Are you the parent of a teenager who has no real plans for the summer, and you want him or her to get out of the house and learn some life lessons, like how hard it is to get a decent job, or that any job they could even get requires basically none of the skills that they’re learning in school?
Well, that’s going to be the takeaway. Unless you send them to a school that teaches them how to mow lawns and keep a hundred kids occupied on a bus.
But there’s nothing like a summer job to teach kids the value of a dollar. The value of a dollar is nothing. There, I did it. But if they’re home all day, they’re mostly going to earn money by asking you for it repeatedly, and you might give it to them, just to get them to be quiet and let you earn money so you can squander it away getting your kids to stop bothering you for money. And so on. We’re here to help you break this cycle.
See, you want them to get a job, but seeing as jobs aren’t coming out of the woodwork to look for them, you’re faced with a dilemma: If you don’t help them come up with something, they probably won’t do it, and if you do help them, they’re never going to learn not to rely on you. You want something you can passive-aggressively pass on to them to read so they get the hint and get a job. And nothing says, “something you can passive-aggressively pass on to people and hope they get the hint” like one of my articles. So here goes:
(NOTE: I don’t actually have any jobs for your teens in these industries. I’m just listing off ideas like a helpful relative who’s giving you a bunch of suggestions that you’ve already thought of and tried, and you’re nodding and agreeing that each one is a good idea in the hopes that at some point they’ll drop in one idea that you haven’t already thought of.)
Hey, kids! Are you a teenager looking to get out of his parents’ house during the day because they keep annoying you with questions like, “When are you gonna get a summer job?” Why not get a summer job? That’ll show them! Then who are they gonna annoy, huh? Let them annoy each other!
The difficult thing about getting a summer job as a teen is that most industries don’t just want someone for the summer, because they run all year. The only thing that doesn’t run all year is school. Unfortunately, getting a job in a school isn’t a good idea either, because the weeks you’re looking for a job are also the weeks there’s no school. What are the odds?
Your best shot at a job is to think of something that comes up only seasonally, like snow shoveling. (That’s just an example; I don’t recommend you go around offering to shovel snow. Though whatever gets you out of the house, right?)
Camp Counseling – This is a great job if you enjoy playing the least fun part of each sport with a bunch of short people who are considerably worse than you and taking kids to the nurse. And if you work in a sleepaway camp, you can spend your nights trying to convince a bunch of kids to shower, and no matter how much progress you make, the bunkhouse will stink.
Unfortunately, this is a very competitive industry. Everyone wants to do it. See, the problem is that there are approximately as many teenagers as kids. So your next option is
Mowing Lawns – This is an easier job to get, because you don’t have to worry about how many job openings there are versus how many teenagers are walking around with lawnmowers. You can just keep knocking on doors all day, paying more attention to who you think is home than who actually has long grass.
“We just mowed ours an hour ago.”
Yeah. That doesn’t stop the snow-shovel kids.
Washing Cars – This is something that a lot of articles suggest, but Jews wash their cars Pesachtime. In the middle of the summer, it’s not so important to us that the outsides of our cars are clean. Unless we’ve just parked under a fruit tree. How dirty are people getting their cars? Are they driving down the highway every day surrounded by dump trucks? Did they park in the wrong place when they went to play paintball?
Lifeguarding – This is a great job if your ideal summer is yelling at kids at a pool. You may get to save a life here and there, but in my experience being around pools, it’s mostly about yelling at people to not put you in a position where you have to save their life, which is your job. For no other job is it acceptable to do this. As a teacher, I can’t walk in and yell, “Don’t make me have to teach you!”
Bike Riding Instructor – Do you like watching screaming little kids fall from a distance?
You’d be watching from a distance. The kids wouldn’t be falling from a distance.
Parents all over the world go through the agony of teaching their kids to ride bikes – which is an important life skill that almost never comes up as an adult – and any parent would love for you to take this burden – and their kids’ future distrust – off their hands. The whole thing seems like borderline child abuse. Imagine if this is how you taught a kid to drive – you ran alongside the car and then let go and yelled, “Lean the other way!” and watched him hit a mailbox.
Hotel Work – Hotels get more business during the summer, so maybe they can hire you to do something. This is assuming you live in an area that people are coming to for summer vacation, which no offense, is probably not the area where you live. The hotel near you is for people coming in for bar mitzvahs who are difficult to put up, and for people in town whose houses are being fumigated.
Babysitting – This is a great job, because more kids are home, and it prepares you for being a parent, except for the more annoying parts of being a parent, like convincing the kids to go out and get jobs. And there are lots of families for whom hiring a boy babysitter would be better than hiring a girl! But unfortunately, we’re still living in an age where many people consider babysitting a girls’ job. Only girls grow up to be parents.
Housesitting – Find neighbors who are going away, and ask if they need you to do all the things they can’t do because they’re not home, such as water their plants, take in their mail, feed their fish, look out their window and keep tabs on their neighbors, move their car back and forth for alternate side, and maybe forward them all the stuff they forgot to pack. This is a lot easier than babysitting, because you don’t have to keep track of every single little kid, and worse comes to worse, you can always run out at the last minute and find a new fish that looks reasonably like the old fish.
Mother’s Helper – Apparently this is a thing now too. I always thought “mother’s helper” was a fancy word for a father, like it’s a good thing to put on a resume if you haven’t had a job for a while.
“What have you been doing the last few years?”
“It’s right there. Mother’s helper.”
And how come there are no father’s helpers?
Oh, that’s right. We keep sending them out.