Teenagers and Casual Jobs

Child No 3 (our youngest) started at her first casual job the other day. It made me realise again how fortunate we are to live in a place where these opportunities are available to our kids. The daunting aspects of a first (or new) job are all the same and probably even more so for a 14-year old but without major responsibilities the consequences are usually limited to a level manageable by someone of that age. All three our kids have part-time jobs and it’s been so good for them.

It’s such a good learning school for them to apply for a job, type up a resumé, send it off or hand it in, go for an interview, learn how to present yourself in such a situation, know the importance of always being on time, how to work in a team and earn some pocket money at the same time. (I don’t think the significance of the word “earn” can ever be overestimated, in all facets of life.) It teaches them the value of money and the things they want to buy with it, as well as to appreciate those things. It teaches them that a job pays even though you might be doing something very repetitive and boring, like Child No 1 when he worked on the broiler for hamburger patties (or “birdy broiler” – compliments of Lion King quotes – as we called it) shift after shift at his first job. It teaches them time management and balance because even though it might only be a few hours a week it still has to fit in around school, homework, sport and their family and social life. It teaches them to work under pressure, something which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives. Since most of the jobs available to the young teenagers are in retail or fast food outlets it teaches them how to smile when a grumpy customer who is having a bad day decides to take it out on them.

It also teaches them resilience and how to stand up for themselves if they happen to find themselves in a difficult situation which can happen if management isn’t great. Hopefully it teaches them to care about their job, how they do it and to want to deliver work of a high standard, but also not to care about it too much so it makes them stressed out which is definitely not necessary at this age. It’s a hard balance to find, even I struggle with this at times.

Another great part of our society is the fact that the kids can use public transport to get to and from work which teaches them independence and saves fuel, even though we’ve always fetched all three kids from work if their shifts finished any time after dark. All in all it teaches them important life skills and helps them grow up in an environment where there’s still a “soft landing”. Where it doesn’t matter too much if they make a few mistakes.

When Child No 1 was in his first job my husband would go through the drive-through when we knew No 1 was going to work at drive-through that day, and order an ice-cream just for the sake of it. Child No 2 goes busking sometimes and Ironman then catches the bus from his work to go and see her and he’ll drop some money into her guitar case (while she keeps a straight face and keeps singing pretending she doesn’t know this generous person). Now that Child No 3 is working as well he came up with a reason to go buy something at drive-through there the other day. The day she had her second shift she was told that it’s company policy that all employees have to wear name tags but work hadn’t organised hers yet, so she was given a random name tag to wear that was lying around.  The really funny part though is that it wasn’t even a girl’s name – it had once belonged to someone called Peter!  For the whole of her six hour shift she worked at the drive-through window wearing a name tag that says “Peter” (which would have been way more confusing for customers than if she’d worn none, but that’s just my opinion). And for some reason it’s now become acceptable for (and expected of) her to keep wearing a name tag that quite clearly doesn’t belong to her, there’s no indication of a name tag with her own name being arranged for her, so Peter’s has now become her name tag, so what can she do but graciously wear it with a smile? We’re all having a good old chuckle and if you can’t beat them Peter – join them.

The name tag

The name tag

14 thoughts on “Teenagers and Casual Jobs

  1. Love this! Please tell Peter that as long as she knows that they are talking to her all will be good – luckily Peter’s name has an awesome meaning!

    Waiting eagerly for the day my kids can start earning their money and know that the reserves in the bank can be depleted. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ek stem saam: Dis UITSTEKENDE ondervinding wat ‘n kind die res van sy lewe onthou.
    Dis tog interessant, dat ‘n kind wat nie mag werk voor hy 16 jaar is nie, en Departement Arbeid veral ons boere vreeslik dophou wat dit aanbetref, ‘n mens baie jonger kinders in winkels sien werk.
    Ek is baie bly vir hulle.


    • Dankie, en dankie vir die inloer en lees. Jy’s reg oor die ouderdom-ding, dis ‘n moeilike een. Miskien is dit strenger vir boere omdat dit moeiliker is om te polisëer (nie in die openbaar soos in winkels nie)? Dis jammer vir die mense wat die regte ding sou doen, hulle is die enes wat benadeel word (is ook maar baie so in die lewe nè?). Boerdery is nie vir sissies nie (my suster en swaer boer in die Kalahari, ek verstaan die uitdagings en haal my hoed af vir alle boere).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This made me laugh! It’s something I would expect to happen here and not in the First World, so I guess anything is possible, anywhere.
    Unfortunately part time jobs for children is something mine missed out on – anything available being reserved for Affirmative Action

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes we are very grateful that they have the opportunity to work as teenagers here. You’re right, anything is possible (and there are some lessons for the kids in that as well). It’s so funny – it looks like that name tag is staying.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminded me of a few different stories from my past!! Yep, I worked at KFC when I was at school. My first wage was about 25 cent and hour!! Truth!! Shows just how old I am.

    Second… when I was in the air force we were forced to wear name tags. I still think it’s a stupid idea but in those days I used to say there is no tag for me so I won’t wear one. Then, one day we had a big parade and someone said the colonel would specifically be looking out for name tags. I stood out like a sore thumb. The only one not wearing a tag! You can imagine… I had to report to his office after the parade to explain myself. I simply asked him if he would wear a tag with someone else’s name if the stores couldn’t supply him a tag with his name. No, was his answer. No, remained my answer!

    So… even in the military I got away with not obeying an order I thought was stupid! 😉

    PS – I hope Peter at least likes her alternate name!! 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

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