rebelling against low expectations

Teens Don’t Have Jobs


Teens and jobs are fields apart“One girl’s work at a local farm makes her stand out — fewer and fewer have jobs at all.” Thus begins an intriguing profile of 16-year-old Patty Bochsler of Lonely Lane Farm. As other teens bake on the beach this August, she stands in steel-toed boots packing freshly butchered beef, pork and lamb in a 40-degee plant.

The article goes on to report that the number of working teens has reached a 60-year low and that 80 percent of young workers lack basic communication skills and 70 percent lack a work ethic. Scary numbers. What do you think?

Teens and jobs are fields apart – Julie Sullivan – 08/20/07

The proportion of working teens in Oregon has shrunk from 6 in every 10 in 2000 to just 4 in every 10 last year, according to the Census Bureau. That’s true across the country this summer, where the employment rate for teens has fallen even further, said Andrew Sum, who directs the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

The repercussions will play out for decades. Students with jobs are more likely to stay in school. And for 10 years, they earn more for every year they worked.

“Kids are working at a lower rate today than at anytime since just after World War II — a 60-year low,” says Sum, who studied teen employment for 30 years. “I consider this disastrous.”

Why aren’t more teens working?

Economists say they are squeezed out by immigrants, workers older than 55 and recent college graduates unable to find jobs. Big-box retailers, which have proliferated in the past seven years, don’t hire anyone younger than 18. And some ambitious kids — or their ambitious parents — choose academic camps or classes instead of job hunting.

But it turns out that nonworking teens might be hurting themselves. Employers reported 80 percent of their young workers lack basic communication skills and 70 percent lack a work ethic.

Read the entire article »

Once you have read the entire article come back here and join the conversation. At the bottom of this post you will find some discussion questions to get you started. Choose one or all of them and share your stories.

We would also encourage you to ask your parents about their job history. You’ll be surprised to hear about some the interesting places they’ve worked. As I was writing this post I decided to go and ask my father to share his job history with me and most of them caught me by surprise.

The Job History of Gregg Harris (Our Father)

His first job was at Burger Chef in Miamisburg, Ohio, at the age of 14. I didn’t know this. He told me that they were allowed to make whatever kind of burgers they wanted for their own meals. He would create monster cheeseburgers with 4-5 patties and cheese between each one.

His next job was at Union Concession Stands in Dayton, Ohio. After that he worked at the Paul Harris (no relation) clothing store back in Miamisburg. At the age of 16 he was a runaway in Clear Water Beach, Florida, working at a concession stand.

A few months later, at the age of 17, he was in southern California working as a restaurant and coffee house musician. At the age of eighteen was a member of professional band in Indianapolis, Indiana.

From that point on he has worked at Countryside Nursery in Centerville, Ohio, at an auto parts stripping factory, owned the Custom Terrarium & Houseplant Shop, served as a youth pastor for a year, pastored a missionary church in Harlingen, Texas, and was the senior pastor at Grace Fellowship in Dayton, Ohio.

Most of what I knew didn’t start until after all that, when he started Christian Life Workshops, founded Noble Institute for Leadership Development, founded and sold Noble Publishing Associates, and now pastors at Household of Faith Community Church in Gresham, Oregon.

Go Now, And Do Likewise

Maybe that was only interesting to me, but I have a feeling that you will find your own parent’s job histories immensely intriguing as well. So ask them! If you learn of anything particularly incredible go ahead and share it (with their permission, of course) in the comment section. Also, don’t forget the discussion questions directly below. May God bless you all. Do Hard Things.

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
  • Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
  • Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Timely post, guys.
    Did you have a job this summer?
    Not officially. My reasons really aren’t that great, but for what its worth, here they are:
    I had just gotten back from 9 months in Brazil. I was taking 6 credits of college. My Mom didn’t want me to get one because she didn’t think I’d have enough time off. And the ultimate reason: laziness, and fear of rejection.
    I’ve never had a paying job before, although I have done some volunteer work. The most fun thing I did was serving as light tech in the large church we attended in California. A close second to that was working in a welding shop in Brazil, I enjoyed learning to weld, and learning Portuguese at the same time, but as a worker, I wasn’t too valuable, needing to learn both the language and the skills simultaneously.
    If I was forced to support my family, I could do a lot of things, I think. I can arc weld, I can drive a car (useful for pizza/newspaper delivery), I can do some limited tutoring in certain school subjects, I could work in a retail setting, I know some mechanical/construction type skills, and I learn skills well. The only downside is that I’m not a big people person, which I need to get over.
    Now then… to get on with my life and find a way to buy my own gas…
    btw, convicting post guys…
    (my webserver is down right now, but the link to my blog should work again sooner or later.)

  • A few years ago dad was laid off from a company he’d work for nearly 16 years. Then he was laid off a year later from his new job,due to 9/11 and was out of work for nearly 8 months. He worked odd jobs (raked leaves, painted apartments, read electrical meters, worked on computers, etc) to help provide for the basic needs of our family until he found full time employment again. I helped by mowing lawns and shoveling snow. Our family learned a lot that year. One lesson being that GOD is the provider.

    Now to answer your discussion questions…

    Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    This summer I have mowed lawns, did handy man work and took care of dogs for folks who went on vacation. I’m trying to save money up for a car.

    I’ve worked odd jobs since I was 12. Over the years I done baby sitting, mowed, rake leaves, help bring in hay, dog sit, shovel snow, chopped wood, washed dogs, painted, cleaned fences, help pour concrete and build barns. Sometimes I’ve been paid, and sometimes I haven’t. My parents always say, hard manual labor teaches good work ethic.

    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?

    The best job I ever had was doing hay. I actually liked it because I got to work outside and I love being outdoors. I learned to work hard regardless of the conditions. It was hot and muggy and a very dirty job. Plus you had to keep your eye open for copperheads. However, the job was great because I got a good work out and became stronger physically lifting 100 pound hay bails all summer.

    The worse job I’ve had was spading a garden. I’m not much into gardening, I don’t mind mowing and raking leaves, but I’m not too much into turning soil over.

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I have experience in pouring concrete, and know a few guys that own concrete businesses, so if need be I would pour concrete to help my family out. And I’m sure if I had to, I’d work different odd jobs from mowing lawns to flipping hamburgers. Whatever it took to help make ends meet. My dad has taught me, by example, that there is a job for anyone willing to work.

  • >2 reasons, 1 was in college full time(we run on a quarters system and graduate a year early) 2 in D.C. you usually need a degree and several years of experience to flip hamburgers.(Which is very frustrating I can assure you)
    >The Best job I ever had was working with a tutoring company under No Child Left Behind in D.C. public schools. It’s a Christian company so we would pray for the kids every day and we knew that whatever we were doing was not for money but for God and the Gospel. Legally we couldn’t tell the kids the Gospel but their parents knew we were a Christian Company and a few of the family’s began going to local churches after meeting with us. Basically we couldn’t share the message but we could shine the light.
    The Worst Job I ever had was at University of Maryland Concession Stands. My Boss, a man in my church, knew I could handle working with non-Christian guys. So I was always on the stand with the non-Christian, rude, mostly slackers(Mind you one of the girls worked harder than any of the Christian employees, but that was because she was in collage and knew how much she needed her job). It was almost torture to work with a lot of people who were just there to take money without doing anything they didn’t have to, across from a stand full of my brothers and sisters in Christ who would go out of their way to make eachother’s jobs easier. Besides I knew they were having real conversations not “oh, my boyfriends such a jerk!” and the ever popular flirt with the customer game. I was so happy when I could leave that job!
    >If Dad were finally unable to work, and If he and Mom let me I could either go to work for the tutoring company again or I could probably get a job in Graphic Design. In either one I’m probably worth about $12 an hour. Less than my Dad, but it would help. Mind you, I don’t think my Mom would let me drop college to work, even if it they had to sell the house and move back to Lancaster, PA.. Mom and Dad would want me to get my degree, ’cause they knows how much it cost our family that Mom didn’t have a sale-able skill when Dad was unable to work.

  • I am no longer a “teen”, but still a young adult. I have had a regular job every summer since I was 12 or 13. I have babysat, worked at a fast food restaurant (in two locations), and for the past three years I worked at the gift shoppes in a dinner theatre. This does not include the many 4-H, volunteer, or odd jobs that I have had. It is difficult to choose the best job, because each has been an experience that I try to use for the best. I have enjoyed most aspects of each job, and of course there are a few that I dislike…but even those have been an opportunity to learn. I have deepened my customer service skills, observed business practices, used leadership skills, practice communication, etc. I have also had the opportunity to practice many virtues: patience, humility, honesty, perseverance, and love of neighbor.

    I can attest, in my experience to the problem, to communication and work ethic of teens in general – and it is exceedingly annoying at best. However, I think that there is great potential in formation for students who are honest and want to learn by working, building up skills that will serve them and their community for the rest of their life. The formation from your family is even more important, though. Many of the teens that I have come in contact with that have little work ethic and poor communication (not to mention lack of basic skills) come from broken homes or have been given everything by their parents for their entire life. I don’t think it is necessary to have a job in order to gain skills, experience, etc. – it is just another opportunity. And without a basic understanding of work and responsibility, it will be more difficult to take advantage of what working has to offer.

  • I am sorry, the first sentence in the second paragraph should read: “I can attest, in my experience, to the problem of lack of communication and work ethic of teens in general – and it is exceedingly annoying at best.”

  • I delivered the morning paper during July and August of this summer. Also, my dad offered to pay me to do necessary maintenence work at his kennel, and I accepted his offer. I also have an interview this Tuesday to potentially serve as a busperson at a local restaurant.

    If one of my parents was unable to work, I think I could probably generate some income by publishing my writing. I could be a tutor. I also am friendly and have good communication skills, which would allow me to excel in retail and food service.

  • I didn’t have a real job this summer or last school year for a few reasons. One of the reasons was that it would serve my family better for me to stay home and help my mom. My parents feel that working in the home as a teen should be first priority. A job on the side is fine, but I didn’t feel God leading me to a job. I’m hoping to get one next month, though. I do clean my sister and her family’s house once a month (in other words, I’m their “maid”). I also babysit for people, though most of it I don’t get paid for (I do some of it as a ministry to others).

    The hypothetical question is interesting. My parents start allowing us to hone in on skills during the high schools years. For instance, I have been allowed to take writing courses. I don’t think I could make a living off of writing right now. I’d have to think more about the question…

  • Since I am still a teen (at least for a couple more weeks) I thought I would share my job experience. While I was a 4-H volunteer for most of my teenage years, my first paid job didn’t come until I was 17. I was a cashier at a local hardware store. This job taught me alot, like how do deal with the public, having a good work ethic, and the difference between a nut and a bolt!

    When I was 18 I picked up a second job as an assistant for a real estate agent. After working with her for 9 months I decided to get my own real estate license. I took the course and passed the state test and now at the ripe old age of 19 I am a Broker and also the Office Manager for our company’s branch office.

    Having a job as a teen has many benefits like gaining a good work ethic, learning how to handle money, learining to cooperate with other people, and becoming a part of your community.
    It also gives us another opportunity to share Christ with others. Teens who learn how to thrive in the work place are much more prepared for the future and they also gain the respect of the adults around them. No matter what your goals are in life, you can gain a wealth of knowledge by working at home and in your community.

  • Grace: will occasionally ask for you to let them know where you are from before you proceed to the next page. It’s unfortunate, but you get used to it.

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    Yup. I have for the past 3-4(?) years. I work for my parents at one of our bookstores 4 days a week in the summer (only 2-3 during the school yr) which equals out to be about 40 hrs a week.

    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?

    Well, since it is the only ‘real’ job, I have had aside from random little jobs, it is the best I have had. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to do so many different things. Working in retail, ordering, organizing, janitorial work (haha), and people skills are all involved. I have had to deal with really different personalities and it has certainly not been easy at times. But over-all its just great, and I don’t really think I would know what to do with my time if I didn’t work.

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I probably would be able to get either a job in retail or teaching/tutoring (just from having experience with learning styles, curriculums, kids, teaching siblings etc). Neither of them really generate alot of income but it would be atleast something. Worst coming to worst I would flip burgers if there were no other options.

  • I didn’t read the whole article because I wanted to ask my parents before providing information, but what I did read was very thought-provoking.

    I had an informal job this summer – working at home. Because I have a two-year-old sister and some parts of managing a home are more than my mother can handle alone with a toddler and two teens (one of whom just left for college), I was paid to help work at home and do frequent babysitting for my sister. This job has enabled me to stay at home during my older sister’s last summer before college, but I got paid and learned valuable skills of managing a home that I’ll need some day for my own home.

    As the article noted, most places refuse to hire teens younger than 18, which is difficult for those younger wanting to get a job. If my father was unable to work, I’m sure I could probably get a job at a few places using my writing, people, and children skills.

    My parent’s work history is also interesting…my father spend many summers as a golf caddy, an experience he loves to recount. He and my mother both worked at many traditional places such as clothing and retail stores as well.

  • “Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?”

    Yes, I’ve been interning for Ohio Roundtable all summer and plan to continue through the school year. I work there primarily for the experience and because I believe in the organization’s mission.

    “Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?”

    The worst job I had was working in the dining room at Grande Village Retirement Community when I was 15. My parents weren’t crazy about me getting a job at that point, but I really wanted to work, so, reluctantly, they allowed me to apply. I loved the residents, but, at that point, I wasn’t prepared to deal with the people I worked with. I wasn’t strong enough at that point to be a good witness in that sort of environment, and I just sort of kept quiet and tried to fit in. My employers didn’t seem to care about their employees, and the result was…not good. Everyone I’ve talked to who still works there is completely fed up with management.

    As I mentioned earlier, I now work for Ohio Roundtable, and that is the best job I have ever had. I do research for the legislative director, who is truly an incredible woman. I work primarily from home, and when I do go into the office the people there are godly individuals who have a common purpose (restoring Judeo-Christian values to policy making on a state and local level).

    “Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?”

    If my dad were injured and couldn’t work, I could help my mom with her network marketing business, if she wanted to keep doing that, but, financially, God has provided for us well enough that were either or both my parents to die today, the rest of us would still be financially secure.

  • Like most of the other posters, I’ve had “odd jobs” all of my life. When I was younger, I sold pinecones, potholders, flowers, lemonade, and held carwashes. I started selling on e-Bay and when I was 13. Last fall I was a teacher’s assistant. None of these jobs were especially monetarily rewarding, but I have learned so much about basic economics and selling skills!

    This summer my “job” was holding a stand at the local farmer’s market. I heard about a niche, baked goods, and filled it. I spent more capital than I earned, but I set up a reputation and learned alot! So next year when I return, I hope to double my capital. One comment I heard all the time from people was “Are you with Shank’s?” [ a popular bakery downtown]. “No”, I’d reply, “I bake for myself”. Most people didn’t question my age because they assumed that I was older than I actually was. But, the people who asked were usually shocked!

  • I got a babysitting job this summer, but that’s pretty much it. I’m not the center of my social circle, and I don’t like to talk on the phone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t communicate.
    I’m good at school, good with kids, good with cooking, good with crafts, so I could probably manage. Not completely by myself, though. I have five younger sibs.

    Oops, was I supposed to be a teen to comment? I’m still a tween, but not for long!

  • Did I have a job this summer? Yes. I’ve been working regularly since I was nine years old. This summer, I did yard work, cleaned neighbors’ horse stalls and judged foods at the county fair. During the school year, I teach piano and care for a neighbor’s horses.

    Mmm, the best or worst job I’ve ever had. I can’t really say that I’ve had a bad job, so I’ll go with the best- caring for horses. Through doing that for the last nine years I’ve learned dependability (animals always need care), precision (measuring foods), communication (making sure I understand the boss’ instructions, and that they understand what I’m saying) and how to have fun even when it’s dirty! Rain or shine, I know that there’s work to do, and there’s a reward for doing it.

    If one of my parents was injured and unable to work and I was forced to help provide for my family, what skills do I have that could help generate an income? I don’t have a whole lot of “special” skills. I can teach music, do basic yard work, or do basic bookkeeping, but that’s about it.

    Also, to those whose parents want them to help around home, don’t feel bad. That’s part of living with my family too. If you’re truly working around the house, you’ll learn similar basic workplace skills to if you were working elsewhere. Who better than your parents to teach you how to properly relate to authorities?

  • Great post, you guys!

    I have worked at a Christian day Camp for the past three summers as a Counselor In Training. Besides babysitting, this has been the only paid job that I have ever had. I have also done a lot of volunteer work at my old church (mainly childcare). I love working with kids, but I would like to do some photography this next year, as well. Thanks for posting this. It goes right along with what y’all talk about concerning low expectations for teens in our society.


  • I did not have a job this summer (other than teaching one of my brothers through an extended schoolyear, which is a job!), because if I went into the workforce, even part-time, I would miss too much precious time with my family- even as it is, I feel the days tick away.

    However, there are prospects on the horizon for the whole family- my Daddy will be opening a business in a year, and we will all be able to take part in that effort. One of his primary reasons for choosing this route instead of getting an office job when he retires from the military is the chance to A) have his kids work WITH him and B) have his kids WORK with him. In the one sense, he wants the relationship building time, and in the other he wants his children to have a work ethic, marketable skills, excellence in customer service, and business acumen as early as possible.

    Until next summer, then, my foray into the business world will be learning as much accounting as I can, and absorbing as much reading material as possible about the way we will be working. I’m so very excited, because I’ve always wanted to help my Daddy in this way, but even more pleased at the character and relationship building opportunities for my three younger brothers! Another thing I can do in preparation is have my student (9th grade) get lots of high school credits knocked off the list this year, so that he can take advantage of the opportunities later.

    As to the Hypothetical: I can sew/alter/design/repair clothing et cetera… I don’t know how much demand there may be out there for a professional seamstress, but I could do the work itself. I do know that there are a lot of Victorian re-enactors who have their lavish historically correct ensembles made for them- if wage is based on skill level it should be pretty substantiall! I have connections in that realm, experience with that type of sewing, and ”hypothetically” could find enough work to at least help support my family.

    My Daddy has cooked in a restaurant, fixed cars, preached, and worked with Intercontinental Ballistic Missles. 😉 Varied enough, do you suppose?

  • I think the article was a bit unfair to teens who don’t work for academic reasons. I’m building up college credits in high school right now – an enormous educational advantage – and a job would effect my grades detrimentally. I have a strong work ethic, and I don’t think that not having a job now is going to hurt that.

    My dad is currently working on starting a business, and I may have a job in it when the time comes – so let’s hope that works out if God wills it! In the meantime, I think it’s more important to work on gaining job skills than job experience, because working at Wal-mart won’t prepare me for any career I’m thinking about entering as much as high education, technical skills, and the foreign language skills I’m also developing.

  • Ariadne: You are welcome to comment any time you want! 🙂 As a tween you have a great opportunity to build the kind of convictions that will carry you through your teen years. You don’t have to waste any of them. Keep doing hard things!

  • I didn’t get a job this summer because I used the spare time to practice wedding songs. I’m hoping to earn money by starting a business (so to speak) as a part-time wedding pianist. Also, since my two older sisters left for college, a job would have kept me from being there for my family. Having a job really is important, not only because of the value of earning money and learning to work hard, but it is also important because teens have the opportunity to be a blossoming Christian witness, maybe even more so than if they had not gotten a job.

  • ok…I am a teen, but although I applied at several places this summer, I was not hired due to the fact I am not 18…(I will admit that I did not apply at any fast food places or any childcare places)
    However, I decided to spend my time this summer serving at our church. I do work for my Dad every once in a while, when they need me, doing odd-jobs at his work…mostly because they can pay me less than the employees and I am willing to work for less.
    The worst jobs I have ever done are picking rocks at our house for the last 7 summers and I cleaned a toilet paper log saw that was covered for two inches in grease and paper dust….
    and if God forbid, my Dad died I wouldn’t drop out of high school, but I definitely would be less picky about the job I took. I can tutor in any subject but a foreign language, I can drive, I can communicate and I have people skills, and can use a cash register, and can wait tables, and have basic computer skills.

    Maybe one reason I did not get a job was the fact I didn’t need one…I still live at home and my parents cover my insurance and most of my gas…If I need money I can babysit and get it…once my parents cut my allowance I will be hard up for cash…but By then I will have a job.

  • Hey, I know this has nothing to do with this post (although it is an interesting one..) but just wanted to let you guys know, I heard you on Dr. Mohler’s program today. THANK YOU for taking a stand in our culture and encouraging the rest of us to do likewise!! I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met my age (Younger and older than me too. I’m 23…) who can’t carry on a conversation about theology or doctrine ( and don’t know what they believe…) let alone an intelligible conversation about anything besides the latest movies and video games. It seriously can be a depressing thing at times. You guys did an excellent job in the interview of making your goal of The Rebelution clear. I’m coming to the Indy conference and I’m very excited to see what comes of it. (Actually, I’m one of the four volunteer photographers. 🙂 Later!

  • 1) I’ve had on-and-off part-time jobs since the spring, mostly consulting. Why? Well, just to test the market. My work experience has given me plenty of knowledge about a field of work I’m considering entering. I’ve also come across a very nice pediatrician, which is quite helpful to my family. 🙂

    2) The worst work experience I had… well, it wasn’t exactly horrible, but one of the jobs I had in the spring didn’t exactly provide a ‘clean’ work environment. I’ll leave it at that.

    3) I have a varied set of well-developed skills that could get me a very good-paying job in many high-demand fields basically in my sleep. If I wanted to. In that hypothetical situation, want wouldn’t really have anything to do with it.

    In response to the article, I think if the US would start enforcing our border laws, the problem would begin to correct itself. I take it, though, that this isn’t the direction you’re wanting the conversation to go, so I’ll leave it there.

  • I did have a job this summer. I teach violin lessons. This fall, I will start teaching piano as well. I am able to stay at home with my family (where I feel I have been called), and have learned teaching skills that will hopefully help me home-school my children someday.

    If my daddy were injured and unable to work, I would help my family through teaching. My daddy has also been teaching me some web design, and I hope that I would be able to use this to bless my family, as well. 🙂

  • My first job I had was at age 13, working as a sales assistant at a major shoe store company. I worked there for 4.5 years. when I turned 15, my manager offered me the position of second in charge of the shop. I stopped working there at age 17 1/2.
    most of the time, I really really didnt like working there. It was very high pressure sales. The management was horrible too. But I did my work to the best of my abilities, and became the youngest second in charge in the history of the company, and thankfully was highly spoken of by the big bosses. Now I work at a sports centre, as a sales assistant and receptionist. I love my job here. God blessed me with the perfect job quite literally. before I got my job with the sports centre, I joked with my friend that my next job had to have lots of perks, and then preceeded to rattle off a bunch of things that I wanted. God not only gave me EVERY single thing on my ‘perfect job list’ but a whole heap of other blessings.
    I get a higher rate of pay than most people who have gone to uni and now work in a top field. I have a fantastic boss, the most flexible hours possible, and I can work with people without having to force products down their throats.
    I am always so amazed and humbled whenever I think of work now.
    So saying all this, as much as I hated working with the shoe company, it was a blessing to me. It taught me how to deal with people, It built my character, and it taught me not to quit just because things get a little tough.
    Thanks God.

  • First of all my parents love this post and see it as a good thing to be talking about. It has started a conversation in our home on the topic of jobs. That is why I’m getting to comment 😉 on this pacticular post.

    I don’t think the news article is taking in consideration that some teens are baby sitting and mowing lawns. I feel that this article is only looking at teens that are actually working at a place, such as a convenience store, mall store or fast food restaurant.

    To answer your questions…

    * Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    I didn’t have a “paying” job this summer. Nothing came up. When I talk job, I’m not talking working at a place. I hire myself out to baby sit and clean, but nothing came up at all this summer. I did help my mom a lot around the house. I know that really doesn’t count as a paying job would, but it’s still a job.

    * Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?

    I love to baby sit and is the best job I’ve ever done, because I love children. However, there was this one time when I baby sat for a child for 6 hours, the girl would not listen, was extremely hyper and did not understand the word NO. She also had a very bad attitude. I was only paid $5.

    * Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    There is good money in baby sitting. I would clean houses for money too. There is good money in that as well.

  • I had a job this summer and the last working at a Christian camp for 8 weeks. I was kitchen staff, so though I wasn’t with the kids, it was one the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m not usually a person who likes to work. I tend to be lazy, actually, which is a great flaw for me. But at the camp, I was always eager to work, even though I had to get up early in the morning to make breakfast. I felt so acutely that I was working for God, that God was blessing our work and he was the one giving me a reward. It was a volunteer position with a love gift at the end of the summer. Not worth the money, but that’s not why I was there. I recommend a volunteer position like that to any teen. What a way to develop a work ethic!

    The camp job was both the easiest and the hardest job I ever had. The hours were long, I only saw my family a couple times over the whole summer, and I have never had my emotions tried so stressfully. When you work with 20 other staff for 8 weeks, living with them constantly, you get to know their flaws and conflicts are sure to arise. It’s a sure way to develop a Christ-like love, and also to earn some killer people skills! It was also the best job simply because I was working for the Lord, and because he brought people into my life I know I will have beside me for a lifetime.

  • I’m 18 and I’ve never had a job. I do not intend to ever have a job in the corporate world. I do work and make money, though. At 16, I did a full summer of our town’s Farmer’s Market, baking and cooking breads, cookies, candy, and making a couple garden trellises in the beginning.

    In the fall of that year, I was asked to babysit/nanny my 9 month-old cousin about 3-4 days a week, while her daddy was working for another uncle of mine in another state, and I did that for 5 1/2 months.

    The following year in August, I became a transcriptionist. For those of you who don’t know what that is, a transcriber, or transcriptionist listens to an audio file while typing it out as document file.

    My mom is now the manager of that transcriber group, and I am assisstant manager plus transcriber and proofer. I make a good bit above maximum wage, and for less time too.

    This past week I was attending a business/entrepreneur conference that I also volunteered at. I have a lot of friends there, and the woman who started this particular conference is incredibly God-led. She and her whole family are very, very good friends of mine. While we (these conference attendees as a whole) don’t have anything against jobs, we dislike them immensely because 1) they take dads, and sometimes moms, away from their families, 2) you are trading your good time for poor money, and 3) sometimes, the job you are doing is not something that you are really passionate about and can distract from the potential and plans God has for your life.

    Lately, we’ve been mostly working on finishing the renovations in our home so we can move South, and hopefully we’ll be done in a few weeks, God willing. 🙂

    If either of my parents had been injured, I would have no problem taking over the management of the transcriber service, as I already have had experience managing it while my mom stayed with my sister in the hospital for 2 weeks this past month.

    If I may…I will add that a J-O-B isn’t the only route to go to make money for a living. I don’t want to offend or upset anyone here, but it’s true. Being an entrepreneur and having received the knowledge and training I have from the Godly men and women speaking at these conferences I attend has opened mine and my family’s eyes. Working for yourself is one of the best things you could do with your life. Money isn’t the primary or only object of interest in being an entrepreneur – managing time is. Money is a close secondary. Managing time so you have more time with your family, so you have time to do hobbies and passions that you have longed to do, but haven’t had the time to, so you have more time to be with your friends. But still, in that case, you’d also not have to worry about the money. I know sooo many people in the homeschool and Christian world that think making millions is going to lead you astray and make you one of “them,” meaning the rich people in our world. It’s not true. I’ve seen the evidence with my own eyes and experienced it myself.

  • * Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    I didn’t have a job this summer, except for helping around the house. For one thing, transportation here is complicated, there are basically no forms of public transportation and so my parents would have to drive me, and also, other than babysitting, there aren’t really that many jobs open to younger teens like myself and most people have maids, so there aren’t many babysitting jobs.

    * Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I’d probably try to (I know this sounds crazy, it wouldn’t do much at all), get one of my stories published somewhere. But since that most likely wouldn’t work, I could babysit, clean house, cook or bake for people.

  • After being on the “job hunt” for almost six months this spring, I can well understand why some teens may just give up. I applied at a score of different places – nursing homes, small restaurants, chain/fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, department stores… nothing. I guess people think teens under 18 can’t really be a good worker. Or maybe, God was just trying to teach me patience and trust. ( :
    And yet, I wasn’t earning money to buy a prom dress or senior pictures or a cool car, and thus didn’t give up as easily. I want to go to college, and have to pay for it on my own.
    Well I finally did land a job at a nursing home as a “Dietary Aide” – haha – a fancy name for the person who does all the dirty work in the kitchen! But really, I love it, and can totally see God’s hand in everything. He has granted me favor with my supervisor (who can be known to be pretty cranky and nit-picky), as well as with my fellow employees. Funny, the first place I applied to was a nursing home right next to the one I work at now and I was turned down without a glance. Six months later… God moves!
    It is amazing where he brings us when we simply say, “Here I am! Send me!”


  • Cait: You are completely right that self-employment is a great way to go — and when I asked everyone what jobs they’d had I was including any kind of work (even if you’re not being paid). Your working at the Farmer’s Market would qualify as a “job” in my mind — and that is sort of what the girl in the article was doing too. By the word “job” I didn’t mean working for someone else. I just meant working. 🙂

  • >>Did you have a job this summer?
    I’ve been working at a homeschool/educational supply warehouse, Rainbow Resource Center, for the past year and a half. I’ve also been doing work with my own media production company.

    >>What did you learn from the experience?
    It’s been interesting to see what the world (i.e., my co-workers) places their emphasis on, that is, the vicious cycle of working to have the money to spend on the pleasures of this world. I found a great contrast in having the satisfaction of buying some expensive equipment for my own company without having to go into debt to pay for it. I’ve also learned that sowing honest, hard work done unto the Lord reaps being trusted among overseers.

    >>Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?
    Manual labor (taking the skills learned from working on our farm and at the warehouse), as well as fine arts, such as teaching violin and viola, and media creation and design.

    Though our work is cursed by the sin of mankind starting with Adam and Eve, a mindset of glorifying the Lord through our work makes it so much more enjoyable!

  • These statistics are sad, indeed. However, one must look demographically as well as nationally at this. For example, in my area (Michigan), unemployment is well over 7%, while the national average hovers in the low 4’s. Many teenagers here are competing with laid off 40 and 50 year olds for jobs at places like McDonald’s. One must also consider the rise in minimum wage. That is having a huge impact on unemployment.

    I do think there are teens who are just loafing on the beach, but there are others though who are looking for work, but just can’t (as is the case with my brothers and I). We are very entrepreneurial in this market, however according to the statistics, we would still be considered unemployed. I’m not a statistics person, but I do know that they don’t always tell the complete story.

  • Just out of curiosity (and I’m not trying to be antagonistic here), but what is your work history? I realize you’re writing a book, etc. But for somebody who doesn’t know, you could be two guys sitting in Starbucks on your computers all day 😀 Perhaps something similar could be said about a few of those kids on the beach 😉 Heck, when I was 14, I spent 2 weeks on the beaches of Hawaii. I hope that wasn’t when this survey was taken 😉

    Now seriously, one must also keep in mind, there’s also a large segment of the homeschool population that believes young ladies should not work outside the home. This probably doesn’t factor into the national stats and these girls are definitely not lazy, but in some peoples eyes, they’re just sitting around. Do you know what the unemployment stats are among homeschool *teens*?

  • * Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not? Yes…and no. I worked for 3 weeks at a community college bookstore to earn enough money to start my own photography business. I have been working on a book (which may never sell…and hasn’t paid me anything yet…but is work nevertheless – as you guys know, I’m sure), helping out with church needs and helping my dad out some with his own business.
    * Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience? Hmmm…the best job I ever had was probably working in the kitchen of a restaurant – first as a dishwasher…and then moving up to doing salads, desserts and side-dishes. I had a gracious boss, who was very kind whenever I accidentally broke a dish or dropped a dessert. I was quite shy then, and I missed many opportunities to be a bright light for God. I think the experience taught me to never overlook the small jobs, or start thinking that something is more important than something else. We all need to work together to make things work smoothly. It also taught me to do things well, and joyfully…and to admit when I messed up, and start over again. I was also very thankful to have a great boss…which reminded me to be the person you would want to work for.
    I actually have never had a terrible job, and God has taught me something different at each of the 3 or 4 different jobs I have had.
    * Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income? Wow. Well: I could write or take pictures for any number of things…newspapers perhaps? I can sew, cook (desserts best!), watercolor/paint/draw (or teach said skills), I can design websites to a certain extent, my dad finds me very skilled with Adobe Photoshop, I can type quite fast (transcribing), I could make scrapbooks for people (actually thought of that as a job once…), I could teach violin, photography of any number of things, I’ve worked as a secretary, kitchen hand in a restaurant, a transcriber, and worked as a cashier…I am a hard-worker, and quick to pick up most any skill I need to.

    Well…this has been a very thought-provoking article. Thank-you.

    ~Lady Tai

  • Well Kristin, I can’t say I blame you. I’ll barely be 15 when I go spend two weeks in Hawaii (for the Pro Bowl!!!). I’ve been mowing my grandparent’s lawn since April. It’s been a big learning experience. I don’t like mowing but you know what we’re supposed to do; DO HARD THINGS!!!!!!

  • Kristin: You are absolutely right that there are other factors involved in the statistics. I’m not so concerned about how many teens are working as that most of the teens that are working lack basic communication skills and a work ethic. I’m not encouraging anyone to go out and work for someone else (or even outside the home in the case of young ladies), but just to work. Do Hard Things and all that. 🙂

    In regards to your question (I was afraid someone would ask): We worked as paid walkers for Bush/Cheney in 2004 and as volunteers on many other campaigns prior to that. Then we worked as interns at the Alabama Supreme Court in 2005 and were on staff as Grassroots Coordinators for four statewide races in Alabama in 2006. Starting in late 2006 we worked part-time as Executive Assistants for Noble Institute for Leadership Development and now that we are done with high school (and are putting off college for a year) we are working full-time on The Rebelution — which includes the website, conferences, book, etc.

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    other than a babysitting job once or twice, I have not worked this summer… between making up two lost elective credits and starting homeschooling, (and being only 15) I have not been allowed to work at an actual job other than cleaning up around the house. (but that could become a full time job ;c) ) When I turn 16 though, I will be allowed, and by then I’ll be settled into the homeschooling groove.

    I want to get a job because I like the feeling that I am doing something worthwhile with my time and energy and not being wasteful with my talents and time. And I like knowing that I am making my own money, and am not straining the family finances for my various fetishes, and I’d like being able to save some of my own personal money for future, important things.

    Brett: That is so awesome that you guys were interns at the Alabama Supreme Court and all of those political jobs! My twin sis and I had helped last year in the political elections and stuff by handing out Bush/Cheney and info and flyers outside the polling places all afternoon. (even though it isnt too fun while it is pouring rain outside and very cold)

    and great post!

    -Elisabeth Gruber

  • I wasn’t able to get a job this summer. Being only 14, no one would hire me. I am in the process of starting my own sewing business.
    My 16 year old brother has a job working at a fast food restaurant. During the summer, he pretty much ran the restaurant. The owners relied on him to open and close the shop every day because there college-aged employees weren’t responsible enough to do it. Now that school is started, they have had to hire about 5 people to take his place.
    My parents both had jobs when they were young. Mom starting waitressing when she was 16 until she got married (18).
    Dad worked at his family auto parts store starting when he was a teenager until after he was married.
    Those are some scary statisics!

  • I’ve worked every summer I can remember at my family’s produce stand. That really is the best job I’ve had. I enjoy the work, and learn a lot every year.
    I also have my own bakery. Over the winter I worked at McDonalds. Although that has to be the worst job I’ve had, it also gave me a new perspective on the people that work in fast food restaurants. I learned to have more patience and respect for the people that are taking my order, and frying my hamburger!!
    I’ve also worked at a local bakery and had other odd jobs.
    I think parents have a huge influence on their childrens work ethic. My Dad is the hardest working person I know, but that alone doesn’t make me a hard worker. It’s that from the time we (my brothers and I) were walking, we would work along side our parents.

  • I read part of the article, but since I didn’t want to give out information, I didn’t read the rest. But, what I did get to read was quite interesting.

    No, I didn’t have a job this summer. My parents don’t want me to get a job yet, so I respect them and honor them. I think it’s important to point out the fact that it is a good idea to check with your parents before trying to find a job. Perhaps, as in my case, your parents may not want you to have a job just yet.

    Also, most places around here won’t hire until you’re at least 16, but I know of one place where they hired a 14-year-old.

    However, I do occasionally baby-sit and I definitely enjoy that. Just yesterday I baby-sat a boy with Cerebral Palsy. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to take care of this little boy who is so special to God.

    And lastly, I’m not quite sure what I would do if my parent got injured and couldn’t work. I guess I’d have to go find a job somewhere! I trust that if that ever happens, my Heavenly Father will give me guidance.

  • I didn’t have a “job” this summer, in the sense that I earned lots of money! =) I babysat a few times when needed, but I also worked quite a bit on writing, choreographing, directing, and acting in a musical that involved 30 actors, singers, and dancers, plus backstage help and sound crew (my wonderful family!). It was a ministry opportunity, and while I didn’t earn money, I learned many invaluable skills about acting, organizing, producing, and so on, too much to recount!

    I will continue teaching The King’s Praise Ballet ( this year, and am excited to get to teach the 30 girls God’s entrusted to me.

    As many others have mentioned, if something did happen where I had to support myself, I could continue teaching, and also probably earn something (I’ve already had people ask!) with my sewing, cooking, cleaning, etc.

  • I think that having a job is great. my 17 year old brother has a job and has for awhile. As for me, apart from babysitting and helping out family i do not work outside of the home. i think it is good to have a good work ethic and in the situation you mentioned (parents needing help and all) to work, but i think as a teenage girl, it is not nessacarily the best idea, for accountability and in the role that God has ordained for women and all. Not to say I will never have a job, but at age 16, maybe not! 🙂

  • I have been working since i was 14. Before then I babysat and did odd jobs for my parents and friends. My parents never had a lot of money and I wanted certain things(clothes, cd’s etc) so I worked, maybe my motives weren’t that great but I always tithed, I didn’t save very much but it was a learning curve. From age 14 through to the end of highschool I worked in a Pizza shop 12 hours a week, this was usually two 6 hour shifts on Friday and Saturday nights, it meant I missed out on a lot of social things but it also kept me out of trouble! During school holidays I would work at and Internet Cafe and doing filing or stuffing envelopes for a friends company. This instilled in me good people skills, leadership skills, the ability to work under stress and deadlines, the importance of being a good witness through my work ethic, and being able to communicate on many levels. All these things are invaluable. I never went to college or uni but I have never been without a good paying job because I work hard and present myself well. I worked for a year when finishing highschool for a large communications company earning a good salary then I went to Bible College, it was hard going from having so much money for a long time to having hardly any. In desparation I worked at McDonalds to pay my college fees, that was a humbling time being bossed around by 15 year olds and being over qualified, I didn’t want to be there but God knew better.

    Best job I had was the Pizza Shop, the people I worked with were fun and supportive and there was a real sense of community… and I LOVE pizza. The worst was a bank’s Call Centre, I only lasted 8 weeks, mainly due to lack of training and support. I have had a lot of jobs I haven’t particularly liked but it’s taught me to have a good attitude and be thankful for God’s provision, my goal is to store up treasures in heaven not on earth!

    If my parents were not able to work… well they still don’t have a lot of money and I earn more than they both do so I’m sure I could support them!

  • I had a few jobs this summer. 🙂 I worked for several local equine facilities — including a top-level dressage barn and a barn that specializes in importing horse from Europe, training, showing, and re-selling them. This was definitely my favorite job this summer. I not only learned more advanced riding, training, and showing skills, but I also was able to learn the business aspects of international trade — and how it works with horses (but also with other “commodities”). Very, very interesting stuff. It was also cool because the barn is family-owned, and the father is a first-generation American who was originally from Denmark (where they get most of their horses from), so I learned a lot about European culture while we worked together, and was also able to share Christ with him….and its a long story, but through a long train of circumstances, he was able to see that God does answer prayer! Amazing stuff. I also worked as a typesetter for a local homeschool curriculum publisher this summer, taught horseback riding lessons, trained horses at my own barn, and finished school. I mention finishing school, because even though you can have a lot of fun and maybe even earn a tiny bit of money working with horses, you can’t support yourself or a family. The school I was finishing (distance learning) enables me to practice as a paralegal — should I ever want or need to (at least for the next 5 years, while my certification is still good). A legal assistant gets paid pretty well on average, so assuming that I could find a lawyer in need of help, it would definitely be a supplement in supporting the rest of my family were my parents injured.

  • Interesting post!

    1. Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    Yes, I have had a job gutting chickens at a local friends’ farm five days (four gone, one to go) this summer. I mainly did it for the money (pays well) because I wanted to help out my family with paying for the dairy goats I raise but I also did because I enjoyed the fellowship with the other young people (whom I knew) who worked there.

    2. Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?

    I’m not much good at answering this as I’m only 13 *g*. However I can say that all of the jobs I’ve done at this farm I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot from the experience…like how to clean a chicken, feed bulls, or milk a cow.

    3. Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    Not many but I’m learning!

    In nomine Christi,

  • My dad is in the Air Force, and so we are currently stationed at Lajes Air Field, Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal. There aren’t to many job opportunities out here besides bagging at the base commisary or doing secretary/odd jobs work for different units out here, but I was blessed in that I was given a unique opportunity. There is an organic farmer a short drive from where I live, who grows everything according to the permaculture technique, and he is probably the only farmer in the world who grows organic vegetation specifically for the health benefits. He also is the only person in the world who sells certain hybrids in salad leaves.

    Everything is done by hand, including the watering, weeding, insect killing, and mulching. I worked their three days a week, three hours a day. It was a great learning experience.

    I guess my bottom line is that don’t just look at a job for the money you can get out of it, but for the experience, and the educational value in it. I now have at least a rough idea of how to organically grow a few things, and I know a little bit about permaculture.

    The only drawback was having to catch slugs by hand, because you weren’t permitted to use pesticides, and if you didn’t catch and kill at least 300 a person in one night it was a waste of time, because each female lays 300+ eggs. LOL

    In Christ,
    Andrew >

  • My brother and I have had part time jobs ever since we were about 6 and 8. My Dad manages a timber business, so there were always odd jobs for us to do in the school holidays. When I was 16, circumstances changed, and my Dad needed my help full time at his business. I have been working there for nearly 2 years now, as well as supporting the website development business, which my parents encouraged me to start. This has certainly been an interesting time of my life, as many believe that unmarried girls should not have a full time job outside the home (especially in a timber yard!), and yet that is what my Dad asked me to do! God has certainly used this season as a time of teaching for the whole family.

    The best job, or best *part* of the job is being able to help my family, especially my Dad. It’s really special to hear that I’ve made a difference for him. The worst part is dealing with profane or crude people, which is inevitable in any job that involves the general public I suppose! If circumstances forced me to help support my family, I would have to draw on my skills and knowledge of timber and processing for a day job, and work on web design at night.


    Samalah, NZ

  • Leave it to me to leave a comment that doesn’t work! That was so dumb… and I can’t leave the comment again right now ’cause I have to get off the computer. I’ll try again tomorrow!

  • I’ve never had a real paying job. The real reason behind that is because it is too much for my parents to drive me to the job (I haven’t gotten my liscence yet for insurance reasons), and it is not the safest thing to ride a bike here by myself to and from work. I am the oldest of four kids (the next sib is 6 years younger), and I am pretty busy with homeschool, helping my mother with housework, and teaching my younger sibs things. The only thing I have done closest to a job is baby-sitting, but I don’t charge a certain fee, just accept what people want to give me.I also volunteered to work at the library and got school credit for helping.

    =) I would love to get a job next summer, when I get my liscence, and work maybe at a bookstore or music store. I think I would have the skills necessary to work there as I love to read and am constantly learning about music. I am very involved in our church group, and people have said that I’m the “mothering/informative” sort of girl (from the being the oldest sib!). These skills I’m pretty sure I got from helping around the house and teaching my sibs (not to mention reading.. he he I’m a bookworm).

    If my parents ever got sick, I think I would work at any store that’s nice. I’ll be in college next year, so I could get a job tutoring at the college, too.

  • Maybe this is just because of where I live (Crazy worker shortage in Alberta right now), but we are having problems with kids “working to much” here, grades in our town are very low, much of it blamed on the fact that some kids have up to two full time jobs, they will get up supper early and work until they have to go to school (getting some much needed sleep during classes) and then head of to there other job to work late in to the night, get very little sleep and get up and do it again!

    Not “every” kid does the but pretty much everyone has at least at part time job. Every restaurant (waitresses and ever cooks), box store, coffee shop, auto parts stores, gas stations, you name it, it is practically run by kids 13-17.

  • I had a job this summer mowing a lawn for an elderly friend of mine. She’s a wonderful Christian lady, so the fellowship when I’m done mowing the lawn is really neat. I hope that I’m still going as good as she is when I’m over eighty!
    The best job I ever had was babysitting for some missionary kids. We had a great evening together! I felt bad for awhile after it, though, ’cause I let Rachel go to bed with her glasses on.
    The worst job I ever had was babysitting for my cousins when I was 10. The babysitter who was watching all of us had to leave for some reason, so I was left in charge. NOT FUN.
    If something happened to my dad and I had to help take care of my family, I could sell baked goods, clean, teach music, or get a job at a fast-food place. I don’t think that anything I’ve written would become popular enough to take care of my family!
    Thanks for the post – I’ll have to ask my parents about their jobs. I know that my Dad and Mom have both worked at The WILDS Christian Camp and at The WILDS of the Rockies Christian Camp, but other than that all I know is my Dad’s current jobs.
    Sorry about my first comment…
    Have a great day, everyone!

  • [b]Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?[/b]
    I did. I worked in an office at the University I’m attending. Simple reasons why- I need to pay for my college (debt free so far…) and pay for a car. Parents can buy you dinners and toys, but there comes a time when its your responsibility to pay for the big things.

    [b]Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?[/b] Well, in 4 years I’ve only had two jobs, and they were with the same institution. I’d say that my current position is the better of the two. It teaches me responsibility and is helping me to learn skills.

    [b]Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?[/b] I have several years of experience working in a financial office… My current job would help I think, unless it was my father who was injured. My brother might have to pitch in on that one…

    The article was interesting. I have several friends still in high school/just graduating, and some of them have admitted to me that they don’t want to get a job. Getting a job represents something different to a teenager today. Instead of extra spending money, they see it as a cut into their social time. Instead, they ask their parents for cash and spend evenings hanging out with friends.
    I think that having a job is important to teenagers. It builds life skills and experience. It helps you care too. I have noticed in my fellow college students a trend- the difference between a student whose parents pay for them and a student who pays for their own tuition is several letter grades!

  • Yes, I had a job this summer at a local organic farm, mostly planting and weeding, and it was so lovely, because I wasn’t stuck inside some fast food restaurant during the beautiful summer months! It was also an interesting opportunity to be a witness to the lady I worked for, whose daughter (age 41) is a Christian and hasn’t been able to make any real headway with her Mom. Although I never gave a long account of the gospel, I dropped seeds here and there (literally and spiritually!), which is what her daughter asked me to do. I prayed so hard for this lady as I pulled the weeds, hoping that the seeds I would sow in her life would not fall on rocky or weedy ground. But she was still a wonderful person to work for, much better than last year’s job!

    Yes, last years job–which was similar to what I did this year, picking, planting, and weeding at a local organic farm, except a different farm–was rather awful. Although all my colleagues were fantastic, and the actual work we did was mostly pleasant, our boss was very strange. She had a temper that couldn’t be controlled, and was one of those people who says you are the best worker ever on one day, and the next day is a terror to your soul. A few other bad experiences certainly tainted that job, however I did learn from it, how to handle unkindly overseers, and how not to treat employees. I heard this summer she didn’t have enough workers. I wonder why!? So I definitely learned from that.

    I would probably be able to teach music, and work at gardening type jobs, and earn a decent income, if I was working full time. In a year or so (when I am old enough to finish all my qualifications), I will be fully certified as a lifeguard/swim teacher, which would also be an immense help in a terrible situation as the one you posed.

    Thank you for the encouraging and interesting post!
    In Christ,

  • I have had jobs in the past (babysitting five days a week, housecleaning) , but my dad and I have come to the conclusion recently that to start an appetite for working outside of the home is not good for girls. Since Titus 2 says to teach the young women to be “keepers at home”, we saw that there is no better job preparation than actually keeping the home. Being a woman of God requires completely different preparation than being a man of God. It is good for both to learn to submit to authority and handle money, but doing what your parents say and doing things like grocery shopping and helping with the budget can teach you this just as well as a job.

    I now stay home and help my mother with the housecleaning, menu planning, teaching, grocery shopping, and anything else that needs to be done. My younger brother already has odd jobs like mowing, and he is selling his own leather working, but our parents want us girls to focus on the home. God is more than able to provide if something happened to my dad, either through the church, extended family, or some kind of work that we girls could do from the home (or other ways. God is incredibly creative).

    It is true that teens (and younger) should be working in preparation for real life, but the kind of work is different for boys than for girls. We did not see this for years, but God has graciously shown it to us before I misused all my young adult years. We are trying to look for a family business to work at together, but if we don’t find one, I will not work outside of the home again. It does take away most of my spending money, but the trade-offs of being actually prepared to be a house-wife and following what God has revealed are more than worth it.


  • This discussion is really interesting. I have enjoyed looking through everyone’s responses!

    This summer I worked about 30 hours a week at a local hardware store and took two college classes (Biochemistry and Pathophysiology). The hardware store wasn’t my first choice, but since I had worked there my last year of high school and knew all the managers, I knew that they would hire me as soon as I needed the job. I had some problems with my manager when I worked there in high school, but this time God blessed the job so much. I was even promoted and put in charge of the newer workers! I had several chances to witness to my co-workers, and I really learned a lot about being a manager. Now that I’m in nursing school (I was just started this fall), I can see that the things I learned in that job helped me grow so much more then I realized at the time. It was really neat for me to see how much God turned what I thought was going to be a bad summer into a great growing time.

  • I started working year round when I was 13. My dad purchased four run-down apartments and he and my sister Caedy and I renovated them all nearly by ourselves. They were so dilapidated that he purchased the apartments for the cost of the land minus the cost to clear the apartments off—we had to completely remove several walls that had decomposed into dirt and had spiders and earthworms living in them. Rather disgusting.
    After renting out the apartments, my dad purchased another property: a mold-infested house on an acre of land. The land was beautiful, sloping down from the road and backing up to Island State Park. Unfortunately, the builders of the house stuck it right underneath a hill at the bottom of the slope, so it had severe water damage. We had many difficulties getting the water to drain away from the home.
    Currently I’m working with him to complete the renovation of a damaged modular home that we placed on a vacant lot and are hoping to soon sell. I work for my father year round, morning or evening, whenever he finds time off from his home business to go work on whatever project we have going at the time. Now I’m 17 and I have done nearly everything necessary to build/renovate a home: siding; plumbing; roofing; drywall; painting; building walls; electrical work; landscaping; insulating; building decks; laying laminate, tile, and linoleum floors; and so on. Needless to say, if something occurred so I had to enter the workplace to earn an income, these skills would be very useful.
    My family believes strongly in working together as a family and our real estate projects allow us to do just that. In addition to babysitting for a family—and my own siblings—I stay very busy working with my dad on the projects he purchases and am grateful for the opportunity to do so.
    Caedy and I also started a business together,, several years ago. We create nativity scenes out of Sculpey clay and donate all profits to children’s charities such as Compassion International. We also sell American flag pins and fairies, but the nativities are our most popular product.
    Brett: You said in a previous post that self-employment was “a great way to go.” Do you or Alex have any plans of creating your own business? (I realize, though, that working on the Rebelution must take up a great deal of your time!) God bless as you continue to encourage teens to Do Hard Things.

  • Interesting questions! I began working when I was 11, and haven’t stopped since. My first “real” job (besides babysitting gigs) was at 13, which I held for 4 years. I am currently working 2 jobs while taking a full courseload at my university. During the summers I generally work 3 jobs, and 12-hour days are the norm. Actually, God recently convicted me of loving work above Himself, so I am toning down my commitments so I can give Him more attention.

    My worst job was this Spring, when I worked for Quizno’s. I didn’t like it because the pay was lousy, the work was mindless, and (this is a big deal to me) the music being played was not uplifting. However, I learned a lot about dealing courteously with angry people. Also, it’s easier to associate with people who are less privileged because of the experiences and conversations I shared with my coworkers, one of whom was in her 50’s and still working in fast food (er, sorry…quick-serve :-P).

    Right now, my father is out of work (ironically). If that were to continue for an extended time, my most useful skill would be teaching sign language or coaching fencing. But, thank God for his providence–I don’t think I’ll need to find more work any time soon!

  • I found this article ironic because out of all my friends the christian ones were the only ones who are not getting jobs or even wanting ones! My non-christian friends are the ones with the better work ethic by far.
    I have been working at multiple jobs for many years and started my first full time job(5 days a week, 8 hour shifts) when I was 14, I did this for two months. The best job ever had to be when I worked at a horse farm!!!!!I loved it, I got to be in charge of taking care of two barns and 16 horses, It was the best, I was 12 then. The worst job was babysitting for two girls, I was really young and inexperienced and I hated it!!

  • Strangely enough I am only recently starting to understand this phenomenon. I am the oldest of four children in a poor,home schooling family where my dad in disabled and my mom is only allowed to work part time. Ever since I turned thirteen I have been expected to hold down a paying job outside of the home (baby sitting my siblings and household chores are part of the package I don’t get paid for that). Not working is one of my fears not one of my hopes.
    My question is how can other teenagers afford not to work? Without my job I couldn’t afford gasoline. Can their parents really afford to just continue to give everything to them?

  • Yes. I work full-time (self employed) training horses. I started last year and now have three horses which I ride every day all year. I board my horses at a Christian camp near us (, and I do farrier work on their herd to pay for my horses’ board. My parents gave me a loan to start my business, and have been incredible teachers and investors (my dad started two of his own businesses, so he was a huge help).

    The best job I’ve ever worked was at the soda fountain in our town. My boss is also an elder at our church, and most of my coworkers were Christians, so the accountability was awesome.

    If I had to help provide for my family, my horse training could make some money. I could also get a job in town at a restaurant or move theater or work as a farrier. There are many jobs in my area for a person willing to work hard.

    I am reading Do Hard Things and am incredulous. I’m only in the third chapter and I’m already feeling inspired. The Rebelution is an incredible movement, and I am proud to be a small part of it.

  • Hey Brett and Alex! I think this post is really interesting.:) I am curious though to what you think about teenage girls working outside of the home? Like for instance being a waitress or working at a store? I’d really appreciate your guys opinion on this if you have time!

  • I work at a grocery store, where I bag groceries and push the cart out to the customer’s car. I’ve been working at this particular job for 2 years, and let me tell you, it has been quite a journey. Oswald Chambers has been a great inspiration to help move me to do all things as unto the Lord. At our places of work, we should work hard and let our light shine in a lost and dying world. “Work” is a huge mission field, if you allow it to be. I have a marvelous opportunity where I work to share the gospel with numerous people. I am doing them a service, so I am meeting a physical need; I am conversing with them, so I am meeting a social need; I am smiling and showing interest in the person because I love them, so I am also meeting an emotinoal need. Once those bases are covered, people are alot more likely to allow you to minister to their spiritual needs. It’s great to see how God will shape your unwasted life even through “work”.

  • hey! I’ve never really been on here before, but recently I started reading do hard things, and it’s deffinetly made me reflect on my own life! It’s an incredible book Alex and Brett! I’ve been working since I was 10(if babysitting counts!) I started babysitting my sibling earlier than that, but I started babysitting a few kids from my school when I was 10. I’m 13 now, and from september-January I volunteered at the horse barn I rode at. But in the middle of January, I got a payed job at the barn of cleaning out the water buckets! Actually I just got back from doing that! For the question about how I could help if one of my parents got hurt, I get 80 dollars a month for the water bucket job, and about 20- 60 dollars a month for babysitting, so I could give that to my parents, I also could do more, like mowing lawns, raking leaves, cleaning houses, washing laundry, and lots of other things!

  • I tried to get a job this summer, but the place I wanted to work doesn’t hire anyone under 16. Although you can supposedly get a job at 14 here in California, my friends say this is true for pretty much any business. So it seems if I want a job, I’ll have to either wait until next summer or make one for myself. I’m really good with computers, but hate doing “routine maintenance” type jobs. Any ideas?

  • Did I have a job for the summer?
    My reasons aren’t great either, I spent time earning six college credits, and had 2 week-long trips planned. I’m going into 11th grade now, and I can’t drive, so that limits where I can work (Althought, I admit, I could probably find a ride.) I did work with my dad 3 hours a day in sixth and seventh grade, but then their small business went under so I had to go for free. I worked the stock market a little and turned my 800 dollars into a little over a thousand. I work part-time at a local bakery around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they don’t really need my help the rest of the year (Although on occassions they’ll call me in if someone is sick.) The summer isn’t over though, I’m probably going to see about finding a part time job for the last month, my college credits are over now and so are my trips. Sometimes I wonder whether my time would be better spent earning $6 dollars an hour or taking 2 courses which will save me thousands that I don’t have to pay for in college. So I’m still seeking God’s will.

    The best job experience I ever had was in sixth and seventh grade working with my dad doing deliveries to the 5 small grocery stores my parents owned. Every night from 6PM-9PM we would take milks, juices, baby formula, eggs, and all sorts of other stuff from their headquarters to the sattelite stores. It was great because during that time my worldview was developed. We would listen to talk radio and debate the points. Dad would play devil’s advocate and challenge everything I said, forcing me to think on my feet and reason logically. This was a great bonding time for me and my dad, and allowed me to rack up a ton of cash (now in savings). It was out of this time that my love for politics and for debate sparked. Sadly, my school lacks a debate team, and I have been unsuccessful in starting one (out of lack of persistence on my part, and lack of interest fro administration).

    If my parents lost their jobs I believe I would be able to step up and help out. Because even though I don’t have a job now, my time is hardly spent idling around. I love to read and study, both inside and outside of school. My parents have done an excellent job instilling a work ethic in me, one that I believe I could replicate in most any job situation.

  • Why I don’t have a job this summer? (Good question)
    The reason I didn’t have a job this summer is because I was too young to legally work in South Carolina. Many people told me I could work at Chic-fil-a but that was a fast food restaurant and they told me it was very hard and I didn’t want to smell like grease all day. I know that is not a good enough reason. The worst job I think I could’ve had is babysitting a 2 and 5 year old children. I learned that you have to be patient because they don’t what is right and what is wrong sometimes. If my parents couldn’t work I believe that I would be able to help. I am a mechanical person I can take things apart figured out the problem and fix it most of the time. I am also good at math and I am very willing to do what ever i am told. I am a fast learner and I could work any where that i can get a job.

  • I posted on July 19th (I’m Seab) lol. But I wanted to add this.
    Since that day I’ve had the opportunity to take a small job 4 times, (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and now Saturday) I took the Mon, Fri, and Sat job, and its been difficult. Today I worked 9 hours, 3 of which were spent cleaning out an oven (HUGE OVEN). I just wanted to encourage all of you looking for a job that God will provide. My post said that I will probably start looking for one, but a few jobs came to me and I’m glad, its better than idling my time. I prob. wouldn’t have done so much if this post hadn’t challenged me, so thanks!

  • When I was 11, I started babysitting. There was one family I would babysit 2-4 nights a week for. A year and a half later we moved, so I quit babysitting, but I started working for a family friend in a pottery shop, which I really enjoyed. Then, when I was almost 15, I started working at McDonalds. I ended up becoming a shift manager. (BTW, Dallas mentioned that in Alberta, shops, restaurants, etc. are often “run” by teenage kids and that is SOO true!) That job ended up being like babysitting. I would basically make sure that the 12-16 year olds didn’t destroy the place while they were on my shift!! I soon got tired of the mismanagement at that place, and I started working at a grocery store as a cashier. I liked the job, but it got boring. So, I went to work at another McDonalds, which is very well run. I recieved a lot of training there, and my manager want to promote me to 2nd assistant as soon as I turn 18. I’m 17 now and ever since I was fifteen or so, I’ve spent my summer working 40-60 hours a week.
    “Hypothetical Situation”-I could continue at my current job. I could also work at a grocery store, babysit, maybe get a few $ from writing.

  • My parents ordered “Do Hard Things” the other day and I’m about a third of the way through with it. I just started reading your website and blog and will definitely add the links to my favorites! To answer your questions, I’m 15 1/2 and started babysitting when I was twelve or so. I continue to do that once or twice a week — sometimes more in summer. This week and next I’ll be working as a sterilization technician at my orthodontist’s office. That fancy name means I get to clean up the chairs after each patient and put the various instruments through the sterilizers. I was a little skeptical at first because it meant getting to the office at 6:50am and being on my feet until 5pm. It’s been a great experience so far. Exhausting, but the people I work with are very friendly — and my heels are REALLY sore. 🙂

    Now I have a question for you.
    I saw your more recent post and was wondering what your plans are long-term.
    Are you going into other careers after college? What are you majoring in? (Sorry about the preposition!) Do you see the “Rebelution” as lasting for a long time? Am I asking too many questions?? 🙂

  • >>Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    Well, I started baby sitting at around 10 years old and have been watching kids for quite a while since then (but the parents keep on moving to different areas! >.

  • Um… I don’t quite know what happened to the rest of that sentence buuuuuuut…

    This summer I watched a 10mo. baby boy named Ben on thursday to tuesday from 9:00am to 2:30pm for a friend of ours (the baby’s grandma) because she was needing some extra help with watching him because she is going through some hard times right now and she is also working tuesday through thursday (which is when I watch Ben of course) so my sister and I watched him- for absoloutely FREE! No charge. I guess that you could say that it was our ministry. 😀 Unfortunately, we will have to quit soon. You see, my mom is now pregnant with her 12th kid (AMAZING!) and so now she needs more help with cleaning and such. Also, it is very hard to do all of my schoolwork (I am homeschooled BTW) and watch a baby at the same time. I love the little guy though! ^_^
    But that is okay, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–” (Ec. 3:1). Thank you for all you are doing here. And God Bless you greatly!!!


  • I realize it isn’t the summer any more…but I have a general question about this post, sooo hopefully it’s still okay.. 🙂

    this post definitely made me think (and, i admit, perhaps made me a little worried as well). as an mk who has lived overseas ever since she was 11, I have never had a “real” job. There are simply no opportunities here besides babysitting and tutoring…both of which I have done, though neither has taught me much in the way of life-skills.
    It is true that I feel like I have missed out on some basic learning experiences, such as learning how to drive, or hold a job, or handle finances, which i will have to catch up on when i return for college. On the other hand, I feel like I have developed good communication skills and work ethic by other means (including service trips, school, interaction with adults), and that in fact I have experience in other areas, such as relating to people of a completely different culture, that my job-holding peers may not have.

    I realize that my situation is somewhat unique, but I do hope that there are others out there who have also been able to grow and mature without having a job (lol)…
    and I would really like to hear what others think about this.

  • Dear TCK.for.Christ,
    I can sympathize. I do live in the States but I’m a PK and my dad calls the little town where we live a “mission field where you don’t have to learn the language”. It’s a very dark place with A LOT of problems. Our church only has about 25 members on an average Sunday and my siblings and I are the only people under 35! You may not think that babysitting and tutoring are life skills but let me encourage that they really are, because they are the skills that God has provided you with! As an MK you are probably gaining much more experience and knowledge in areas many of us aren’t! And also, if that is where God has placed you just remain open to what He is training you in. Those communication skills and work ethic will serve you well wherever God takes you next!
    God bless and persevere!

  • All my life my dad has instilled a very hard work ethic in my brothers and I. This past summer I worked for a horse rancher in my area. There was about 70 horses on the ranch and some of my jobs where caring for the horses, farm work, (we farm five hundred acers) training horses and all sorts of other stuff. I am 14 so getting too work is sometimes a problem, but the ranch was just five miles from my house so I rode my bike a lot. Other then working on the ranch this summer I worked for a framer, fenced in some fields for a friend and worked for my dad who owns a fiberglass shop for boats.
    The worst job I ever had would have to be working on the ranch, but it was probably one of the best to. The worst because I had some problems with my boss. At times he was just vary hard to please, but thru it I learned same vary important character traits. But I loved the work.

    In a situation where my dad could not work I think I could find a job. Some of the things I can do are construction, farming, ranching, wood working and I’ve been offered a job with a landscaping company and a horse ferrier.

    My dad always said if your willing to work hard and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, God will take care of the rest.

  • Wow, that’s awful; I had no idea that was happening. I did have a job this summer, and am at the moment doing two babysitting jobs a week. This has helped me learn to be responsible with the money I earn, and save as well. If I did have to go out and work, I probably could find work at a daycare or fastfood chain, like Zaxby’s.

    Hannah P., you are so right about the babysitting being life skills! The weekly jobs I have help me prepare for my future as a ( hopefully) future homemaker.

    Keep up the good work, guys!

  • When I turned 12 my mom got a job as a nanny full-time for a family living out in the country. Being homeschooled, I dragged my schoolbooks in a suitcase up their porch steps five days a week and did my school there. Our job consisted of pretty much running the household. Naturally, my mom let me help her watch the adorable little girl they had :-). I am EXTREMELY thankful my mom made me go out with her there every day, because now I have a stronger work ethic, a deeper appreciation and love for children, and I learned how to do everything to keep a house running. Three years later, we still work for that family, and now they have three children. What the Bible says about sowing and reaping is definitely true! If I had never gone out to work with my mom out there I would never have the joy of those three children and their family. I believe God also used us to show our Light to that family, for they started asking us alot of questions about Christianity and now they are attending church! I hope we have many more years to share with them :-).

  • I hade one summer job, the year I turned 13 I rouged for 2 weeks (I lived in Nebraska)

    I didn’t work again (not counting baby/dogsitting) till I was 15, I got a job at a cookie place in the mall and worked their for a year and a half, then I quit (on good terms) and got a job at a buffet place. I’ve worked their for almost 5 months now, and for about 2 months I worked both jobs at once. I homeschool so its a tad easier for me then others. I just kept my regular job during the summer.
    My cookie place job had far too much drama. It was NOT fun. I learned not to get involved in drama.

  • Well, I wish I had an exciting tale like the rest of them. But it’s pretty boring. I come from a large family (8 kids) and am the oldest one living at home. To top it off I live among swarms of brothers, which are, let’s face it, slobs. So…

    1) No, I have never had a summer job. I have worked on/off at the church nursery and babysat for numerous familes throughout high school. I plan to get a job this summer and hold it thoughout my senior year, but I don’t know how that would work out.

    2) N/A

    3) Well, boy I would be in trouble. I don’t know what I would do. Thanks for the thought-provoking question!!!

  • This is a little late, considering how long ago you wrote the article, but it has developed an amazing discussion!!

    1) I’m always working in the summer. My dad publishes about ten or fifteen curriculum-based books every summer, and when I was 13 I got to start helping with the editing, formatting, printing, binding, and mailing books. So to stay to the strict idea of “summer job” I have experience there.

    2) hmmm… I’ve learned that every time I have a “bad” job, it’s just a matter of perspective. Once I turn my perspective around and realize that I’m well-off to even have a job, or that the trials within it are shaping my character (I can’t believe I just said that) then it helps. This applies to tons of little bits of work, not any job in particular.

    Good job: I started my own business when I was 9, that was really cool. I sold used books on, and my dad was very eager to instill some entrepreneurship in me. He gave me a checking account so that my debit card could be used to buy and sell things on the internet. It was a great learning experience, and I learned through trial and error that customers are happy if you send them the product they ordered, and give you bad ratings if you don’t. I knew early on how to write checks, and how to sound professional when sending out emails to customers.

    3) I’m confident that if anything happened, I would be able to get a good-paying job. A sixteen-year-old with my business experience could become a publicist or an editor. More realistically, I would likely be staying at home more to watch my eleven younger siblings, and write books to sell so my un-injured parent could work. If any of you have doubts about how realistic my writing books sounds, I already have one book published, co-authored with my mom.

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    as of right now i do not have a summer job, i have a few options but im trying to get one that will take me right now after school. i think the reason is that this supposed rescession is not allowing alot of people to hire right now, especially a 17 year old thats only done farm work and has no license. your guys’ theory of low expctations is prominent in my town.
    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
    Best job experience i probably ever had was workign for a farmer, we had to make an out of town delivery of hay and we ended up working till midnight at the place we were delivering. it was the most fun i’ve ever had, we laughed and tlaked, we competed against each other and had a good time. i probably learned that i can make the best out of any situation and i learned how far i can physically push my self.
    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?
    if one of my parents got injured i could just step into our family business and do the odd jobs, my dad owns a store that is entirely family run so we wouldn’t be too bad. but i can adapt to nearly every situation im thrown into soooo yea lol.

    i just want to thank you guys for writing an amazing book, im only 1/3 way throuhg it but it has so much truth that applies to me. you guys wrote so much truth in it that it challenges to step outside my everyday life, thanks again.

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    Actually, yes. I was a carpenter’s apprentice at the same place my Dad works. I had to clean up everybody’s messes and hand them stuff and get trash together and (occasionally) do some of the real fun stuff, like putting together cabinets, installing refrigerators, unpacking ad installing bamboo flooring (they don’t trust me with the real hardwood yet) do some paintig and at the end of the day, set fire to the junk heap. Pretty fun stuff.

    The only reason I had this job was because one day when I was around ten years old, my dad said “You should come to work with me, you could learn something good, if you ever need a job in carpentry” And so yeah, he saw how good I worked and I started miraculously getting paid five dollars an hour (less then minimum wage because of my age) But still, most of the time I was having fun.

    Tell us about your best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from that experience?

    Well, a few years back, I had to tutor this kid in reading. It was really hard because he didn’t want to learn, so I’d sit there and try to teach him stuff and he’d put his breakfast in my backpack. (maybe he thought I was hungry) But, as it progressed it got better (except when he started crying when he couldn’t read a word and felt bad about it) and we became pretty good friends. I learned how to deal with a crying child and how to work past the obstacles of him being kind of a brat.

    The best job experience was when I was supposed to make a website for a company that makes organic pet food. The company didn’t go so well, but I got paid a hundred dollars and a box full of baseball cards for my work and I learned a lot about web page design and how to work with a boss who hates your guts because she thinks you’re a useless teen and hates it even more when you prove her wrong about being uselss and asks you why she hired you. (how would I know? It was your choice!)

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I could be a tutor or a carpenter (now that I’m fourteen, I could get a work permit) I could do web design or graphic design or I could flip burgers or be a stalker at a grocery store. I could also do oddjobs (espetially pertaining to painting or carpentry) But I don’t think it would be that hard to support my family, because without one or both of my parents it would really only be me I’m supporting because both of my parents would be all “I can take care of myself” and stuff, but I know it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. Far from it, but still, I know I could do it. But I hope it doesn’t happen. My band could also get together and get some gigs and therefore get more money, but we would need a few more people (we’re not really finding anyone who wants to be in a christian band, so it’s hard.)

    Thanks for posting this, guys, it’s pretty helpful for me to be able to look inside my own life and see what I would, could and can do for a job. Also, thanks for writing Do Hard Things and good luck on the next book. Peace out! 🙂

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    Yes. I had virtually nothing else to do, and I didn’t mind being outside in the sunshine, as well as the chance to make a few bucks.
    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
    I’d say the best job so far has been teaching swimming lessons. It’s a great job, pays great, and I am learning quite a bit from being around people all of the time. It requires discipline, you need to make sure the students have your full attention, you need to make sure you know how to teach, play, laugh at yourself, laugh with others, you learn communication, you discover new things every day. I can’t say I love the job, but it’s an awesome learning experience, and I’ve always loved the water.
    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?
    My siblings and I (ages 16, 18, 28) all both live with our parents and work. My 17 yr old bro and I both dropped out of school after grade 11. I am self taught and work kind of part time as a Swimming Instructor, my 18 yr old bro is working full time as an apprentice general ironworker, and my 28 yr old bro is working full time in reinforcement ironworking (rebar).

    So, technically, we already generate an income. xD

  • well for me i got my first job may 19 and quit it may 29 but i dont complain i had to change states

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    Yes I did. I work at a local church’s daycare. I did this because I need to make my own money. I never liked getting money from my Dad. Plus, I’m going to be a senior this school year and need to get money saved up for after I graduate. Then, my dad was having a hard time helping me buy gas because he is a landscaper and that isn’t doing well now.

    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?

    Best- My job at this daycare rocks.
    Worst- I babysat two kids one summer. The boy was horrible but the girl was an angel. The boy frustrated me to no end.

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I would prob. be able to be a teacher at this daycare for more hours. If it happens after I graduate… Or I could learn to flip burgers. Whatever I had to do to help support my family.

  • “Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?”

    I have been majorly blessed with two parents who have an amazing work ethic that they have passed down to me and my three brothers; as such I’ve been working with my mom cleaning houses ever since I was 13 (I’m 17 now and just bought a horse trailer and a truck last month–now to build up my savings again XD ). I’ve also had odd jobs in the past involving baling hay, yard work, and helping our farrier with horses. I don’t know what I’d do if I _didn’t_ have a job.

    “Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?”

    I honestly can’t remember a ‘worst’ job–or a ‘best’ one, for that matter. I do love working with my farrier and helping work with horses, though.

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    Well. That actually happened a couple of years ago when my dad had back problems (compressed discs) and wasn’t able to work for almost a year after he had surgery. My mom and I nearly doubled the houses that we normally clean to take up the slack–we had 2-3 houses a day five days a week. It was pretty intense for a while there, but we made it through with a bit of belt-tightening.

  • to answer the first question I would have to say that I don’t have a job that pays weekly but I do babysit quite often

  • This summer I did not have a paying job, but could be said to have a full time job with organizing a benefit concert. It is has taught me much in communication and responsibility, though I have a lot to learn. 🙂

    As to the hypothetical question, I’ve been volunteering at the local library and have learned enough for a part time job. (hopefully) 😉

  • I think ALL teens should get jobs I think no I know that it teaches responsiblity, it gives confidence,it teaches how to save money, teaches communcation skills, and it teaches how to save for your future like college and for a car…
    You don’t have to start big when I was 8yrs. old I started babysitting w/ my sister I didn’t make alot of money but it helps when your young to learn to save—Now I still babysit but I know that I’m going to start to look for job now so I can save for a car and college! Learning how to work when your young is better then learning how to work when your 19!!

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    This summer, I started my first job. I got it mainly for two reasons: First of all, I realized that college is not cheap, and that I need to start saving now. Second, I wanted to have the experience of doing work for someone else, and (please note that I read your book after I got my job) I later realized that this was a big thing that I could do for God: I was noted as weird, partly because of my high standards of purity, work ethic, etc. However, by God’s grace I was able to stand firm; And I can truly say I never did it on my own– He put the words in my mouth, and the courage in my heart to stand up for what I believe in, and not become afraid of what people would think of me.

    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
    My job was as a fruit picker this year; I loved the physical workout I got, and the wonderful new, christian friends I made. However, I have learned that you really should not get a job unless you have established your beliefs firmly. Once you are around non-christian people, you might be tempted to change your beliefs to be portrayed as a “Cool” person (or “Normal”). God will honor those who honor him and stand firm against the pressures of this world. Therefore, I think that you should not get a job until you are mature enough, or until the Lord lays it on your heart.

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I now know how to : run a cash register, calculate sums/change in my head, I can pick/sort fruit, I can bake, clean, babysit, communicate with other’s, make subs, bag groceries, and weigh vegetables. I am also working on my American Sign Language skills, which I could hopefully use in a school (teaching). I can play the piano — this is a skill that can be used to help others even when it is not required ( i.e. playing in a nursing home, etc.)

  • Question one: I ort-of had a job this summer. My brother has a lawnmowing/yardwork business and one lady he worked for was in a wheelchair. On Thursdays we would both go over and he would do outside work and i would do inside work. The why part is just because i could have used the extra money. I also babysat maybe once a month for one of my mom’s friends and twice or three time a week. The why for my mom’s friend was the same for my other job; for my mom, because she could use a little time away from her angels with very crooked halos.
    Question two: My Best or worst job…hmmm. I guess my best job was helping my dad at work staining a house. What i learned? To be patient, do a good job no matter how long it takes.
    Question three: My dad is our only source of income, so if he was injured and couldn’t work, we’d be doomed. if my mom got hurt, i could probably handle meals and taking care of the house…probably. I don’t know how peaceful the house would be, but i could probably do it. (I can cook and clean, i just can’t do it all. and sometimes my brothers need a little prodding to help out, a little more that would be good for me to give.)

  • I want a job!! I think jobs are really important and they teach responsiblity! I have been babysitting sense I was 8… I’m so thankful for the oppurtunity and am glad that my parents have never been people that let me watch tv all day!! (in fact are famile has NEVER had cable!) (And again I use to think WHY? but now it’s not that bad I’m very thankful for there decision!!) We also use to live on a farm and i’m grateful for that because it taught me responsiblity and to care for and complete things that I started! Was it fun? I’ll be totally honest…NO!! 1/2 of the time it wasn’t! But I would cont. to do it! It’s taught me so much! Work isn’t always fun but the lessons you’ll learn from it are often VERY good!!! I’m thankful that my parents taught me and my siblings at a young age the importances of work… Now i’m 14 and I still have many responsibilities… I mow the lawn, babysit, I have weekly jobs, and etc.. I don’t always like doing my jobs but in the end I see the importants of it! I’m VERY thankful for work and that i’m able to work! 🙂
    God Bless

  • Unfortunately, many young people have a difficult time finding people who will even hire them. My brother was unable to get any job before he was 16, while my now 13-year old brother (who is completely ready to work) can’t get a job. He has started an odd jobs business, but it’s sad that often young people who want to work can’t even find someone willing to give them a chance.

  • I’m 14, so I can’t have a real job yet (besides babysiting), even though I’m very involved in my church (nursery, praise band, etc.). I can’t wait to get a job, but I’m worried if I’ll be able to in my small town.

    By the way…. Are you saying that enjoying summer and having fun is a sin? While teens need to be more responsible and productive, life should be enjoyed. It’s shouldn’t all be about work.

  • I am almost 15 and I want to get a job sometime soon. There are a couple of places in my town, like Publix and Chick-Fil-A that consider hiring teens as young as 14, but I haven’t been able to get one yet because I have schedule conflicts. However, I am going to answer the questions:
    Question 1: I sort of have a job. My brother and I run a very small pet-sitting business in our neighborhood. We’ve taken care of several people’s pets and we make pretty good money for our ages. We only have one steady client at the moment, but it’s an every-day thing (except for weekends!), so it’s plenty to keep us busy.
    Question 2: There are two of my “best job” experiences. The first one was taking care of my friend’s Sheltie Pisca. It was really easy and she was a well behaved dog that was pretty low maintenance. The other one was the time I went up to Knoxville, Tenessee with my dad in a semi truck, helping someone to move up there. I learned a lot about trucks and I got to help unload all the furniture. It doesn’t sound fun but I loved it.
    Question 3: If my dad got hurt, I guess that my mom would try to find a job, but we (my brother and I) would probably do a lot of cleaning and I would be on dinner duty. Thankfully I know how to cook several things (spaghetti, tacos, tater tot casserole, etc.) and could handle that for a while. School would be kind of hard because we’re homeschooled.
    On a side note, one thing I want to do this summer when my softball season is over is I want to volunteer at a reptile sanctuary not too far from my house. I love reptiles (yeah, I know it’s weird) and would love to do that.
    On another side note, thank you everyone for using capitalization and right spelling and the like! It is a huge pet peeve of mine! 🙂

  • Not to answer your question, but to provide some historical, economic and educational perspective–and another moral perspective.

    The percentage of American teens in the workplace has varied over the last 100 years a lot. In the beginning many teens were working because they were supporting themselves and either already married or planning to be soon. Then, as high school attendance grew, fewer teenagers worked. During the Great Depression, almost no teenagers worked in regular jobs because employers reserved what few jobs they had for “family men.” (My late uncle, who’d lived/worked through those years, believed that no family had a right to have more than one member working as long as another family had no one bringing home a salary.) He saw it as a moral issue–and this point should not be ignored.

    Working increased from the 50’s through the 90’s as teenagers became more and more drivers of the consumer economy by buying products. At the same time, our educational performance, compared to other countries whose students did not work–and went to school more days and longer hours–began to fall. Many students dropped themselves from the college-prep track or stopped taking honors classes or didn’t sign up for AP courses because they recognized that their jobs did not allow enough time to do the work for those programs.

    My sons were not permitted to work in high school because they already had a job. The time not spent working let them go on mission trips, participate in extracurricular activities (often a precursor of adult success) and earn National Merit Scholarships. The younger one chose a state school, and his many scholarships had him calling me each semester and asking if I needed money!! He never could have earned that much money working part-time in high school. As for work ethic, both sons found summer jobs during college and the older (now graduated) has worked steadily for years.

  • Interesting post!!
    I never had a payed job because my parents advised not to get one, but rather focus on studying or doing chores and other things around the house(in the summer vacation). And to get a job right now would mean do add another activity to my hectic schedule, so I guess it wouldn’t help much, but it would make more tired and less capable to focus on priorities. Concerning communication skills, they should be learned in school(the teachers should make sure that their students develop them).
    I honestly prefer to focus on school and on the mission that I’m involved in(kids) because the reward will come. That’s my opinion on the subject.


  • * Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    * Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
    * Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

  • Great article, I’ve been loving reading through this blog. Great job guys!

    * Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    Well in Australia we have smaller breaks, three two week breaks and one approx two month break. I am currently working at a Christian book store and have been since October last year. It is my third job and I will be continuing working through my final year of high school. I really enjoy working, especially because the book store is such a great environment, but also because I learn a lot about interacting with people and also have a lot more financial freedom in choosing where I want to spend my money.

    * Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
    My best job is the Christian book store that I currently work at! It’s a great atmosphere with a generally lovely customer base. I’m loving the managerial staff because they realise how important school is and work around those restrictions for all the staff. I’m learning about treating people well regardless of my emotions, because customers like to feel valued, and it’s definately an attitude that I should take in to my school and home life.
    My worst job would probably be McDonald’s front counter service. I worked with them for six months when I was 15 years old. It held many useful lessons, about dealing with quite scary drunk/creepy people, and also about standing up for myself in a workplace. I am grateful for my time there, but I’m glad it wasn’t any longer!

    * Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?
    I would easily be able to pull extra shifts at my current job, and I can also baby sit, walk dogs, etc.

  • I turned 16 last July(I live in the UK so I’d finished homeschooling) and I got my first formal job in September as a kitchen assistant in a school kitchen.
    I am used to seeing surprise on peoples faces when it dawns on them that I’m really not going to college like every other young person they know, I actually do have a real job! :0!! The hours vary a lot but I work every day, monday to friday.
    Since I was about 12 I’ve had dog-walking jobs and house/pet sitting jobs for neighbours.
    I think it is really important for young people to work, earn their own living and take some responsibility.
    However, when I get older, should I ever get married I would happily give up my job and take on a new one of wife, and hopefully Mum!

  • I have not had a job job (as in salaried), but I have been looking lately. I have done housecleaning services for people, however, and made a little off that. I think if I needed to get a job to support my family, I might do cooking, custodial services, baby sitting (maybe), laundering, elementary school tutoring, and gardening services. I have looked into starting my own business (a jewelry or photography business). I’ve done some volunteer stuff, and my friends and acquaintances have told me that it’s good for a resume. I am still a young student, but I have to seek the Lord’s leading in the area of work, and I believe he wants me to get a job. Anyway, I have to fold and vacuum now.

  • I live in Bahrain and there is basicly no jobs whatsoever for people above the age of 16. The jobs that in the states that are given to the teens such as working at fast food resturants are given to the Bahrainis.
    Although this summer I have been given the privilage to serve as an intern at Hill & Knowlton. Its not paying and you spend 9 hours a day doing it, but its tottaly worth it. While many of my friends are watching TV. I am working at Hill & Knowlton and conquering fears such as calling high society places and newspapers around the gulf.
    I don’t know if you’d consider this a job. But last summer I baked scones to get enough money for a summer dance intensive I was going to.
    Both “jobs” are differnt but very entertaining.
    Sadly if my parents were to get injured there wouldn’t be much I could do but bake things.

  • Have I had a job?Kind of, not really.I teach piano to three students, but none of them pay.I’m just starting out, so I use them as my “guinea pigs”.And if I had to support my family,I could get paying piano students.I could also do cleaning,laundering,cooking,baking,baby sitting,or elementary tutoring.I have been volunteering at a large local food pantry for about four years now.

  • We’re a gaggle of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with useful information to work on. You have performed a formidable activity and our entire community might be grateful to you.

  • Sorry that I’m not able to help in this concern although I look forward for any progress. Just want to let you know that I follow your project with big interest from Switzerland. I’m also heading towards more sustainability and self-sufficience (and blogging about it, “unfortunately” in German). BTW: saw your interview on Global Swadeshi, which gave me great insight.

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  • The way I see it with the ever changing news its hard to keep up to date on current facts. Most of these commenters arent taking into effect the change of the global economy and how much of a different it has on news technologies / medical growth / economic / political issues. But anyways nice read, defiantly enjoyed your post. Found your blog on google search engines btw… most people always wonder how people are finding them.

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  • *Did you have a job this summer?
    Yes. I babysit every once in a while and I’m currently taking care of my neighbor’s alpacas while they are away. I also have another part time job watching a little boy with down syndrom. (it it fun, but also very hard because I have to have a ”teacher” mode all the time with him…. teaching him how to do things himself.)
    *Tell us about your best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experiance.
    I haven’t really had a ”best” or a ”worst” job; I’ve honestly enjoyed everything that I’ve done so far. I like working with little kids and also animals!
    *If (God forbid) one of your parent’s was injured and unable to work for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?
    I can crochet, bake, babysit or nanny, train dogs (I’m currently training a Guiding Eyes pup), teach piano lessons, or get a job that has to do with organizing. (I love to organize things… like when I go to khols, I organize the shelves. 🙂

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  • Hi. I just purchased your book “Do Hard Things” a few months ago. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. It is a very well written book, and it hit me right between the eyes. Also I am finding your blog very interesting! I like this particular article.

    Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?

    I didn’t have a job this summer because honestly the thought never crossed my mind-and I was actively involved in 4-H and had to visit a college campus.

    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?

    I can’t really answer this question because I’ve never really had a job…

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?

    I am really good with animals-horses especially, I have been told that I am a good writer and am very well organized, I am currently learning Spanish, and know basic French, I have people tell me that I am gentle, patient, kind, and good with little kids; I have a tendency to write down things that are important at meetings and group discussions; I can work with computers to some extent; I am a quick learner; and I have also (surprisingly) had my youth group leader tell me that I have some leadership skills!! This last surprised me because I am considered a very shy person, and I have a hard time communicating verbally with other teens and little kids. However, I have noticed that when I have to do a speech, the people in the room talk at first, but if I raise my voice, the audience quiets down and listens-surprisingly! I have had people tell me that I am good at speeches-I don’t think so-I start sweating just walking to the front of the room to do the speech! All of this I guess leads to my family’s ranch-if my mom were unable to work, I would have to do all the record keeping and office work-in other words be a sort of secretary-and I am extremely awkward around people!!

  • One of the most helpful things for a home business owner is a group of peers who can offer input and advice. Take the initiative to pull your own network together if no appropriate one exists. The people don’t have to be in an identical industry, but they should have the same motivation and drive that you do.

  • Did you have a job this summer? Why or why not?
    I babysit pence a month and may now be babysitting once a week.

    Tell us about the best (or worst) job you’ve ever had. What did you learn from the experience?
    Well this is my first so I can’t really say yet

    Hypothetical Situation: If (God forbid) one of your parents was injured and unable to work and you were forced to help provide for your family, what skills do you have that could help generate an income?
    Probably not, it’s kind of weird because its as if my mom is discouraging me from getting a job anywhere else because she says she doesn’t want me stuck at a fast food restaurant or a convienant store.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →