I remember counting down the months until I was legally old enough to get my first Saturday job. I also remember how proud I was when I got my first pay. Looking back, it probably wasn’t that much, but it felt like a fortune because it was mine, earned fairly and squarely. I even had a Tax File Number to prove it!
Working for the first time as a teen, whether it’s a weekend job or a holiday job, is a crucial step on the path towards financial independence. And it teaches plenty of life skills along the way.
To ‘do-it-now’ teens, the wait to be old enough to get a job can be agonisingly long . But that time can be well spent gaining useful experience. For example, if they want to work in a cafe, they can practice carrying full plates of food or ‘serving’ at the family table. Or they can set about learning a relevant skill such as enrolling in a one-day barista course to earn a qualification that can boost their chances of being employed and give them an edge on other teenage applicants.
Finding a first job is hard. It requires a thick skin, determination and grit, as well as a level of organisation and self-motivation. They need to work out where to look for a job, how to approach an employer, how to prepare a CV, how to follow up on a promising lead and, above all, how not to take knock backs personally.
A positive attitude, willingness to learn and the ability to work as part of a team are crucial to a potential employer. Teens also need to be realistic about themselves and what they can commit to. For example, they may play sport on Saturdays, but wouldn’t mind giving up Sunday mornings.
It’s far better to know your limits upfront than to let your employer down.
The value of saving
A weekend job means that teens suddenly have money in their pockets.
They immediately experience the satisfaction of buying little treats for themselves, but they’re also able to target the more expensive items like festival tickets, designer clothes or a car. There’s nothing quite as motivating as a specific savings goal!