Teens learn responsibility through work

“Some kids take things for granted,” said Patricia Muschette, a Durham parent. “They need to learn responsibility.”

Muschette said this is the reason local teens need to work.

Most teens try to find a part-time job for after school so they can start to earn their own money. Many teens may hate asking parents for money and sometimes they won’t give it to them if they do.

Some parents make their kids get a job if nothing else but to learn responsibility and life.

Part-time jobs can teach teenagers life-long work skills like hard work but can also teach them responsibility and money management. They can also get a taste of the real world and an added bonus is that jobs can keep them out of trouble.

Some teens may take advantage of the fact that their parents give them money. This might cause parents to want their child to get a job to learn how to handle their own money and realize how much things really cost.

Unemployment rates for teens for the past few years have been poor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide, total unemployment for February was 7.7 percent. But unemployment for teens is much worse.

Unemployment for teens breaks down as follows:

  • 16 to 19 years old: 25.1 percent
  • Males 16 to 19 years old: 28.4 percent
  • Females 16 to 19 years old: 21.9 percent
  • Whites 16 to 19 years old: 22.8 percent
  • Blacks 16 to 19 years old: 42.3 percent

According to the BLS, teens 16 to 19 years old make up almost 32 percent of the population.

Many teens have expenses like gas, car insurance and phone bills. Unemployment rates like these can make them nervous and cause them to miss out on learning adult responsibility.

But a few teens have had work opportunities come their way.

Cairo Livingston is a senior at Hillside New Tech High School. She has been working at Aeropastle for the last 10 months and said teens should be patient when looking for work.

“Teens need to be patient because they never know when they are going to get the job,” she said.

One big way teens find jobs is through word-of-mouth. One of Livingston’s friends gave her an application for the job and she filled it out as soon as she could.

Livingston said she needs money like anyone else.

“I needed money for food, college applications and SATs,” said Livingston.

One of her responsibilities at her job is helping customers find clothes and then checking them out at the register.

Livingston said that her job has taught her to take on her own responsibilities. She now has added home responsibilities like helping her mom pay for gas and household items.

“I’m learning time management too,” said Livingston. “I have to make sure that my work tasks are done each day.”

Livingston said that working is making her more mature because she is learning that you can’t joke around all the time.

It is a responsibility that 16-year-old Derwin Galloway shares. Galloway works the cash register and washes dishes for a local Kentucky Fried Chicken. He works about three nights a week and has had the job a little more than a month.

Like Livingston, he landed his job through a friend.

“A friend told me they were hiring and needed help,” Galloway said.

He said he enjoys making money and sometimes helps buy groceries for home – a responsibility he said he would need to know when he finally leaves his parents’ house.

Galloway had better luck than some teens finding work. He said he applied and went back after two days and he had his interview.

Muschette said fast food places, cashier jobs and babysitting are the sorts of jobs teens should go for.

“When they get their money, teens should open up a bank account,” she said. “They should save their money for what they need and not what they want because they will learn how to take better care of it.”

Muschette said she thinks teens can truly learn from having a good job.

“They learn responsibility on how to save money,” she said. “You can’t spend what you don’t have and it teaches you how to handle your business.”

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