Emily Little

The job hunt is on

One part of being a teenager that is becoming more and more common lately is getting a job. While allowances were once considered a steady source of income, teenagers are quickly realizing that they would like to have cash of their own to spend.

Normally, a few requirements need to be met before the job hunt can begin: the ability to drive, unless your parents are willing to drive you back and forth to your workplace, and being at least 14 or 15, the typical minimum hiring age for many places. Then, the real work begins.

As a teenager, I have started looking at places I would like to start applying to in the coming months. Once I get my license, I plan on getting a second part-time job to pay for gas and to have some extra spending money. Unfortunately, many of my ideal workplaces have a minimum hiring age of 18.

As I have been doing some research on possible jobs, some of the information I have discovered is almost comical. Many places have a specific hiring age, as is to be expected. However, some of these seem to have exceptions. For example, one business had a minimum age of 17, except in Alaska, where the minimum age was 13.

The places that have a hiring age of 16 are more appropriate for me to be looking into, of course. Unfortunately, I am looking for a workplace where I could have relatively flexible hours, which will make my search a bit harder. I feel as though fewer and fewer companies are looking to hire teenagers, which is both upsetting and understandable at the same time.

Most careers require some type of experience in the field. If businesses are unwilling to hire teenagers, they cannot gain experience, and therefore will have trouble finding a job later in life. However, teenagers also have a reputation of being a bit lazy. Employers are looking for hardworking employees, and the stereotypical lazy teenager does not fit that bill.

There are some businesses that find a happy medium though. Many grocery stores, for example, hire teenagers on a regular basis. They understand that while there are, of course, lazy teenagers out there, we are not all that way. In fact, some teenagers may grow to love their workplace so much, that they decide to make a career out of it. I know several people who began working as baggers at their local grocery store, and moved up the ladder to managerial positions, and are still there today. Employers may not be looking for long-term employees right now, but it is certainly something they should keep in mind.

Fortunately, as the economy is slowly recovering, more jobs are becoming available. While the economic recession was hard on everyone in our country, people seem to forget the effect it had on teenage workers. Jobs for adults were few and far between, but jobs for those under 18 were pretty much nonexistent. Now that our economy has improved some, the teenage workforce has opened once again.

As I begin my job search, I am reminding myself to go into it with an open mind. My first reaction to some places may be, “I would never work there,” but I never know until I try. I am also reminding myself not to get my hopes up for specific places, because I’m sure I will get rejected more than a time or two. I am open to anything from office work to retail, and everything in between. Regardless, I am excited to begin my search.