Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teens and Work

Both of my teens have jobs. Not jobs in the full-time with benefits sense of the term, but jobs that make a little income. My son works for a pizza place. Unfortunately, with the economy taking its downturn, he gets about 6 hours per week. My daughter works three hours per week at her campus job and waitresses here near home on breaks. Work has always been an important emphasis in our family. Clearly, we’d like them to have more lucrative work opportunities right now, but we’re glad they have a little bit of income.

Our goal for them, after the holidays, is to seek jobs with more hours and stability. She needs the money for summer, and he needs the money as he starts college in February as well.

I was raised with a strong work ethic. My father, who acquiesces to being a workaholic, is still working in his seventies as a census worker. He can’t stop working. I’ve always had at least part-time work while raising kids.

I want my kids to realize that life requires work. I don’t expect either of them to seek high pay, but I do want them to seek out occupations that will pay the bills, help them to start a family when they are ready, and see them through to retirement. Whatever that might be. I want them to find that niche where they are happy and can work to live rather than living to work.

We’re already talking to the other two boys about what they want to do to start earning money when they hit that magic 16.

What will “work” look like in this new global, economically strained society? That, I’m really not sure of.

Back in the day (ugh, I say that a lot nowadays), you had any occupation you wanted at your fingertips. Now, we are talking to my son about what can’t outsourced, can make money, and won’t become a lifelong burden.

My daughter wants to be a teacher. I know they won’t go out of fashion – hard to fully outsource education, but what will it look like? Is it going to be teaching to standardized tests or will teachers have the opportunity to really inspire their students? Will it pay enough to cover the expense of the education it takes to be a teacher?

Education – it used to be the gold ticket. Now it can be a financial black hole. I’m an educator; I live and breathe education, but now I’m beginning to think there will have to be other avenues to success. Something I wouldn’t have even considered 5 or 10 years ago.

What about you? How do you instill a work-ethic in your young-uns? What is their picture of the future – education, vocation, working right out the door? I’m really interested to know!

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