Get a Job!

It's the moment you wait for all year. You've completed your last quadratic equation, spouted your last fact about the Battle of the Bulge and conjugated that last Spanish verb. The final bell has rung and now several months of freedom lay stretched out before you. Yup – summer is finally here. You can revel in doing absolutely nothing. However, if by design (or accident) you don't have any plans might we suggest looking for a job (even part-time)?

Summer jobs provide invaluable experience (and make your parents happy, very happy). And though a slow economy has, in recent years, shrunk the number of available summer jobs, there's been some growth as of late. Indeed, thousands of high school students are getting their first taste of the working world. So don't get too discouraged; instead, start pounding the pavement!

All right, so why do summer jobs actually trump your daily tanning sessions? For one, you'll be able to acquire and hone new skills. Whether it's learning how to operate a cash register, create a spreadsheet, delegate tasks or communicate with a customer, you'll start to understand how to navigate the work place. You will discover how to carry yourself in a professional environment and how to accept and take on responsibility.

Further, summer jobs are a fantastic way to test out potential academic and career interests. Think you might want to be an entrepreneur? Try getting a job with a local small business. Are you destined to become the next star of the culinary world? Start learning the ropes as you wait tables. By testing the waters in a low stakes environment, you'll begin to get a sense of where your passions might lay and what you might want out of a job and/or career in the future.

Summer jobs will also allow you some financial independence. Rather than begging mom and dad for gas money or cash to purchase that new shirt you've been eyeing, you can spend your hard earned dollars as you like. You'll experience the satisfaction of providing for yourself and your parents will enjoy the satisfaction of having a thicker wallet.

Conversely, you might learn about fiscal responsibility as well. After all your toil and sweat, you might decide you don't want to blow your money on lattes and video games. In fact, you could choose to save up for bigger and/or more important purchases like a car or a laptop for college.

Finally, as we mentioned earlier, acquiring a summer job will simply give you experience. And ultimately, employers want to see that you've shown initiative and proven yourself before. They want to hire people who have demonstrated a work ethic and recognize how to behave in an office. In other words, the more work experience you have the more attractive you'll become to companies in the future. We realize that high school is stressful and that the summer months are perfect for kicking back and unwinding. And we're certainly not condemning relaxation. However, you can still enjoy a summer that combines productivity and leisure. And in the end, we think you'll appreciate the season more.

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