One of the most frustrating things that a teenager can ever experience in his or her lifetime is the pursuit of a summer job. As you take into account the time constraint, the age limitation, and the lack of experience - being able to obtain a summer job for someone my age is getting more difficult. It doesn’t help that one in four teenagers who want to work (as opposed to hang out) can’t find jobs and are officially considered unemployed, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Although this blog consists of the many frustrations of the working-class (or maybe it’s the non-working class, unfortunately), finding a summer job for teenagers is just as “hair-pulling.” One of my fellow students at Perkiomen Valley High school seems to understand that now.
Becky Bochnowicz, 17, has sent out roughly thirty applications for anything and everything she could have imagined. She has tried to be a grocery store clerk, a restaurant counter girl, a Pizza Hut server, a saleswoman at 5 Below. No luck.
At first, Becky was consistent, calling back the business that she applied to and trying to talk to the managers who were willing to hire. However, she received no replies.
“They don’t even call you [and] I hate that,” Becky said. “I want to know why they reject me.”
Unfortunately, Becky isn’t the only teenager in the world who is having trouble finding a summer job. Usually employers are turned off by a number of factors when giving out summer jobs for students. Because the students are not 18, the employer must adhere to child labor laws about breaks and work hours, including how late the person is allowed to work.
“Age is such an eliminator,” Becky complained.
Education is another deciding factor for businesses when hiring – and it’s a negative. Students who are leaving to college after the summer definitely do not have that great of a chance getting a summer job. Employers don’t want to spend their money hiring kids who need to be trained the entire summer so that they can leave in August. It is cheaper and less time consuming to just give more hours to an employee who already knows what to do.
“No offense bro, I want to go to college,” was Becky’s response. She’s looking forward to going to Shippensburg College in the fall.
So, in the end, what does not having a summer job mean to Becky?
Well, right now, this means depending on family for money whether it be financial aid for college or a few dollars for gas. It means not being able to go out to the beach and buy that sweatshirt on the boardwalk. It means putting financial strain on parents and it also means enormous student loans – and that’ll be a problem for years, not just for Becky, but for many students who are finishing high school.
Yet, even after experiencing all this rejections, students just going into college still have hope for their careers in the future. In Becky’s case, social work is where her interest lies, particularly in the hospital setting. And while her time isn’t consumed by a summer job, she’s interested in volunteering. Hopefully by doing this, she can get the experience, skill, and education to show future employers that she’s the best.
“I’m in the hope stage, I’m hoping….” Becky said. “Hopefully getting a career is easier than getting [a summer] job.”