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Teen Jobs Made Easy

The fireworks have lit up the sky, the barbecue has had its first few go-rounds, which can only mean one thing: Summer is here.

Summertime is the perfect time to introduce your older teens into the workforce and teach them about financial responsibility. While the unemployment rate for teens ages 16-19 in our country stands at 19.2% in the month of May compared to the national rate of 6.3%, your teen should not be discouraged. There are jobs in the Tampa Bay community and it’s going to take some work. By the end of summer break your teen will not only have gained extra income, but valuable life lessons.

Not only will your teen learn the value of money by working, but they will also learn about themselves and learn to push the limits of their comfort zone. It’s not always easy, no matter how old you are, to put yourself out there and push for the job you want. It’s a competitive world out there. Encourage your teen to approach the manager at their favorite store or theme park and inquire about employment opportunities. The more they do it, the easier it will become. Talk about a confidence booster!

If your child is in programs that don’t allow for traditional jobs, there are a few ways to get the benefits of summer work without the strict scheduling conflicts.

1. Encourage your child to be an entrepreneur. 

Starting your own business can be easier than it sounds. Help your teen start small: pinpoint something they are good at doing that other people would pay them for. Are they good at lawn-mowing? Are they good at face painting, making balloon animals or dressing up? Do they know how to make crafts that can be sold at online shops like Etsy?  These are all things that can be turned into businesses.

By starting their own business, not only will the teen learn how to make money, but they will learn the value of good marketing through social media and how to build business relationships.

2. Clean out the closet. 

If you are having trouble getting your life organized and your teen off of the couch, consider putting them in charge of a closet clean up. This doesn’t mean to assign them chores: rather, help them learn to create an online shop– whether through Ebay or a personal site– and sell your clothes. Just like helping them start their own business, this will give them the chance to learn all about websites and web maintenance, shipping, and marketing. You can even teach them about commission by paying them a percentage of every sale they make.

3. Hire them as a family assistant.

This goes beyond assigning your teen chores. If you hire– and pay– your teen to be an assistant and treat them just as you would treat someone you work with when they are on the clock, this can be a huge help for both you and your teen. Put them in charge of scheduling for the family, organizing and planning meals, tutoring their siblings, and even helping out extended family members. For example, they can be the computer assistant who helps elderly family members set up their computers an learn about the web. The possibilities are endless!

The one catch is that you MUST remember to treat your teen like a respected member of a business if they are the family assistant this summer. If they request time off, it should be treated just like other jobs where they ask for time off.

4. Encourage them to freelance or telecommute. 

Many companies are hiring teens to do things like write articles, produce videos and more. Freelancing doesn’t have to be a full-time gig, and it also could mean more time freedom for your teen. If your teen is a budding journalist, encourage them to reach out to their local newspapers or their local site and ask if they would like any freelance submissions. This will get your teen out of their comfort zone and the bubble of their world and into the larger community.

If they do find a freelancing opportunity, they can often turn it into internships or jobs during and after college. Not only can they pay for their education with this type of work, but they can extend it long beyond the summer.

5. Try a different approach. 

If your teen is having trouble finding something local that fits with their schedule, websites like can help place them in the right work environment. It doesn’t have to mean a full-time job, but this can help place the teen in a company that works with their scheduling needs.

Remember, most traditional teen summer jobs are fairly flexible when it comes to scheduling, but it is important to make that clear to the employer from the start. This will teach your teen to foster and open and honest relationship with their bosses, and will make life easier for everyone your teen works with when they have scheduling changes.

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