Olivia got her first job at 14 as a bag person at Publix Supermarket. She could only work 10 hours a week, but she was excited to be working and making some money for herself. As years went by, she gained more hours and loved working with friends and making new ones.
Where we live Publix is the grocery store a lot of teens get their first job because management is so flexible with the hours and extremely considerate of students’ school and family commitments.
When Olivia turned 18, she became a cashier and could work a lot more hours since she was an adult. She was thrilled when they gave her a raise and she was allowed to participate in their 401k.
Working at Publix taught Olivia about customer service, working with difficult people, managing conflict and resolving it. It was such a great way for her to get a taste of working in the real world and learn about responsibility and accountability.
Working also allowed her to pay for things that she wanted that were not a necessity and more of a luxury, such as manicures, hair color change, new shoes and clothes.
When Olivia went off to college this year, her dad and I told her we didn’t want her working but focusing on college so she could graduate on time in four years. At home she had worked for five years and now her workload was about to get harder. We wanted her to focus on school, but said over Christmas break and summer break, she could work at Publix to make some money.
I have to admit, initially one of the reasons we wanted Olivia to get a job was to keep her busy and out of trouble during her high school years. Well, that clearly didn’t work because she still found time to get herself in trouble.
Now, my son Matthew is another story. He is 15 and we have tried to get him a job at the same Publix Olivia had worked as a bagger, but we are not having any luck. Funny though, I am not as eager for Matthew to get a job as I was for Olivia. Could it be because teenage girls spend a lot more on themselves than boys?
I have family members whose kids have never worked — ever! Wow!
I started working at sixteen to pay for my car and car insurance. When Olivia got her car, she worked to pay her car insurance just like I had done. She needed to realize that in life, if you want things, you have to work for them — whether it’s an A in a class or a new car or a David Yurman ring. You earn what you want, nothing is given to you and you are not entitled to it.