My son and the part-time job

When kids turn 16, most of them want a part-time job. My son was no exception. Needless to say, in most case it’s not the work they’re interested in, it’s the money!

My son has more pocket money than his siblings, but he’s at an age where he’s going out more and doing things like buying presents for his friends, so he needs more money than we’re prepared to give him. It’s important that kids learn how much work actually goes into acquiring money. Plus the work experience itself is all good for entering the big wide world – working in a shop or restaurant proves you are willing to work hard, to follow rules and to work as part of a team.

My son struggled to find a part-time job for a long time. He applied to various shops, but his lack of experience always went against him. But, earlier this year, a part-time job pretty much fell into his lap. A couple of his friends were working in a local chip shop and they needed another member of staff. The job was basically handed to my son on a plate.

My son took to his job like a duck to water. He’s not afraid of hard work or of getting his hands dirty. Work in a chip shop is a lot more physical than work in a high street shop and it’s far more suited to my son. He’s very good with customers and soon got to know the regulars. He learned to do things like mop the floor (which he’d never been able to learn at home) and he overcame his aversion to dealing with meat. (He’s a vegetarian, like I am, and he has learned, like I did, that sometimes you just have to ease up on your principles if you want to get on in life.)

In my day, a ‘part-time job’ for under 18s was nearly always a Saturday job – working maybe eight hours a week. Now, many shops have longer hours and part-time jobs are often evening jobs. My son’s school recommends they work no more than 10 hours a week and I would agree with that.

Lately, my son has been working three shifts a week, of up to six hours at a time. The management at the chip shop has changed and he’s working longer hours. He goes to the chip shop straight from school and is getting home about 10pm, without even having anything to eat, other than a few handfuls of chips. He’s on a zero hours contract, so he doesn’t have much advanced notice of when he’s going to be working, which makes it hard to plan things.

Although it’s a great experience for him, it’s not sustainable. His A Levels have to come first.

He’s got the coveted ‘experience’ under his belt, so hopefully it will make it easier for him to find a job with shorter, more regular hours. He’s got used to the money, so there’s no way he will want to give up work altogether.

What is your experience of teenagers and part-time jobs?

Fish and chips, Part-time job, Teenager, My son and the part time job

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh good on him! It seems so much harder for young people to find part time jobs these days but I think it’s so good for them. My daughter is still doing her little job in a shoe shop while she’s at uni too as the pocket money comes in handy. The bank of mummy and daddy only stretches so far! Ha! As long as it doesn’t get in the way of studies though, I would always encourage mine to work.

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    • That’s great that your daughter is still doing her job while she’s at uni. That bit of extra money really does come in handy for them. I feel like this job is disrupting his studies a bit now, but hopefully it will be easier for him to find another one now he’s got the experience.

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  2. Oh I think it’s brilliant! My brother and sisters all started working at local pub when they were quite young and it has been the making of them. Great for experience and it has always been something to return to when they’ve had a stopgap. One of my sisters and my brother are working there at the moment.

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    • Thanks very much, it is a great thing to do. My brother started working before he’d even finished primary school! He worked on a local farm and kept going back there in the summer until he was well into his 20s. x

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  3. It’s so difficult for young people to find a job and I agree school must come first! The young people I work with all seem to put work before their school work, which I do not agree with but they don’t listen to me! Hope he finds something more suitable!

    Kate xx

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    • Thanks very much, so do I! I’m not surprised that you say young people put paid work before school work and don’t listen!

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  4. It is a tricky one isn’t it and something our teen is thinking about (he is 15 next week). His brother became a lifeguard at 16 which is really good money (this was 5/6 years ago and he started on £8.29 an hour). Trouble is the zero hours contracts and fitting in around A-levels without it disrupting them too much. It is a fine balance between being able to afford for them not to work and them learning the value of money and being in employment.

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    • I think it’s really important for them to work. I hope your son can find something! Now I would prefer my son to work for a national chain and just have a ‘Saturday job’ – 9 to 5 every Saturday and reasonable money, with minimal disruption to his A Levels. It’s OK wanting a job like that – actually finding one isn’t so easy!

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