I was reading a story the other day about how there has been a significant decline in teens working summer jobs from the 1970’s through now.
Back then, approximately 70% of teens held summer jobs, while these days it’s more like 40%.
While the economy plays a role, the article also mentioned that “less than 10 percent of unemployed teens even wanted a job last summer”.
That sort of blows my mind as I remember back to 1985. I had turned 15 in April and I really wanted a job, because I simply wouldn’t have any money otherwise.
Most places in the mall only wanted to hire kids 16 and older, because of limited hours for younger kids. So, I ended up doctoring my work permit, after the high school signed off on it, to change my age and year of birth.
It was a little tricky to change 1970 to 1969, but I wrote the numbers in a weird way that made it easier. 15 to 16 was a much easier switch.
This was all to get a job at Friendly’s, a restaurant and ice cream place. I took what I could get – dishwasher for minimum wage, which was $3.35/hour at the time, and I was ecstatic.
It wasn’t a pleasant job by any means, but it was a means to an end. Plus, it was eye opening to realize that I wanted to work hard and rise up.
Subsequent teen jobs were a little better, and all of them came with lessons in dealing with people, managing money, etc. I had stints at a drug store, toy store, record store, and movie theater through high school.
But I guess it’s different now, at least in some areas – I see plenty of teens in the stores and restaurants around me. But how about the kids who aren’t getting summer jobs?
I’d like to think that they are building their own businesses online. I hope I’m right.