Yesterday I helped Baby develop her curriculum vitae, so she can start job-hunting. She turns 15 at the end of May and will start Grade 10 around the third quarter of the school year, I think (she's on a self-paced curriculum). So she has decided that it's time to start earning money to cover all the lovely things teenagers seem to "need."
I was a bit sad having to acknowledge that my Baby is no longer a baby. But I'm also proud of her for her eagerness to make her way in the world.
No one had to prompt her to look for a part-time/weekend job. She made the decision, identified companies she wants to work for and which may also be looking to hire, did the CV (I was just an advisor on what goes into a CV) and then she emailed them to the companies' HR departments.
For a moment there I was stumped, looking at the many things job seekers are required to supply a potential employer, and which they can only provide if they have worked before. Thankfully, she has done some hospitality and entrepreneurship courses at school and has volunteered for a caterer for weddings. So she did have some practical experience to include in her CV, even if she has never had a paying job.
The benefits of encouraging Baby to work
It occured to me that some people might wonder why we encourage a child under 16 to get a job. Isn't she too young? The fact of the matter is:
1. She wants to work. She is under no overt pressure to get a job, but she is growing up in an environment she is taught to make her way in life. And no job is too lowly, as long as it pays and gives you something to add to your CV.
2. Teenagers need lots of money to stay relevant with their peers and we're not wealthy. Not even comfortable. So while we can provide her with the basics, she will have to pay most of the luxuries herself or she doesn't get them.
3. It teaches her the value of money. Starting from when she was around 8 years old, I used to give Baby all of her allowance and what we both learnt is that she was more cautious about money when she knew she was responsible for all of it and there wouldn't be any more coming. I expect she'll be even more careful and smart about money when she worked hard for it.
4. She needs to start gaining work experience early on. We've seen what happens to university graduates who finish school and have work experience. They struggle to find starter jobs, are too old and overqualified for other jobs and even when they do find something, they are at a disadvantage from competitors who have been working through high school or varsity. Then there is also the fact that they seem ill-prepared for the crap jobs, hoping that their degrees would make them exempt from having to pay their dues.
That's not going to happen to Baby. By the time she gets her degree, it will be a nice complement to her extensive work experience, so she does not enter the job market as a complete newbie. My sister and I did the same thing: I farmed her out to my working friends as an office drudge through her high school holidays and while some jobs sucked, she learnt a lot from the experience. By the time she left school and looked for a job, she had a rudimentary knowledge of creating filing systems, using computer programmes and the daily routines of an admin assistant ( of course she'd also done stints as a waitress and bartender, but she doesn't mention that in her CV:-).
5. Her time is better spent working and earning money, instead of finding what trouble she can get into. And we all know idle teenagers can easily find a lot of trouble to get into:-)
I'm still pondering the child labour laws though. Baby plans to only work weekends, so that's not too many hours a week. I don't know what the minimum age to be allowed to work is. I think it's 16? I hope not, because she'd be really bummed if she had to wait another year before she could start working.
BTW, my nephew managed to fix my computer, so now the keyboard works well, and I reinstalled Firefox. Yep, it was a virus infection that caused my technical difficulties. So I've also updated my virus protection too.
Update: A big thank you to Po, who found out that the minimum age to work is 15 and provided this link.