Teen Jobs Are More Work Than School

May 29, 2013

Teen Jobs Are MoreWork Than School

Summer jobs are a gateway to adulthood.  Besides putting a little spending money in ateen’s pockets, the opportunity to have a job is a great way for young adultsto get a taste of the real world, learn responsibility, and shape theirfutures.  The typical summer jobs –babysitting, lawn work, flipping burgers – have given way to all sorts of newopportunities…and a rash of scams that take advantage of first-time workers.  How can you help your children pick a jobthat will be a positive experience?


Parents should be involved with their children’s first jobs,especially in the selection process. Whether you’re checking the paper or cruising websites, you need to becareful.  Con men have infiltrated thewant ads, and you should be on the lookout for postings that seem too good tobe true.  Sadly, the sort of jobs mostschool-aged workers are qualified for are exactly the sort of ads that ascammer will place, so you need to be cautious.


Be on the lookout for “management training” ads that targetyoung drivers and promise advancement and daily pay, especially if commissionedsales are involved.  While some salesopportunities may be legitimate, others prey on inexperienced workers who don’tknow better.  The BBB ran into a scam afew years ago in which a company brought in students to sell perfume productson the street.  In some cases, themanagers would drop off students in neighborhoods or would drive them far outof town and turn them loose with products. With the loose instruction that they would be charged $8 per bottle andwould keep whatever they made over that amount, the youngsters learned quicklythat door-to-door sales can be difficult, some towns are strict about issuinglicenses to vendors, and that the drivers demanded payment for transportingthem across the city and back.  Manyspent days working hard with nothing to show for it.  Worse, they were never hired as actualemployees, so there was no work record or taxes withheld on their cashbusinesses.  The more successful amongthe students were promised storefront businesses and required to set asideportions of their daily earnings to a building fund that appears to have gonestraight into the pockets of their mangers. 


It’s true that the marketplace has changed a lot in the pastfive or ten years, and that more young adults are better prepared and may havean aptitude for working online.  Thereare dozens of bogus work offers floating around the internet that could waste asummer and do more to cost teens money than earn any.  Monitor e-mails and talk about the sort ofwork your son or daughter is looking into doing.  A typical scam that traps adults and studentsalike is sold under any number of titles and job descriptions.  If the employer is asking you to accept andcash checks and return any portion of the funds, it’s almost certainly ascam.  They may say it’s a producttesting job or a “shopper’s test” – you’re sent a check, told to cash it andsend a large portion of the money back via a wire service to test how well themoney is handled by the service – but the check is no good.  By the time you’re notified that the check isbogus, you’ve already forwarded the funds and you’re left holding the bag.  It would be easy for a student to think thescam is a golden opportunity.


What about data entry? Many teens have access to computers and some have their own laptops, soads promising to pay for simple data work might be appealing.  Don’t fall for them.  Real medical transcription jobs requiretraining and the pay is often reported to be ridiculously low.  Con men may offer to sell what’s supposed tobe a foolproof program, but once they get the cash, you get nothing inreturn. 


It’s also important to check out the reputation of employersbefore getting too deeply involved with them. Some online advertisers have used the information gathered fromapplications to steal the identities of applicants.  Don’t be fooled by fancy websites oruntraceable testimonials.  Check thecompany out with organizations like the BBB. Sometimes, even a Google search for the company’s name will reveal allsorts of complaints.


So where can teens find summer work?  Sometimes, the best way to earn the mostmoney is to treat the job like it won’t disappear when school starts again.  Just be sure the teens know what they’regetting into and take a hand in checking out the employer before your son ordaughter makes a commitment.   .