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Sunday, October 21, 2012

10 Best Part-time Jobs for Teens


Unlike most Asian moms who made their kids play piano and do math homework all day, my brother and I were finished with piano early and Mom actually encouraged us to take on part time jobs.  As a teen, it helped me to understand the value of money and to learn some good sense and work ethics.  Here's a list of real jobs my brother and I actually did, you'll find quite a gamut of odd jobs!
Teen Money source

1) Army Reserves
Age: 17
Pay: $26 for half days, $55 for full day, all meals included.
Life Lessons Learned - Be all you can be, and never give up. Your team's success and failure relies on you. I joined up as a reservist in the summer after high school and completed Army Boot Camp before joining an armoured regiment.  My brother signed up the year after.  Despite all the military first aid, drill, weapons training, tying knots, Morse code, and hard core rucksack marches and lots of running at the crack of dawn, I ended up in the Musician trade as a trombone player in the band. My brother did additional training as a Vehicle Technician and even got a special license to drive the big army trucks. I stayed in the army reserves for four years until I graduated from University.

2) Oil Change and Tire Specialist (Assistant)
Age: 18
Pay: $10 an hour
Life Lessons Learned - Hands on experience with power tools and torque wrenches, how to safely operate hydraulic lifts and measure the age and tread of tires, and everything about tires.  It was the perfect job for my brother because ever since he was two years old he was fascinated with tires and rims and he could identify the logo and make and model of every kind of car.  He even converted our garage into an auto body shop where he refinished and repainted his first car - the Tomato Supra. He only quit this job because it often conflicted with the army reserves commitments.

3) Fast Food Restaurant Cashier
Age: 15 - 16
Pay: $5.50 Minimum Wage
Life Lessons Learned - Clean as you go, the Customer is always right, service with a smile.  I spent one week in the kitchen to learn about the sandwich construction and all the toppings for each order, before moving on as a frontline cashier. The manager also requested that when we spoke the orders into the mic for the kitchen staff, we had to say Please and Thank you.  I learned to be very efficient with my time, and to expertly clean and sanitize and rebuild a milkshake machine. Fortunately I never had an incident with the hot oil deep fryer or grabbing a sharp knife hidden in hot soapy water, but I have high regard for fast food workers because I was one myself.  Anyway, that was Arby's and it is still one of my favorite fast food places oddly, which speaks volumes for the food and preparation.  My brother worked there too after I left, and a couple of my friends too who were looking for jobs.

Why I hated it - The only thing I didn't like about it was that I often saw my friends or high school classmates at the mall. I kinda resented that I had to wear this ridiculous hat/ visor and this greasy uniform and apron while they could hang out at the mall all day.  And on other occasions, the got to go to summer school to pick up Biology and I had to work. (This really bothered me before!)

4) Laura Secord and Hallmarks Retail
Age: 16-17
Pay: $5.65 Minimum Wage
Life Lessons Learned: "Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get", Take time to wrap the most beautiful present with unlimited bows and tissue wrap, and How to sell chocolate by the pound.   Funny that I never bought any chocolate or snuck any free samples, but I really liked this job and it was a very friendly place to work. My most important task one day was to wrap a diamond ring in a box with a teddy bear that a young man wanted to present to his girlfriend for an engagement. My biggest sale one day, over $300 in collectible Hallmark's Christmas ornaments (wow!).  I had to sadly quit this job because it later interfered with the army reserve commitments and homework.

5) Superstore Cashier
Age: 18
Pay: I forgot but it wasn't too low or too high, maybe $12 an hour
Life Lessons Learned: How to scan 24 items per minute, how to name 50 species of apples, pears, squash and leafy greens and remember all the three or four digit codes. I also learned how to deal with a $1,000 bill. How many people can say they`ve actually seen or touched one. I also learned how to sort the paper bills with the heads facing the same way and count money very fast.  However I did not work the 500 hours required to have the 40 hours of Cashier training paid for; plus I didn`t like the irregular and unpredictable shift scheduling and I felt that the union dues were taking a huge chunk of my pay check. I quit and found a new job.

6) Office Assistant at a Medical Clinic
Age: 18 - 22
Pay: I forgot but I had one weekly shift, Sunday noon to 5pm, possibly $50 for the day
Life Lessons Learned: That I did not want to be a doctor and deal with people with sniffles, sliced thumbs, mental issues, Tylenol 3 addictions, and warts.  I had to do filing, electronic billing, and answer the phone to schedule appointments or walk-in, and that was the problem, I never figured out how to coordinate that effectively so everyone had to wait 3 hours to be seen anyway.  The funniest thing that happened on my first day, I had to weigh a 6 day old baby boy on the infant scale. Remember that I was just a teenager and I did not have experience with babies before. As soon as a I removed the diaper, the little guy had a giant fountain of joy that shot really really far. My first reaction was to cover my face even though I was not in the line of fire. The dad just calmly grabbed some kleenex and covered up the baby jewels and that soaked up the mess somewhat. Really really funny at the time.  There was alot of waiting in between my tasks, so I did have some free time to crack open my Engineering textbooks though many of the Chinese patients insisted on calling me a Nurse.

7) Salvation Army Donation Pickup Truck Driver
Age: 19
Pay: Not sure but I doubt my brother would do it for less than $50 per shift
Life Lessons Learned: Yah, wear a mask and bio hazardous suit before picking up all that weird stuff people donate - toilets, rain soaked mattresses with mysterious stains, leftover construction materials, dusty toys, curtains or clothes from the seventies and dishes even though the bins are clearly marked as clothing only. My brother got really sick after his first shift, probably from coming into contact with some really disgusting germs or virus or mold. I believe he got this job because of his truck driving experience and it must have seemed something cool or noble to do at the time, but I think it was a very humbling experience. Not a suitable or recommended job for a teen.  The only reason why my Mom would even let him have this job is because she did not even know about it or she was trying to teach him a hard lesson about life and poverty.

8) Bus Boy (or slave) at a Chinese Restaurant
Age: 15
Pay: Minimum wage for the first 8 hours, and nothing extra or otherwise unreported
Life Lessons Learned: Yah, do not ever work as a bus boy or server at a Chinese restaurant.  My brother's first day on the job was a four hour shift that turned into a 12 hour job.  After the lunch rush, they asked him to vacuum the place before the dinner hour and a wedding banquet.  My brother agreed because he does the vacuuming at home anywayz. However the restaurant is over 3,000 square feet and can you imagine all the chopsticks, dried up noodles and rice and dim sum pieces that toddlers and messy children have tossed to the floor. Plus this was the task gladly handed to the newest and legally youngest member of the staff. Whatever, the back-breaking task of vacuuming is done but the Manager now decides that he needs all hands on deck for the evening shift. My brother also agrees because it is the first day on the job and he does not know about Canadian labour codes about working more than 8 hours. The dishes are heavy and dinner guests are asking for more of this and that, and please move faster.  Fortunately because of his youth and good looks, some are kind to him, others are not. Later he tells me that the only time he ever got to sit down all day was on the toilet for a number 2. When Mom picks him up at midnight, she later told me that he actually cried.  I have never seen this guy cry in my life except maybe when he was four years old when I broke his Easter egg.

9) Florist
Age: 24
Pay: $10 per hour
Life Lessons Learned: Create something beautiful and symmetrical with your hands, colour combinations, and the art of flower arrangements. Most importantly, what really happens to your long stem roses on Valentines Day.

I decided to take a part time job on the weekend after moving to Ottawa for an entry level government job in Engineering because I wanted something to do on the weekends. I did not know alot of friends at the time, though probably working Saturdays and Sundays made it hard to meet people!  I walked in with my resume (degree, army, retail and cashier experience) and was offered the job right away.  I learned alot about cut flowers and assembling bouquets and arrangements. I made a few good friends while working there and actually the Manager ended up doing all the flowers for my wedding at no charge as her gift to me. The owner sold the store and I was offered the same job again, but a mean girl told me rumours about the new owner which made me not want to take the job after all. (I would take this job again in a heartbeat, though it would have to cover the cost of childcare to be worthwhile eh)

10) Babysitter
Age: 12 to 15
Pay: $5 per hour
Life Lessons Learned: Taking care of kids is fun (when they are not your own kids!) plus do not offer the job to your brother because he is a better babysitter!
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A typical first job for many teenagers, I started babysitting at age 12.  I remember the 7 and 5 year old siblings I babysat, that was pretty easy because we just played board games or hide and seek.  I also regularly babysat a four year old girl and my neighbors eight year old son. He liked to sing MC Hammer songs and watch TV. Anywayz he was the little boy who liked my brother to babysit him so the parents ended up hiring him regularly instead. I never had any big Adventures in Babysitting like the movie but it makes me wonder, when will I be ready to entrust the care of my precious children to a young 12 year old with a first aid and babysitting certificate!

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