In the minds of most parents, the summer life of a teenager includes a seasonal job. Whether it’s a cashier job at a beachside burger shop or bagging groceries at the local supermarket, there’s an expectation that a summer job will be the catalyst for your teenager transitioning from child to adult. For many young people, it’s less about the opportunity and more about the simple idea of “having a job”, like most of their friends. With all of that, the reality is that there are only so many short term opportunities that businesses have. This a fact that many teenagers learn the hard way.
Despite your child’s good intentions and efforts to secure a summer position, there’s always the possibility that they won’t get a job on their own. If things don’t happen like they expect, as a parent, you are bound to have to help your teenager through what could be one of the most difficult disappointments ever–being without a job when everyone else has one. That’s a tough one for any person, and along with that disappointment could be a huge blow to their self-esteem. Thankfully, there are ways for you to try to lessen the sting of it all. You can tackle the situation by employing one of these strategies:
Prepare for the next time- Work with your teenager to figure out what may have held them back from securing employment. It may have been that they were not as professional as they needed to be for the environment that they were trying to go into, or that they did not interview well. Maybe they weren’t fit for the type of job they were trying to get based on their skill set and strengths. Use this experience to help your teen hone their interviewing skills and be sure to spend time focusing on how to properly complete a job application. Also, start the job search earlier. Businesses may have already gotten their summer staff organized as early as March.
Reach out to your network- Your teenager may not bring a wealth of experience to the workforce as a new job seeker. So, finding a job the traditional way may not net them the opportunity. If they haven’t been successful with getting a job on their own, try talking to someone in your network to see if they would be willing to hire your teenager for their business.
Encourage your teenager to volunteer- One of the best ways to get real world experience is to volunteer. Organizations that accept volunteers usually have tons of work that need to be done, and very few to do it. While your teenager will not get paid in money, they will gain so much more in experience. In addition to the experience, your teenager will begin to build their own network, to secure references, and to learn even more about how the real world of work actually works!
Encouragement and reassurance- The message a teenager may get from not getting hired is that they’re not “good enough”. Knowing that your beautiful, wonderful teenager, who is full of potential, has had their self-confidence crushed, can be very difficult for both of you to handle. Don’t let it! Talk to your teen. Help them to see things from different perspectives. Then, do your best to build them back up. Reassure your teenager that he or she has great potential. This one setback is not the defining moment of their ability to be successful in life.
While disappointment is inevitable, your teen shouldn’t spend the rest of the summer dwelling on it. Consider the possibilities for the next summer and do everything that can be done to ensure that your teenager will be ready for their big break!