Does the thought of going on a job interview cause anxiety to swell in your chest and a lump to form in the back of your throat? Does balancing homework, sports, family and a part-time gig send your brain into a tizzy?
You’re not alone.
Many teens looking for their first job are worried they’ll have difficulty finding employment, and when they do, that they’ll have a hard time maintaining it. The Fiscal Times reported last year that 80 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 are worried about finding a good job, and 50 percent fear that in the future they’ll be worse off financially than their parents.
Practically speaking, if you’re worried about the job market post-college, your best bet is to have part-time employment on your resume early on so you can enter the workforce with some experience.
There are different schools of thought as to whether or not students should work while balancing the demands of school (it really boils down to a personal decision), but there’s no reason why you can’t start working over the summer. Though it’s only January, you can start narrowing down what jobs interest you and where you’d like to apply. For instance, if you live up North, water parks tend to start training in April or May, but begin hiring as early as January for the summer season. So there’s no time to wait if that’s something that interests you.
Talk to friends and older siblings who may have held a job at a place that you’re interested in and ask for a written recommendation or have them put in a good word for you.
If you have no idea what you’d like to do, consider my list of top 10 part-time jobs for teens. It’s by no means an all-inclusive list, but it can help you get started:
While the work isn’t always guaranteed, you have the ability to set your own schedule, taking and turning down opportunities depending on your homework load, sport schedules and other obligations. Plus, according to Care.com, babysitters average $10 per hour—well above the minimum wage.
- Theme Park Attendant
You’re out in the sun all day, surrounded by employees your own age, and typically get free admission and other benefits which can come in hand on your “off” days. Theme parks hire for a variety of positions: greeters, admissions, ride attendants, food service, gift shop, and more. The choices are endless.
- Grocery Store Employee
Your local marketplace is a good place to start job hunting. They’re used to working with student schedules throughout the year, making this a good option post-summer, and have flexible working hours.
- Food Services/Waitstaff
This is a job you can carry with you well into college. You’ll learn how to work in a fast-paced environment, maintain responsibility for large sums of cash (your math skills will get tested, for sure!), and you’ll enhance your multitasking skills. Plus, there’s opportunity to move up the longer you hold onto the job. Shift supervisor, anyone?
- Lawn Care Attendant
With a good pair of work gloves and some sun block, you’ll be good to go. Join an established organization to help with mowing, weed pulling and leaf raking, or start your own service for family and neighbors. Who knows… maybe you’ll own your own landscaping biz one day?
- Camp Counselor
You’ll learn invaluable leadership and communication skills—and get to tap into your kid-like antics, too.
- Movie Theater Admissions
If you’re a film connoisseur, this job is picture perfect. Yeah, you’ll have to put late-night hours on the weekends, but you’ll get to see the latest releases for free or at a steep discount. Just be wary of film ratings.
- Pet Sitter/Animal Shelter Employee
The perfect gig for aspiring veterinarians. Not only will you get hands-on experience that will put you ahead of the game in college, but you’ll also get to play with cute, furry critters all day. What’s not to love?
The best perk? A fabulous tan and getting paid to sit on the beach. You’ll go through some rigorous training, learn rescue and first-aid skills, and get CPR certified, which are all skills that look great on a resume. Plus, you may never even have to jump in the water.
- Ice Cream Scooper
This is, hands down, the tastiest job around. Create amazing combinations of toppings, sauces and ice creams, and have the satisfaction of sending every customer away with a smile. Bonus perk: you’ll build lean, strong arm muscles.
Regardless of whether or not you want to get a job over the summer or during the school year: pray about it. Ask God to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. He will always provide for your needs (Philippians 4:19), so set your worry aside—and trust Him.
As you start surfing the Internet for job openings and circling ads in the classifieds, intentionally place your worry, fear, and anxiety at the foot of the cross. Jesus calls us to bring every single concern before the throne, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Your Heavenly Father cares for and is concerned about each and every anxiety that plagues you.
Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
The Bible talks about money more than 800 times, and it’s the second most referenced topic in all of scripture. So don’t think for a second that Jesus is out of touch or isn’t concerned with helping you find a job. He is. Now put your best foot forward and go get one!
Add to the list above. Teens: what jobs are you planning to apply for? Adults: what jobs did you have as a teen?
 Nance-Nash, Sheryl. “Is The Bible The Ultimate Financial Guide?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 May 2012. Web. 23 Jan. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/sherylnancenash/2012/05/24/is-the-bible-the-ultimate-financial-guide/>.