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Paul Diamond Blow is a musician, spoken word artist, punk rock star, kung fu master, and part time Space Commander living in Seattle, Washington. Blow is a frequent contributor to the Seattle Sinner magazine and performs regularly in the Pacific Northwest rock club circuit. His book Tales From Outer Space is out now.
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The Best (fun and Easy) Part Time Jobs for Teens
Looking for a Good Part Time or Summer Job? Here Are the Best Jobs for Teens
by Paul Ace Diamond "Huggy" Blow
So you're 16-18 years old and you're looking for your first "real" job, or at least an after-school or summer job to make some cash and give you some work experience and future job references? Here's my list of the best part time jobs for teens. I'm not talking about babysitting or paper routes, I'm talking a job that a teenager with no work experience can realistically get and that will look good on a resume. Most of these are part time jobs or summer jobs, but they are, in my opinion, the best jobs available for teenagers with little or no actual work experience. By "best jobs" I mean fun and easy jobs, jobs that won't work you too hard and that have some extra perks.
Now first off, let me tell you what kind of job you should avoid: dishwasher! You do not want to be a dishwasher at a restaurant... a dish washing job at a restaurant is an easy job to get, yes, but they will work the heck out of you and washing dishes is no fun at all. I've had a couple dish washing jobs myself when I was a young teen and I lasted one day at one gig and a week at the other. That's all I could take... It was dirty, hard work and it is no fun at all washing other peoples dirty dishes and mopping floors. Another job to avoid: fast food restaurants (such as McDonalds, Burger King, etc) mainly because they too will work the heck out of you, the work is fast paced and not fun, and the only real perk is free burgers and fries and we all know that eating too much fast food is not healthy.
Now then, here are the best fun-and-easy part time and summer jobs available for teenagers:
1) Movie theatre: I love movies and hot-buttered popcorn. Don't you? Of course you do, and at a movie theatre you can get paid to watch movies. Sure, you don't get paid for sitting in the theatre watching the flicks, but you can watch free movies in your free time and get your friends in for free (maybe). Heck, you can slide me a few free passes while you're at it. The easiest job at the movie theatre is taking tickets or helping seat movie-going folk. How easy is that? Super easy, my friends. You may have to work at the concession counter, but that's not too bad as there are not too many things on the menu -- just your basic popcorn, soda, and candy. Movie theatres hire a lot of teenagers so this job is a good pick for your first job.
2) Pizza joint: I also love pizza, don't you love pizza? What honest to gosh zit-faced teenager doesn't love pizza? If I was a teenager again looking for a part time job I would go to the nearest Dominos or Pizza Hut or other take-out pizza joint and apply for a job. I mean, how hard is it to make pizza? Not too hard at all -- you toss the dough a little bit, spread on the sauce, sprinkle on the cheese and toppings, slide it in the over and that's it! Easy as pie... pizza pie, that is. Not to mention I'm sure you get all the pizza you can stand to eat, you'll never go hungry for pizza again. The only downside is that if you eat too much "za" you may get sick of it, or gain some unwanted weight. If baking pizzas isn't your thing and you have a driver's license and a car you can get a job delivering pizzas. Delivering pizzas you still get all the "za" you can eat plus you get tips! Now that's a good gig for an unexperienced teenager.
3) All Ages Concert venue: If you love music, working at an all ages concert venue in your town could be a good part time job for you. These venues have jobs selling or taking tickets, working the concession stand, working security, or general labor (setting up for each show and cleaning up afterward). This would also be a good job if you've got your own young band as you may be able to get your band in the venue to play some shows and definitely a great job for any teenage hipsters who love live music and want to be part of the music scene, not to mention you get into the shows for free! Most all ages venues have shows on Friday and Saturday nights, so this would be a good part time job.
4) Lifeguard: This is a great summer job for responsible teens who love the beach. Yes, you get to hang out at the beach all day, wear a cool life guard hat, and yell at little kids with a bullhorn "Hey you kids -- no rough housing!" Seriously though, this is a very serious job that pays well and you will learn some valuable swimming and life-saving skills. Plus you get to hang out at the beach. But again, this is an important job for responsible teens -- you just may actually have to dive in the water to save someone's life. No slackers need apply! Summer time lifeguard jobs, I hear, pay pretty well and you can sign up to be trained for free and get certified. This job also will look great on a resume.
5) the Zoo: I always thought it would be cool to work at the zoo. I love the zoo -- I love the animals and the outdoors and I love hanging out at the zoo. True, if you're a teenager with no work experience the job you're most likely to get at the zoo is a summer job working at the concession stand but there may be other seasonal opportunities such as landscaping or general labor. If you've got a zoo in your town and you love animals and nature this would be a cool place to work, and an added perk is you can hang out there for free in your free time.
6) Temp agencies: Another way to go for part time or summer work is to apply with a temp agency. A temp agency will look at your skills (you've probably got computer skills, as most teens do these days) and they can hook you up with part time or short term work for various companies. Now, there will be a lot of competition as many adults also go through temp agencies for work, but I'm sure the temp agencies will have some work for you that most adults may reject, such as entry level warehouse jobs, etc.. The beauty of working through a temp agency is that if you take an assignment and you don't like it, you can "quit" that job and ask the temp agency for something else...
7) Retail jobs: If none of the other jobs I've listed appeal to you, there's always retail work. You know, working at the mall or at the local Target or Best Buy. These stores (especially Target) hire a lot of unexperienced but eager-to-work teens. I personally have never worked retail in a store or shop, as I prefer to work behind the scenes, but if you are good with people and trustworthy with a cash register this could be a job for you. An added perk of working retail is that you'll probably get an employee discount on merchandise, so choose a store or shop that sells things that interest you. If you love music get a job in a CD or music store, if you love clothes and fashion get a job at a clothing boutique, if you love animals get a job at a pet store... you get the picture!
8) Other oddball jobs: These are actual jobs that I've personally worked at when I had no skills to talk about. I once worked at a place called "Zipsort" sorting mail by zipcode (paid minimum wage plus a bonus for speed), I worked for many years at the local newspaper (the Seattle times) on Friday and Saturday nights stuffing the comics and advertisement inserts into the Sunday papers (the pay was great for a part time job), and I also worked as a non-union longshoreman unloading boats from Alaska (this was part time, a couple days a week, but it made me strong as heck and paid pretty well.) Who knows... maybe there are some oddball jobs such as these in your town.
There you have it... those are the best part time and summer jobs available for teenagers. Here's one more tip -- when applying for a job or going in for a job interview dress up a little bit, be polite, be courteous, and be on time. Do this and you will do fine. Happy job hunting!