Authored by H. Clare Callow in Kids and Teens
Published on 05-31-2009
Making money as a teenager can be hard, particularly when jobs are scarce generally. Employing someone under age can provide difficulties that most businesses don’t want to have to deal with, and the restrictions the government places on the places and hours teenagers can work further limits your options. If you want a job for the summer you have to be smart, persistent and lucky, but it can provide you with valuable skills as well as some ready money of your own.
Having a personal contact can increase your chances greatly. When you start to look for a summer job (you should start looking around one term before the summer – remember that just about every other person your age would like a summer job as well) start by asking your family and everyone you know whether they know someone who might like a helper over the summer. If you go into a store frequently, ask them if they might be interested. Not everyone lists potential job openings, and it can’t hurt to ask.
Another option is to run your own business for the summer. This can be challenging but very rewarding – and can help you identify the skills you have. If you have younger brothers or sisters, you probably have experience looking after kids and should consider offering your services as a babysitter. If you play an instrument, you might want to think about doing some busking (check the laws of your local council first – you might need to get a permit). If everyone on your street owns an animal, you might get some work looking after pets while people are away on vacation. People might also welcome your help in everyday household things, such as re-painting their letterbox or mowing their lawn. Ask everyone you know for their advice on what they think you could do.
If you are going to work for yourself, think about safety. Talk with your parents about your plans and get their help figuring out the best way to do things. They might also be able to give you some ideas on what sort of work you can do and what you should charge for it (if they work in an office, they might also be able to photocopy your advertising material for you).
If your options are limited, consider asking your parents and family members for pieces of work you could do to earn some money. While your parents might not be able to afford much, there might be small tasks you can do to lighten their workload and fill your pockets. Again, it can’t hurt to ask.
As a twelve-year-old, you are at a slight disadvantage because you are at the far end of the market, job-wise. The government places a large number of restrictions on the types of work you can undertake under the age of 13. There are good reasons for this (to prevent young people being taken advantage of or placed in a dangerous situation), although it can be frustrating when you’re looking for a job. Write up a list of the things you are allowed to do, and your options will seem better.
For more information about the hours you are allowed to work and the jobs you can hold, a handy website to see is www.groovejob.com