Work or Play: Encouraging Teens to Get A Summer Job

Matt is a 17-year-old from New York City, NY. He loves to be social and spend time with his friends, as well as being an active leader in his community. However, school also plays an important role in his life and he is motivated to achieve his dreams.


summer, job, work, play, advice, money, Who says that work can’t be fun too? I won’t lie, I used to hate the idea of working. I thought it was boring, pointless…and why would I give up my summer? But, I was completely wrong. Last year was my first time ever working over the summer and I have no regrets at all! I learned so much about myself and about other people in a mere eight weeks. Last summer I worked as a camp counselor for 3rd graders at the camp that I actually attended when I was in grade school. It was great to work in an environment that gave me so many amazing summer memories. I loved all of my experience so much that I am working at the same camp again this summer. With a year of experience on my back, I’m sure this summer can only be better than the previous. Parents, I recommend you talk to your teens about applying for a summer job!


There are many reasons, in my opinion, why a teen should work over the summer. Let’s get the obvious idea out of the way: the economy is in no position to let teens spend money “willy-nilly.” My parents and my friend’s parents have stopped giving us money to spend unless in an absolutely necessary situation. So, the first reason is so your teen earns his/her own money. With this, your teen will feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility as well!


Another reason to encourage your teen to work over the summer is something that I briefly mentioned in my opening. Over the summer, working, you learn a lot about yourself. Potentially, your teen will learn how he/she works best, under pressure or nice and slow, how he/she relates with other teens and supervisors, how he/she deals with a great sense of responsibility and much more! Last summer I realized that I am truly a “people person” in the sense that I can easily relate with most people. On top of this, I realized that I produce my “best” work under pressure but my most accurate work when I take it nice and slow.


Parents, when you first recommend to your teen that you think he/she should work this summer, you may not receive such a “hot” reaction, just a heads up. Many teens want to continue at camp, travel around Europe with best friends, and/or stay on a college campus. If you couldn’t tell already, working was not on the above list.


Here is some advice to help you try to convince your teen to work this summer:


1) Explain how working gives you new life experiences and helps you mature.

2) Discuss the fact that your teen will be given a great deal of responsibility– something that every teen wants.

3) Emphasize that making your money has a different feel: you become more careful with how you spend the money YOU earn, not your parents.

4) Along with the third reason, your teen will really learn “the value of a dollar.”

5) This is my last piece of advice, because I personally believe it’s not as important as the other four BUT: having a summer job is a great résumé booster.


These five pieces of advice should help to get your teen to start thinking about the amazing opportunities there are over the summer. But now, let’s discuss some potential jobs:


1) Camp counselor

2) Sales associate at a clothing store

3) Starbucks barista

4) Waiter/waitress

5) Work at an office


On top of these five, there is always the possibility of receiving an unpaid internship. These are typically in the office of a corporation. Though there is (usually) no money involved, my friends have told me that they still felt a great deal of responsibility and learned a lot about themselves in the process.


This should help you, the parent, start a conversation with your teen about working this summer. Remember, we are young and we do want to enjoy our teen years. However, emphasize the fact that working can be just as fulfilling as a trip to Europe!



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