Stuck between the world of school and adulthood, it is hard to get a truly satisfying job when you’re a teen. However, not all summer jobs have to be McJobs, and some of them can actually help you prepare for what’s further down the track.
Work for Yourself
One idea involves a lot of hard work, but equal rewards: starting your own business. This is a serious task but a summer spent doing odd jobs for your neighbours, walking dogs, or babysitting is still a business, and if operated on business lines can make you a decent wage. A particularly good business idea (from www.businesstwins.com) is to paint house numbers on street sidewalks. For this you need a pot of paint, a quick check of local council regulations, and the gumption to knock on people’s doors. It is a good idea to do a quick survey of your neighbourhood to see how much people would pay you – you might find you could charge $20 a house. If your painting or handyman skills are up to it, you could also offer to fix numbers to the house itself – a simple task that many people never get around to doing.
Another ideal summer business is a car wash. This can be profitable and easy if you are able to organise to use some space at your local gas station – the customers come to you, the station gets more custom because some energetic teens are making a spectacle, and everybody wins. Also good for summer is gardening – take yourself door-to-door and offer a quick weeding service for a small charge, and you will be surprised how quickly the cash builds up.
Work in a Store
Taking a more traditional job requires no less work than operating a business and the key is to apply, apply, apply: in summer, there are thousands of students looking for work and the way to increase your chances of hitting the jackpot is to have a lot of entries. Don’t wait for employers to advertise: approach them with a polite enquiry and they may like you enough to interview you. Approach places you regularly shop at: people in stores notice regular customers, and the personal contact you have is a great start.
There are hundreds of industries that need seasonal workers, and the fact that you are young and (hopefully) healthy makes you just the person employers need. Investigate farm work, local parks (they may need more gardeners) and check out local government websites to see if they need interns. Talk to people about summer work and you might find there are a lot of areas you’ve overlooked.
Camp Counselling Work
This last idea is great fun, but also involves being away from home for the whole summer and babysitting snotty kids. That said, being a camp counsellor is a great way to boost your skills, and a lot of employers see it as a big plus on your resume, as it involves self-management, complex people skills and not a small amount of responsibility.
No matter what job you decide to go for, remember that work is work. Keep in mind all of the things the full-time workers you know say about work and your expectations will be sufficiently real for you to enjoy yourself.