I remember as a teenager I couldn’t wait to get to work and start making my own money. Since I couldn\’t get a regular job until I turned 16, I was willing to mow grass, babysit, and sell whatever products I could door to door. Along with earning my own money came a certain amount of freedom. I could spend or save as much as I made. Most of the time I spent it. But boy, was it fun.
Once I turned 16 I worked at least 2 jobs and still kept up good grades. Eventually I had saved up enough to buy my first car. But today teens are having a hard time even finding one job. In 1978 the employment to population ratio went from a high of about 50% for teens 16-19. Today it\’s at a low at about 30%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Part of the reason for that could be that teens are staying in school and not dropping out, or it could be that there are simply fewer summer jobs available. Many of the jobs are taken by adults who need the work to feed their families and can\’t find regular positions. Many small businesses are too nervous about healthcare and regulations and are cutting down on hiring full time positions.
But there is also a shift in attitude about work. Because the competition is going to be so fierce for them in the job market, many are going to summer school or taking unpaid internships to get a head start and boost their resumes. There\’s nothing wrong with that. But there is also a lot to be said for the value of a paycheck. And that money will come in handy if they do decide to go to college.
I never went to college, but I think that working all of those jobs early on did help prepare me and get me interested in being an entrepreneur.