Cause and Effect – Teenage Employment

In recent years, the economic recession has taken a toll in our economy affecting both rich and poor families. High School students are having a difficult time finding a job as well. The oil prices are skyrocketing, home sales plummeting, retail stores falling, driving more teenagers than usual to look for employment. In the past, teenagers had a choice to work part-time or enjoying leisure time while receiving weekly allowances. Since most parents either lost their jobs or received pay-cuts from employers, their teen children are affected as well.In order to recover the necessities they once had, they must find a job.

“It is impossible to quantify how many affluent parents have trimmed allowances in recent months…But interviews with dozens teenagers, parents, educators, and employers suggest that many youngsters from well-to-do families seem to have found a new work ethic as the economic crisis that has jeopardized their parents’ jobs and invenstments.. ”(Foderaro 977). Survey shows that more than two-thirds of teenagers in the United States hold part-time jobs.While teenagers seek employment during this tough market, they will soon contribute to their family, become financially responsible, and as well acquire skills for the future. According to the U. S.

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Department of Labor figures released in August, 2008, that the unemployment rate for working-age teens rose to 20 percent, nearly four times the overall 5. 7 percent unemployment rate. This shows a domino effect in during the recession when people are losing their jobs, they will start budgeting and shop less, retailers will shortly go out of business and more jobs will be lost.Foderaro stated in her article, “The Well-to-Do Get Less So, and Teenagers Feel the Crunch,” to the teenage employment problem, older workers are going after traditional teen jobs in retail and food services increasing the teen unemployment rate. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics; teenagers in middle – class families are the most likely to be working, but unemployment among workers remains high.

High school teens start building work skills to become familiar with the type of responsibilities they do not have at home.A summer work program has a tremendous impact putting kids to work and learning the means of employment. Due to budget cuts, cities are having a difficult time finding work for teens. “In the face of budget cuts, local governments and nonprofits are offering a fewer jobs for teens. Private sectors are harder still for programs to come by, despit the wage supplements…that it’s not hard to see why private employers are reluctant. Many companies are laying off workers at one level and then being asked to take on young workers is a challenge (Writz).Teenagers are going to have to try twice as hard to compete with older adults for jobs once was catered to the youth.

Why do high school students work in the first place? As many as 83 percent say they spend their paychecks on entertainment while others seek to pay for necessities such as clothing, cell phones, and car insurances. Still others work to contribute to their families’ finances. During the recession, teenagers from all social class are maturing earlier than most teens from previous generations. Families are losing homes and making big sacrifices to adjust to a budgeting lifestyle.

The latest U.S Department of Agriculture estimates of family spending on a typical teenager between $9,000-$9,500 per year. Children from low-income families are more likely to contribute than nonlow-income households. Today more teens are contributing to pay for his/her expenses to avoid the burden of asking for money during the recession. Foderaro mentioned in her article that Research shows the bigger allowance you get from mom and date, the less likely you are to work. However, since business is slow and parents are feeling the crunch, the children are becoming understanding and sincere towards their families budget cuts.

Teenagers from working – middle class families are, of course, feeling similar, if not more acute pressure. Sumit Pal, 17, a senior said his parents cut his $5 weekly allowance and doesn’t mind losing his allowance either as it will contribute towards other things, like groceries”(Foderaro 978). Once summer arrives, teens will wonder what to do with their time. Are they going to bypass the benefits of employment, or having an interest in finding a part/full time position? Anyone who has the ability to do so in such a difficult economy would be irrational not to do so.

The experience and earnings as a young employee will contribute to their future even if it is not that evident right away. It is important for teens to be employed to understand the concept of job responsibilities. “Dress codes, rules, punctuality, and being teachable is enrichment in itself, Mrs. Neiser said. You’re contributing to the economy, your contributing to your personal economy and picking up skill sets and habits that will prepare you for full-time employment” (979 Foderaro). It is never too early or too late to start establishing a job resume.This is foremast true for employers hiring them for the first time and starting to have the urge for money in their pockets at sixteen years old. A summer job will help teens stay out of trouble and become productive at the same time.

Playing video games and waking up late may be fun for most, but it’s not a great idea to spend the entire summer, especially during the economic recession. By seeking employment, a teen will soon understand the expectations in the future once they enter adulthood. The sooner the training, the better chances they will mature as responsible adults.Maintaining a job builds characters in ways that hanging around doing nothing simply cannot.

They will learn to help others and gain empathy for customers, supervisors and other colleagues. In addition, my personal experience as a teen employee affected me positively as I contributed to the workforce at an early age of fourteen. Due to financial problems growing up, I was obligated to work to help with my family’s income. After joining the city Summer Youth Program, I was hired as a children’s librarian assistant and a registrar assistant at my local high school the following summer.By the time I reached my senior year, I already had work experiences working for four different companies. I learned the simple office tasks such as faxing, answering phones, filing, customer service, cash handling, and assisting the public.

The skills benefited me throughout high school as I learned time management, budgeting my finances, and making better teen decisions. After establishing a skilled resume, which landed my first full-time office job for a surf retailer after high school. I was fascinated with the action sports lifestyle where I found my passion for fashion.This encouraged me to continue networking within the industry while pursuing my educational goals in fashion.

Currently, I am employed at one of the leadings surf company in the world and studying towards my Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising. If it wasn’t for the summer youth program I’m not sure where I will be at this point in my life. While the benefits of working and studying, some argue teens who work more than fifteen hours a week have lower participation rates in extracurricular activities and receive low grades than students who work fewer hours or not at all (Stern).This is where parents need to set rules for their child to maintain good grades and to determine the hours he/she are able to work. In addition, most jobs require teens to meet adult goals and to function in adult situations. Managers and colleagues can offer positive role models to students and the “real-world” demands of punching a clock and learning to work well with others teaches responsibilities and work ethics.

Research conducted in the late 1990’s shows that student who work fewer than fifteen hours a week have more positive attitudes about work and higher future earning potential (Stern).Teenagers are at the age figuring out his/her identity and overcoming obstacles during this economic crisis. Teens will eventually prepare themselves for the future sooner or later. To have a job during High School, they will contribute to their family, become financially responsible, and acquire skills for the future. It is never too early or too late to start building a resume.

Author: Adrienne Rose


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