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What is a good way for teenagers to make money during the summer?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 13, 2005

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Photo of Kelly Wells

“When I was little, we had a really awesome lemonade stand. We set it up right by the golf course and made a ton of money.”

Photo of Cody Fisher

“Yard work and landscaping-type jobs is about all I can think of.”

Photo of Eric Graves

“I would suggest joining a lawn-mowing crew. It’s good physical activity. They can keep in shape and make some good money.”

Photo of Pam Loewenstein

“Mow lawns, weed gardens and baby-sitting. It’s hard to find work when you’re that young.”

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GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 9 months ago

I worked for GAP for about three years in high school, during both summer and the school year.

I'd have to disagree with Ms. Loewenstein regarding teens not being able to find jobs. It's easy to land a job. It just takes a certain degree of eptitude and interview savvy that most teens don't quite have down.

Having worked in a mall, I've seen some real gems out there:

  • Bringing friends into job interviews
  • Worse yet, a flock of four or five friends going in together and filling out their applications as a team.
  • Wearing the absolute wrong things to interviews. I can't count the number of times my bosses would send applicants home to change out of their grungy jeans and flip flops.

Some parents insist that their teens devote one hundred percent of their time to school and foot the bill for any add'l expenses they may desire.

For those that encourage their teen to be employed, make sure they're wise to the dos and don'ts of landing a job. Otherwise they may just face disappointment interview after interview, and thus develop a precocious aversion towards the working world.

Oh yeah, I think retail is a double-edged sword. While you can earn a lot more in retail VS food service, there is a huge temptation for kids to dump their hard-earned paychecks right back into the company via the employee discounts.

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

When I was 15-years-old, I worked at a Boy Scout summer camp as a merit badge counsellor and had a wonderful time. It did not pay as well as fast food or retail, but it was fun and there was satisfaction in teaching boys new skills.

neopolss 12 years, 9 months ago

Work in fast food or something.

Too many teenage kids have nice cushy jobs working in malls or retail stores. Have your kids work fast food, yard work, paint, work on a farm, anything that gives them some backbone and helps build an appreciation for a hard day's work.

I'd also suggest staying away from jobs or services to only boost a college resume or work resume. Summer jobs are a chance to experiment and try different areas. It's one of the few times in their lives when they will have the freedom to jump around like that. Afterwards, once the payments begin rolling in, it becomes difficult to be free and careless with a new job.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

My son at 16 put out about 15 applications before getting hired at Arbys where he works right now. At 16 it can be hard to find a job. In most of the eating places around here they want you to be 19 because they serve alcohol.

Hes going to be a senior this year and will start a second job next Monday. He got an internship through his accounting teacher at Douglas County Bank. He will go to school then head over to the bank. He hasn't decided whether or not hes going to keep his job at Arbys and may work two jobs.

Before he was able to get a job he mowed lawns and did things around the house for me to earn extra money.

macon_II 12 years, 9 months ago

.....and smoke lots of weed and drink lots of beer! (Like a real slacker/dumbbell/loser/worthless retard would do!)

raven 12 years, 9 months ago

In high school I worked at Dillons. It paid well and was easy to work around my scedule. I worked there over the summer and during the school year, most of the kids I knew worked all year, not just during the summer.

staff04 12 years, 9 months ago

Having done it myself for many summers, I personally wouldn't want my child putting up hay--it's an exceptionally dangerous job and I was subjected to far more negative influences (alcohol and tobacco use) than I ever encountered in other jobs I held as a young person.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

My son plans to attend college and major in either accounting or marketing, so I'm glad that he got the internship job at the bank. It will give him some experience and look wonderful on his college apps.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

bennyoates, you wrote "Or maybe these "macons" are aging, bitter, and envious, and that's why they lump young people together in stupid stereotypes?" Isn't grouping "aging, bitter and envious" a stereotype? There are many people, youthful and aging that would qualify as bitter and/or envious. If I have misread you intention, I apologize.

offtotheright: I agree, this is very much like yesterday's questions. Maybe we didn't provide enough comments so we have to do it again :)

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

italianprincess: What a great opportunity for your son. You are wise to encourage him to combine his goal with his work experience. When young people have more than money as a determinating factor in working I think it is a double win for them. My daughters had no idea what their career goals were at that age (one still is rather iffy about the choice she finally made :) Congrats to him and you.

squishypoet 12 years, 9 months ago

With the neverending pool of KU students for employers to draw from, it is increasingly impossible for high school students in Lawrence to find employment. Employers would always rather have someone older, with more experience, etc. But-- if no one will hire someone who has no work experience, how are teenagers ever expected to GET that work experience?

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 9 months ago

It sounds pretty unanimous that anything's better than nothing when it comes to jobs for teens. Any kind of work experience at a young age demonstrates initiative to prospective employers.

Be it babysitting, lawnmowing, McDonald's, farmhand[ing?], de-tassling: a kid's gotta start somewhere! A lot of my friends did that and said it was absolute hell... knee-deep in mud and corn, deep fried in their own sweat! How's that for some ge-yoo-ine WORK, BennyOates?

What a sweet deal, ItalianPrincess! An internship at a bank is a really uncommon job for young folks. Way to go, Italian Heir-to-the-Princess!

And of course I'll bite your ankles anytime Extreme! =)

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 9 months ago

Oh I think that having your pics published in On The Street is a prerequisite for their prospective dates! Ya know, adoring any person whose picture is in print.

That said, have any of us ever been listed up there? I'd like to think that we would own up to it... "Yeah! I'm Eric Graves and I deliver for Domino's!"

We'll do our best Larryville! =)

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 9 months ago

I have found that most teenagers are too lazy for the jobs that are out there. For example, I know someone who owns a lawn/landscaping company. Every year he needs to hire people that are willing to spread mulch, pick weeds, plant trees, build rock retaining walls, etc. It's very tough work (I know - I did it). He goes to job fairs, to college campuses and high school campuses. The majority of people that he can find that are willing to put forth the effort required are Mexican nationals that have come here to try and earn money for their family back in Mexico. Maybe if the American people didn't have such an arrogan attitude toward manual labor, companies wouldn't be sending all the jobs overseas.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

GreenEyedBlues, I've lived in Lawrence a looooong time and have never even seen the crew shooting "On the Street."

If you haven't been photo id'd and printed (by the LJW :), have you even seen their crew interviewing people for the spot?

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

H_K_P: Hope those nationals have all their papers, political chatter is picking up regarding a crack down on businesses who hire workers without checking to be sure they have an INS pedigree. To some extent it has already started in the Rio Grand Valley, and there it is a very big problem. Chances are none of us will live to see the day it is successfully completed.

neopolss 12 years, 9 months ago

My son plans to attend college and major in either accounting or marketing, so I'm glad that he got the internship job at the bank. It will give him some experience and look wonderful on his college apps.

I feel sad for your son. He should use this time to try out different jobs, unique oppurtunities, instead of resume polishing. Interning may look great on an app, but so does a broad range of experience in many fields. It shows a diversity and dare I say, builds character. Your son has the next forty years to concentrate on a career, why is there such a rush these days? When did we stop letting our children have time to grow and learn on their own? I simply fear that too much will produce a burnout.

I understand your desire for your child to be successful, but those hard summer jobs and off-beat jobs really do add to the future experience. I've worked a lot of different summer jobs, and each one taught me something that I took into the next job I did. It also gave me a chance to do a few things that I wouldn't necessarily be able to once I actually began working for real.

Just don't push too hard, and encourage your child to explore other oppurtunities, especially the bizzarre and unusual. The end result is a child who is more balanced in common sense and book smarts, and a greater diversity of cultural and worldly knowledge.

raven 12 years, 9 months ago

IP: Although I see neoploss's point, this is a wonderful opportunity for your son. This way he is able to see if this is an area he would like to pursue as a career. The internship will certainly help. I worked in several fields as well however, after college I decided to do something completely different to see if I liked that. He has made a good choice as far as I am concered!! Way to go IP!!! (and son)

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 9 months ago

IP's heir is a rock star! I don't see a need to pee on his birthday cake here, Neoploss. If you've got it, you've got it and you should celebrate your son's successes! Best of luck to him!

Dare I ask what kinds of bizarre and unusual avenues do you suggest he explore? O_o Yikes.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the props for my son.

This internship is through his accounting teacher at Free State. He will be taking his 3rd year of accounting as a senior and he must enjoy it or he wouldn't have wanted his teacher to help him out with an internship somewhere.

As far as him having a summer to bum around and do nothing, thats not what my son wants. He also plays baseball along with his working this new job and possibly keeping his other one he has now. This is up to him. I'm not making him do anything, but I as a parent encourage him to strive for what he wants and to work hard at it also. He has his car insurance bill to pay, gas to and from where ever he goes, and he buys what he wants now. I still pay for things that a parent normally pays for, but when it comes to movies, the mall etc he uses his own money.

I think hes doing great and I applaud him for being responsible at almost 17 and getting this job. This will give him a chance to see what its like to work at a bank. When he goes to college he may want to major in something else, but he has that accounting and marketing thing in him.

Thanks again for so many positive remarks.

I don't feel sad for my son at all. Hes like me and strives for what he wants out of life.

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

Thanks GEB.......I know he will do great at the bank.

Hes a hard worker and works hard for what he has accomplished so far with his life.

He does have time for himself and with friends, but also wants to make something of himself for his future.

Thanks again to all you who support a teenager who wants to become someone in this world.

corrienteroper 12 years, 9 months ago

I take offense to the comment from staff04. Perhaps you went to the wrong farm. Perhaps you were working w/other teenagers who thought it was cool to spit after picking up each bale. You're mistake. Do you have to be reminded that the farmer you worked for, puts food on your table in one way or another? Putting up hay may be a dangerous job to some degree, it would be if you are horsing around and not doing the job you are to do. However, it does build character, teaches new skills, and lessons are learned. Those old farmers have some wonderful ideas about life, love, and happiness. Maybe the white collared workers need to step outside the air conditioning once in a while and smell the hay. I bet you're one of those people that cuss that farmer in front of you when he is moving from field to field. Farmers were there before the city boys moved in.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 9 months ago

offtotheright....You have hit the nail square on the head!

My hubby ran a hay crew putting up "idiot blocks" all through high school. Very hard work but he ran a good crew, made tons of cash, and (he says) got really buff in the process. (He's still pretty buff so I have no reason to doubt him...too bad I didn't know him back then ;) )

Anyway....We have tried to hire strapping young lads to put up straw (lighter than hay, BTW) and we've only gotten one teen to ever stay longer than a day! One guy actually showed up in shorts and a "wife beater" T-shirt. I got what I could out of my hubby's closet to fit him but he just looked at me like "Lady, you're nuts if you think I'm gonna wear jeans and a longed sleeved shirt in 100 degree weather". He went home bloody and never came back. Wheenie!

I'll agree that most teens are LAZY and are used to being spoiled by Mom & Dad. (I said MOST...not ALL)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 9 months ago

Staff04....Where on earth did you put up hay? L.A.? Don't know anyplace around here where that kind of crap would be tolerated for 1 second!

raven 12 years, 9 months ago

I really don't know what kinds of teens you all have been associating with, but when I was in high school most of the boys and some girls I know all threw hay, worked in a melon patch, or have experience in farming or manual labor of some form. Now, I didn't I worked at Dillons, but it was not "easy" work. By no means is it a "cushy job". However, it was right up my alley being in the AC.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

TOB: Talk about bad luck! Once again you seem to be collateral damage, apparently the r word is off limits under any circumstances.

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 9 months ago

Okay how many kids will be at the party at Neverland tonight?

Shelby 12 years, 9 months ago

Wow, I guess somebody made that joke earlier. Too easy.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

Not guilty on all counts. Well, now we know.

wichita_reader 12 years, 9 months ago

My older brother and I both spent many sweltering, summer days throwing hay for a dairy farm near are parents' house. We thought it was great for a lot of reasons. We worked, got a farm permit and drove at 14. We learned to drive big trucks with trailers we wouldn't have otherwise. Our wiry bodies did add some muscle in the process, which never hurt anybody and seemed to please the ladies. We did build character and work ethic rising at 4:30 a.m. to be dressed and ready to go in the field at dawn. We also got to practice the Spanish we were learning in high school with the hispanics who worked for the farm. And yes, after a hard day's work we did enjoy ice cold barley pop, on occasion, but only after we were finished for the night.

It was a hell of a predicament, though, trying to decide whether to work in a long-sleeve undershirt and flannel shirt and suffer the 95+ degree weather, or just wear the t-shirt and go home all scratched up, but be more comfortable throughout the day. I did go home scratched many times, but never bleeding.

I wouldn't trade my experience on a farm for anything. Although I've never done it full time, I believe farming to be one of the hardest, and most rewarding professions possible.

nefball1031 12 years, 9 months ago

mowing is definately the way to go, it's the easiest money you can possibly get. i get paid 25 dollars for mowing one yard, and i mow once a week. It only takes me about 30 minutes

chevygal 12 years, 9 months ago

good, not guilty...looks like those dumb people won't get their money after all, well darn!

Fangorn 12 years, 9 months ago

There are a lot of summer jobs available to entry level workers. GEB is right, though, that parents (or some mentoring person) need to teach kids the basic of job interviews. I've interviewed some real doosies. I've also interviewed some really sharp people. But too many young people don't really have a clue on how to dress, what they should or shouldn't say, etc. Most teenagers won't be learning technical job skills at their age. The biggest skills they learn are very basic: punctuality, following instructions, cooperative effort, fulfilling a responsibility even when you don't feel like it.

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