I was recently on my roof with friends/neighbors. As my daughter will be home for the foreseeable future because her school has gone virtual (this is a whole other blog post) someone at the table asked:

“Will your daughter be getting a part time job while she is home?”

To which person A replied- “She’s middle class and doesn’t need the money. She shouldn’t work because there are other people who actually need the money.”

Person B responded- “That’s stupid. Should your family earnings dictate whether or not you bring in a paycheck?”

Person C- “Is it fair for a middle class kid, who probably looks better on a resume, to take the job away from someone who needs experience?”

Person D- “Is it fair to penalize someone just because their parents make enough money to cover basics and have a little disposable income? Isn’t a work ethic something we should all have. And why should the parents provide everything? What’s wrong with a kid earning the money for what they want?”

This evolved into internships. My daughter has a unpaid internship for the summer, and is presently interviewing for both paid and unpaid internships for the fall. The conversation was much the same:

E: No one should take an unpaid internship because it shows the companies that everyone should get paid for work.

F: Middle class kids should only take paid internships because it’s unfair that some kids need the money

G: Middle class kids should only take unpaid internships leaving the paid ones for those who need the money.

You see you probably need an 8 sided coin to express the differing opinions on this subject…

So, does being between the ages of 16 and 22 and middle class preclude you from getting paid for work?

Should parents with disposable income provide the material wants of their offspring?

Should unpaid internships exist?

Should anyone who wants to work, whether paid or unpaid, just be able to do what they want with their time and energy?

Discuss:

 

67 thoughts on “Who Gets a Job

  1. I grew up in a comfortable home and we were all expected to work every summer as teen-agers beginning at 16. The notion that middle class kids shouldn’t work because they don’t need to is one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard. This is like someone from a wealthy family not seeking a job because his/her parents have money. Just shows that people will debate almost anything.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I worked as well as a teenager. It was totally expected that when I turned 16 I would have some type of employment. But the argument now that middle class kids are taking things away from others is perplexing. It’s like no matter what they do, someone is going to complain. I couldn’t believe I was listening to these opinions on this subject…especially as none of these people have children…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, none of them have children! No wonder they are experts. (I knew exactly how children should behave in church until I had my own.) Applying for a job is no one else’s business other than the person themselves and their parents if they are still living at home. “Taking away” another person’s job is a negative argument. Businesses should be open to employing the person best suited for the job. That doesn’t relieve them of the opportunity to give someone who has a lighter resume a chance to tackle a job based on attitude. Sometimes you just have to make a lame excuse in an effort to be polite, walk away, and pose the interesting question on your blog. Wait! Now I’m stepping up on my soapbox. What gives them the right to judge the financial status of any other person? Someone may look and act middle class–whatever that would be. They may live in a certain neighborhood. Do these people actually know your income or your expenses? Maybe you are supporting a grandchild. Perhaps you have a parent who needs longterm healthcare. You could be undergoing draining health issues yourself. If your parents lived through the Depression or other difficult times, your personal approach to finances and work may be totally different than that of someone who never lacked the basics as a child. Stepping off the soapbox. Thanks for a good discussion, and I’m so glad you were social distancing on the roof or we could be discussing whose governor is worse.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know exactly what you’re saying. People have very grandiose opinions on how others should lead their lives, with little thought behind the headline. It’s easy to make a blanket statement, but nothing is one dimensional. I don’t know how often people say something without thinking of the other side. I posed this today because I’d never thought if the things that were stated. I needed to hear other viewpoints and opinions

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As usual, a very interesting topic.

    It is disappointing, for sure, that schools are going virtual, for the time being, and, of course, we all aware for the reasons for that.

    I also grew up in a comfortable home, and definitely was expected to have a paid summer job, beginning at age 16.

    I’m extremely grateful to my parents for the values that they taught me.

    I agree that the idea that middle class kids shouldn’t have to work because they don’t ‘need ‘ to, is a weak argument. 🌷🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I got a job at 16 and so did our kids. Why shouldn’t the kids be allowed to have their own money and why should the parents be obligated to pay for everything for the kids? When mine wanted the latest gadget or those $50 shoes I’d tell them that they could buy it with their own money. Food and shelter is what parents should provide (IMO) but as for the rest, let them learn what the real world is like. As far as internship goes, I think they should all be paid to some degree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought there was an issue with anyone wanting to work or get experience, paid or not. Life is tough enough without everyone putting caveats on things….but that’s just me. I wanted to hear what others thought

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paid employment, even on a casual basis, is so good on so many levels including as a learning tool to become responsible and
    independent adults. Pat on the back to any young person who gets off their backside to enhance their employment and life opportunities regardless of socioeconomic status

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Wow! I never thought about this from so many different directions before. Good points! Should the well off kid take the paid internship? If that’s what he is interested in by all means yes. Family financial situations should not dictate paid or unpaid internships. Their qualifications should decide this and how much they are willing to seek these internships out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am certain that one of the most impressive bullet points on my daughter’s “resume” her senior year of college was the three years she worked as a hostess at a restaurant off campus. If a kid wants to work they should work- that simple.. shouldn’t matter who they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was always my philosophy. I never considered that people “shouldn’t” work. I just always thought that people should do something. Paid, unpaid, doesn’t matter. Just take an interest and do something

      Like

  7. 100%.. one of my daughters worked at the deli at our local grocery store..awful hours, dishpan hands, cranky customers, crankier boss..changed her entire life for the better and gave her a whole new perspective on many, many things.. probably also why she’s a vegan!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a hard one, I can see both points of view. Is it fair that someone who does not need the money take the job when someone who does not have funds needs that job, well it’s not but its also not right that the person who has funds should not be allowed the work experience. Thinking about the point as a whole isn’t the whole of life like this, people who have very often get more while those who have little get little. It’s just life

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My son had to do an internship as part of his Master’s degree, but it is impossible to find a social work internship that is paid, but it was required to do one. My daughter had to do internships every year for her undergrad and they were all paid. I had to do internships as part of my studies and I was paid. I know young people that had done paid internships as part of theirs. I think it depends upon the business. Yes, I understand that people need the pay more than my family, but there was also the point that they maybe needed to pay rent. My kids were taught that they needed to work for what they wanted, just because we could support them didn’t mean that they were the best person for the job. Isn’t that the most important factor?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’s a lot of people trying to dictate how others should live, and an incessant need for fairness. People want band aids instead of actually fixing issues. But that’s just my thought

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I do think that no matter your income level, those in their teens and early 20’s should work and hold personal responsibility for at least some portion of the things they need/use. I’ve seen the possible results in parents providing everything for their kids without them needing to work for any of it. That being said, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way and isn’t possible. My son that is getting ready to go to college hasn’t had a job yet. We have a policy that our kids are supposed to be at least partially responsible for things like car insurance once they are driving, but it seems that every summer something has come up that has prevented that. He was supposed to get a job this summer, but that absolutely wasn’t happening. He has still done his part in earning the grades that got him scholarships to pay his portion of what we expected from him for college and was part of his need to work. The concept of unpaid internships bothers me. If you are putting in time and effort to do a job, you should get paid for it. Sure, you get to add it to a resume and you gain experience so you get that kind of payment. But that scenario is kine of like expecting an artist or a business to work for free in exchange for “exposure”. The payment isn’t equal to the work provided.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t love the idea of unpaid internships, but I’d rather someone get experience in a field before they commit to it. Or, like Parks said, her kids needed to have internships as part of their degree,(my friends daughter has to do one in order to get her psych degree) and then there’s the train of thought, is it bette4 to have an unpaid intern so that a full time employee can make more money? No easy answer

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmmm, I’ll probably have a better comment when I think better about this. But, while reading, I had conflicting answers. One, I think that responsibility has to begin at a young age, when teenagers don’t need the money to support a family. For one, a 16 year old working part time to buy the ‘unnecessary’ things he/she wants, and experience the pride of their own labor. But, on the other hand, I think if someone doesn’t need the job, at least for the time of the pandemic, they should leave it to someone else. And when I say someone else, I mean an adult who lost his/her job and is supporting a household.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Even rich kids need responsibilities. If you take aside the pandemic, then 16 year old should definitely get a part time job, even if it’s once or twice a week. I know rich people who make their kids work for spending money, or work in their family businesses for their allowances. Come to Bill Gates and all those blings and he’s leaving each kid a flat 10 mil only. granted, that’s a lot for the likes of me and most, but for people who are one of the richest in the world, that’d feel like pocket change to them.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I have worked since I was 14, and pretty much never stopped. It taught me how to manage money, time, responsibilities. These are important life skills and I think even more so for the middle-class kids who might be tempted to take what they have for granted. Work done well no matter what the job also gives someone a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem for doing your best, and pride in your achievement. I think working also sets a pattern for one’s life in that it helps you understand/believe that you can take care of your own needs. If we all understood how to live independently because we’ve done this from an early age I think the world would be a better place. C

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hmm… when someone asked if your daughter will be getting a job, and you answered, then the correct response (no matter what your answer) of everyone else on the rooftop patio should have been “Oh that’s nice.” What your daughter does, or does not do, does not need to be judged by the neighbors or by anyone else.

    Unpaid internships are a great way to get experience. Not sure if they are really “fair” – but they are a reality and they can lead to future employment. I also firmly believe that internships while in school (either paid or unpaid) are HUGELY helpful in getting a job once one graduates.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your daughter is a driven young woman keen with a strong work ethic, in happier times she’d probably want to work, however you are right, everyday over here in the UK thousands are being made unemployed…….. the fallout truly chills me the bone 😦 .

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Teachers who go through a college of education all do unpaid internships. I’ve never thought they were fair because they do exactly as is expressed-they teach the intern from the beginning that what they’re doing is not valued.

    As far as getting a job/paid internship, I think whoever qualifies, should get one. It shouldn’t depend on social class.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind the unpaid internship. There are many fields where students need to intern and some companies just don’t have the resources. My daughter did intern at a non profit this summer, and she did learn about grant writing and marketing. Experience is experience. But I get your point

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Both of my kids had jobs in high school and either jobs or internships through college. My son is getting his Masters and has an unpaid, undemanding internship which is introducing him to key people in his field. Working while young is key to learning how to be a good worker and also learning what you do and do not like to do. His unpaid summer college internship was key to winning a prestigious paid job in Asia for a year. You never know where these things lead, but we have always emphasized that work is not optional.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have a problem with unpaid internships, because, like you, all work is experience no matter what. But we’ve gotten to the point where we all have an opinion about how everyone else should do things

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I think you need new friends – LOL. Too much energy spent arguing/discussing if a child should work?? This is insane. Our job is to teach our children to support themselves.

    Hopefully, we have given them enough drive that they are continually striving for success during a good economy and/or a bad one. THAT is the GOAL… middle class does not play into this, working hard and taking pride in oneself – THAT is the focus. Nothing is for FREE to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair, more neighbors than friends. And yes, I just sat there and thought really…you have opinions this strong on the subject? But nothing really surprises me anymore…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughter and I talked about two people we know who have jobs, work remote, and complain that they have to do “work” at home. Can you imagine? They are getting a pay check and are not appreciative. ONE was upset that he had to log in from 8-5 on computer, because company knows if you are logged in or not. He wanted to “sleep in,” I mean he is working at home. Another one needed to do an excel spreadsheet report, he’s not good at excel, instead of THINKING, I don’t want to lose my job, let me figure this out …

        He complained that he had to do this report and wasn’t even “trying” to learn how to do the report. AMAZING — so, people have jobs and should be fired, so that people who really “want” to work, get the job. THIS does not have to do with middle class, it has to do with work ethic! Stop talking to the neighbors, instead go for a coffee, work on your book, and continue to raise a wonderful passionate driven daughter. My opinion. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My husband has had so many problems with some of the employees in his department working from home. Half are stellar and keep pushing along….others lose their charging chords, forget about meetings, etc…..FYI…lots of people would love those jobs….I don’t know if people realize that it’s going work, not going to fun

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Absolutely, remote is showing managers WHICH people are dedicated and which ones are not. I feel for your husband, it’s frustrating to have employees, in this economy, not appreciative of their pay check…

        Proud of your coaching and your daughter’s desire to find an internship, getting real work experience allows her to see if that is the type of work she wants to do. I thought the laws had changed and internships had to be paid… maybe not in all states.

        At any rate, it’s during tough times that the survivors/hard workers have an opportunity to shine. Doors can open to those who are driven. Wishing your daughter great success!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you. I’m not sure about rules for paid and unpaid internships. However you look at it, paid or unpaid, they’re still hard to get. I know the one my daughter did had over two hundred applicants for ten spots, so yeah….

        Liked by 1 person

      5. What was meant to be, will be…

        My daughter is interviewing for a Finance type of job. She has had many informational interviews while the company waits to see if they will have an open job req in September. THEN formal interviews with same people would start.

        It’s tough… but even before COVID jobs were competitive. Timing and luck is involved with this… let’s see how life unfolds. Good Luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. You have some astonishing neighbors/friends. I’ve never understood this idea of people “taking jobs” from other people. Utter nonsense, whether you’re talking about young adults or immigrants. People who want to work and are motivated are more likely to get employed. I think it’s vital for children to learn to earn money and develop skills that will keep them employed. I think all internships should pay at least a stipend if not a regular hourly wage. Just because someone is new and learning doesn’t mean their labor has no value.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think everyone just has a firm opinion about how everyone else should be doing things. But it’s reached a point where it’s ridiculous. To hear such a wide variety of comments based off a simple “is your daughter getting a job” is ridiculous

      Liked by 2 people

  19. My daughter did an unpaid internship last fall. She was doing one in spring but then COVID-19 happened. She graduated in spring and was supposed to have a summer job lined up, but then that was cancelled. She has just started a more basic job for now–probably will be a while before she gets her dream job.
    My son will be a freshman in college soon. Currently has a foodservice job. He rotates through a few assignments. Some nights he is washing dishes. He has shown a lot of growth through this current job–the sort of growth you can’t experience in school.
    I compare unpaid internships to things like clinical rotations for nursing students—a part of learning that you don’t get paid for. Sometimes in clinical rotations I was doing more work than learning–like making beds—and I still had to pay tuition to have those experiences.
    I don’t get the line of thinking that middle class kids shouldn’t get jobs—-so many assumptions there. We’ve mostly been middle class since we have kids and definitely went through some financial crunches where there was no safety net for us—-uncovered health expenses, furnace stops working. I have worked through the whole pandemic–but I am sure there are many who have experienced great financial strain during the past few months.
    My daughter would be happy to have a short term unpaid internship right now if it meant it would help her getting a dream job in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right…unpaid internships are similar to job rotations for certain degrees or professions. Technically, you pay to go to school, you don’t get paid. All things are a learning experience.

      Like

  20. Wow! Interesting dialogues. I have no problem with unpaid internships as I did clinical nursing and never got any paid for that it was basically just getting experience. I don’t think it matters what your income status is or your parents income status anyone that wants to work and wants to take a job should be able to without any repercussion. Earning your own money is empowering and I also believe working as a teenager is good for kids. I detassled corn every summer throughout high school to buy things that my parents didn’t think I needed!! Such as a 10 Speed bike, even though my parents had bought me a 3 speed
    a couple years ago! This was 1979 or 80 and the folks didn’t think a girl would need that many speeds 🙄so would only buy me a 3 speed!!!!!! I got a job and bought myself the 10 speed bike I wanted!! It had nothing to do with what my parents income was…it had everything to do with empowering myself!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not believe the discussion I was witnessing, because in a million years I never thought there was an issue with any of this. But I guess there isn’t anything that can be turned into an argument

      Liked by 1 person

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