For teens, a summer job can mean several things, including freedom from the monotony of school work, a taste of what the ‘real world’ has to offer, and a chance to earn money as well as begin to learn the value of it.
Here’s my advice for first time teen job seekers and those looking to earn a little extra cash while gaining some valuable work experience:
1) Restaurant Wait Staff
This job offers a number of introductory skill sets for the teenager, including polishing their conversational skills, multitasking, working under pressure, and working with a team. It’s a challenging job that, if done well, can lead to higher earning potential than almost any other teen job.
Keep in mind that some positions will require you to share your tips with other staff, while other jobs may let you keep everything you earn. This job may require you to work late into the evening and most weekends. Busy weekend shifts offer the highest earning potential.
If socializing isn’t your thing, you can still make some coin working in the kitchen as a busboy or busgirl. Either way, working in a restaurant is fast-paced, and the camaraderie with the other staff and the fast pace make the job fun.
2) Grocery Store Clerk or Bagger
I really enjoyed my time as a bagger at the grocery store in the summer as a teen, although I only did it for two summers. The pay isn’t great – it’s generally minimum wage or slightly more if you’re lucky. The best part is you get to be pretty social, you work with a lot of people your own age (especially in the summer), and the environment is air-conditioned and comfortable.
The pace is far more relaxed than working in fast food restaurants and the work is relatively easy in comparison to many other jobs. In addition, baggers who actually help people to their cars can also earn tips — if the store allows it. Occasionally, I would make more in tips than in wages on overly-busy days.
Becoming a lifeguard is a good job if you’re an above-average swimmer. It generally pays a little better than other entry level jobs ($9-$10 per hour), and you can work on your tan all summer. (Be the envy of all your classmates when you return to school!)
The job requires that you be at least 15 and take and pass a class to become certified. Most lifeguards work with children and need to possess above-average maturity as on-the-job negligence is not acceptable.
4) Pizza Delivery Driver
Teens love driving and listening to music, so it seems pizza delivery is a natural fit. The job doesn’t pay much –delivery drivers rely on tips to make up for that. You need to have a driver’s license, a car, and a good driving record. Collecting money and delivering pizzas in a timely manner teaches responsibility.