July 4, 2015

What's going on with teens and summer jobs?

Earlier today, a friend of mine sent me a New York Times article on the new summer jobs reality for many teens in the United States. Although it talks about American teens, it's still relevant as many of the same trends can be seen here in Canada.

I found the article very interesting, especially when it explores the emerging trend of teens forgoing summer employment. While it's true that intense competition for summer jobs leads many teens to be involuntarily unemployed, there's also been a shift in the mentality about whether or not a summer job is necessary and if it's all that it's cracked up to be.

Quite simply, it appears that the days of thinking that a summer job is what every teen needs are long gone. With more teens attending summer school, taking on multiple projects with school clubs and extracurricular activities, volunteering/interning, or training to pursue their athletic goals, and the reality that there is only 24 hours in a day, sometimes a summer job just isn't feasible.

I would highly recommend that both teens and parents read the article. For teens, it might provide a sense of relief that other teens are struggling to take on a summer job in addition to their other commitments. And for parents, it might help them understand their teen's reluctance to actively pursue a summer job.

Now, don't get me wrong - I think a summer job is a great way to gain valuable skills and experience. But at the same time, other activities can give you the same skills and experience - and just because they aren't paid doesn't make them any less important. And in fact, they can be even more important for things like university and college applications.

But what do you think? Is this new trend problematic, or does it reflect a new reality for teens? Is having a summer job still the most important thing or is a breath of experiences just as valuable in today's job market?

Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts and I'll include them in a follow-up post that I'm planning for next week!