak snow storm was probably not my best idea as a Momanager. He just needs to become more of a squirrel.
3. Don’t let your mom name your company
Who knew that Car Clean Teen wouldn’t be a name my son would love forever and want to franchise?
It’s cute. Catchy. It rhymes. Oh..maybe that’s the problem….
In my defense, I had about 3 minutes to pull together a company name while I was hit with a barrage of 62 Moms on facebook (literally) wanting to book his services.
I also wanted to choose something that reflected his age (grade 9 at the time) so Moms wouldn’t be shocked when he hopped out of our vehicle to get to work.
4. A strong work ethic goes a long way
This boy has always known how to get things done. He works efficiently, without making excuses or procrastinating. And this has served him really well in this business.
The nice part about being self-employed is this – if his stash of cash starts to run low, he can drum up some business. He goes through his list and contacts clients who haven’t had their vehicle serviced in a while, making his life technically boredom proof.
5. Some people should just clean their own cars
To the sweet man whose vehicle had an inch of fur all over the backseats: you were very kind and appreciative, but I don’t think my son will work for you again. Not only did it take him triple the time of other jobs, but he could hardly stand the heartache when you said, “This looks awesome – too bad it will be full of fur by next week when I take all four dogs to the vet.” It was simply too much for him to bear.
6. Feedback from not-their-parents is valuable
Even as adults, it can be easy to get defensive when we are criticized, making us want to hide. But our son is learning to be open to feedback. When he has finished detailing a vehicle, he asks the client inspect his work. He is able to make it right if he has missed something, and they appreciate this added touch. Being open to feedback has allowed him to have a high client retention rate.
7. Teens shine brightest out of the house
It is easy to drop our guards and be our raw selves in our homes. How much more so for teens who are processing so much during their day? But the good news is our teens can be the best version of themselves when they find a job they enjoy. And they probably won’t even leave their socks lying around there.
Be prepared to get some fabulous feedback as your teen works in their new role; compliments you would never hear otherwise.
Mine arrived through texts after my son finishes a car cleaning. Clients uses phrases like, “you must be so proud” and “he is so repectful” and “I’ll definitely have him back again.” It’s basically every Mama’s dream to be able to see our teen through the lens of others.
8. There are unexpected perks
What better way for our teenagers to learn how to communicate, than through real life experiences like employment? They need to feel comfortable interacting with adults, making eye contact and having a confident handshake. Teens will learn to articulate in multi-syllables [wink]. They can learn to present confidently and be respectful. Getting their first job is like a boot camp for manners.
9. Timely parental support goes a long way
Not that I’m trying to put words in his mouth (ahem). There is so much truth in this last lesson. It can be hard to show teens support if they are in their stage of pulling away. Helping them secure employment is a simple way to do so. By supporting our kids with proofreading their resume, brainstorming opportunities or shuttling them to jobs, we are pouring into their lives tangibly. And in case your teen forgets to say it, “Thank you awesome parent!”
There are times when employment may not be right for your teenager – when the stakes are high for competitive marks or if your child is having a hard time coping with stress. And we need to keep a watchful eye that work does not infringe on their homework time or sleep. But overall, I have been thrilled with the lessons that come from watching our teenager’s first job successes.
Now for the next kid – anyone need a magician or a French tutor?
What lessons do you remember learning with your first job? Has your teenager learned any lessons from theirs? Chime in!
I’d love to encourage you further as you parent your teens. Check these out: