Should Your Teen Go To Work?

Cash Jar2Big news this week, the teen has got a job.  Well, actually, the prospect of  few jobs which was a surprise to us all.  Bringing up two children on one salary does have some challenges and one of these is that we don’t have the level of disposable income that a lot of our contemporaries do.  I find myself saying ‘no’ much more than ‘yes’ and non essential purchases tend to get relegated to the bottom of the list every month.  The teen finds this particularly hard as she is immersed in the painful quagmire of adolescence where it REALLY DOES MATTER what you wear/bag you carry/phone you use.  So, not being one to moan without taking action, she did exactly that.  A letter was written and a CV was drafted (no mean feat when you have only been on the earth for 15 years,  she put in a photo to fill a bit of space).  We did a little bit of Google research and six letters and CVs were duly posted out first class.  I spent the next 24 hours doing a lot of pre-emptive damage limitation.  She shouldn’t be upset if no-one replied, they get thousands of enquiries for work, people are too busy to reply etc.  I figured that whatever happened it was a good exercise in early job hunting but equally didn’t want her to be totally disheartened at the first hurdle.  Well, it turns out I needn’t have had the sleepless night as within 36 hours she had received three, yes three, positive replies – that is a 50% success rate!  A swift about turn was now necessary as I followed congratulations with plenty of caveats about how fortunate she was and that it was unlikely that proper, grown up life would be that jammy.  I know, I’m a rotten killjoy. Anyway, as an aside, all the people who contacted her commented on the CV and the fact that she had written an actual letter and put it in the post rather than dashing off an email which is, apparently, the norm these days.  So all is well, the teen’s bank account will soon be topped up as she has secured two lots of seasonal work and is having a trial this weekend for what will be a regular Sunday gig.  What can I over-think now?  Oh yes – the ethics of the whole thing.  Should she, at the tender age of 15, be going out to work?  Especially as she is working to buy things that I can’t afford to get for her?  There are quite strict guidelines in place about children working, the http://www.gov.uk website has a comprehensive list including not working for more than four hours without a break, before 7am or after 7pm, or more than 12 hours a week during term time, but, let’s face it, I’m not sending her up a chimney or down a mine.  My gut feeling is that this a great opportunity to discover the value of money – will she spend it as freely when it is hard earned rather than just coming out of my purse?  I suspect that we will have a bit of a learning curve as homework will have to be prioritized in the remaining non-school/non-work hours, and I’m sure that once the novelty wears off there will be some days where she has to be prised out of bed (she is only human after all).  I think that my part of the deal, other than ferrying her to and from the workplace, will be to keep an eye for signs of over tiredness or suffering school work and step in if need be.  A case of suck it and see and another reminder that bringing up children is a constant stream of milestones, from potty training to first jobs, each has it’s own set of challenges but also it’s own set of rewards.

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2 thoughts on “Should Your Teen Go To Work?

  1. nikkifrankhamilton says:

    Congratulations for raising a child with initiative. I think that with the limitations you have set it will work out for the best. I started at 13. I know that times are different now. My son began working as soon as he could drive to work. But our daughter is very involved with school band and there is no time in her schedule to work. They both made their own way, and they are doing well. You will feel your way through! Good luck.

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