Sunday, September 28, 2014

You're hired

I love it when teens get jobs. For money.
A teen with a job can buy her own hot lunch. She can buy all the makeup she wants. She can get fake nails. She can go on a spending spree at Forever 21.
A teen with a job means Mom is no longer the bank, and we moms love it when we stop being the bank. Last week I started with $17 in cash in my wallet. At the end of the week, I had $15. It’s amazing how much money you can save when you’re not handing out dollar bills like Kleenex.
The Huffman girls have had a variety of jobs. They’ve worked at toy stores, chocolate shops and gourmet food shops. They’ve walked dogs, babysat kids and houses and watered plants.
One Huffman girl got a job at a cupcake shop. What a cushy job. She doesn’t actually make the cupcakes. Sometimes she cuts little flowers out of fondant and puts them on top of the cupcakes, but she doesn’t stir batter or pull heavy trays in and out of a hot industrial oven. She simply sells cupcakes to tourists who spend a reported “forever” deciding on which $3 morsel to buy. For this, she gets paid more money per hour than I was making in 2004 as a reporter.
Getting a teen a job seems pretty straightforward to us moms: You see a “help wanted” sign at the movie theater/Kohl’s/McDonald’s. You tell the teen. They apply. Hopefully they get the job. Mom, teen, FICA and Social Security are all happy.
But some teens have very particular ideas about which job they think is worthy of them. One Huffman teen once said she didn’t want a job where anyone she knew would see her. Another teen didn’t want to make coffee or fast food.
That’s fine, I said. Next time your car needs gas or we get the cellphone bill, let’s talk about your requirements for an employer to hire you. And yeah, I did say it like that.
Earlier this summer, one Huffman girl went job hunting. She came back an hour later.
I filled out an application, she said, as if she was done for the day.
Keep going, I said. And if anyone asks you about cleaning the bathroom, say yes.
A friend told me story about her teen who, when filling out an online job application for Starbucks, wrote that he would not clean the bathroom.
Add indignant snort here.
Us grownups know very well that when you’re filling out a job application and they ask you about cleaning the bathroom, you say yes. Yes, I can clean. Yes, I can mop. Yes, I can take the trash to the smelly industrial compactor machine. Yes, yes, yes.
I’ve cleaned bathrooms at jobs. I’ve cleaned bathrooms at jobs where my husband owned the business. Teens, at some point in your employment history, you will have to clean a bathroom. If you want that job, you will clean that toilet. Just make sure you wash your hands after you’re done.

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