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What can a teen learn from working at a concession stand?

My wife and I volunteered to work at our boy’s high school concession stand this weekend to fund our boys’ activities and just to help out. Doing this reminded me of all my high school and college jobs. Looking back, I definitely had to work way too much to prioritize school, much less any kind of social life, but doing this kind of job does teach teens valuable lessons:

  1. Customer Service, Sales & Interacting With The Public
    1. Regardless of the career choice, improving communication skills will help you succeed. 
      1. The goal is improvement and experience, not perfection. 
        1. I have two boys, one introvert and one extrovert. The introvert is a long way off from being playful with the customers and upselling. But he can help take orders, practice making eye contact, and ask …… is your day going? But most importantly, he can get used to making mistakes and feeling awkward. That it’s not only ok, but is required to learn and grow. 
  2. Multitasking 
    1. When I think about all the memory aids I see advertised to help the mind stay strong in old age, working in the service industry does this and more. 
  3. Under Pressure
    1. It’s not only a great song by Queen and David Bowie; being able to function under pressure is a part of life. 
  4. Dealing With Unreasonable People
    1. People are unreasonable, selfish, and demanding. That will not change when they get older. Clients will be unreasonable. Bosses will be unreasonable. You can’t fire every client and quit every job the second they do something they shouldn’t; being able to deal with them, provide service, and still insist on a level of mutual respect is how you succeed in life. And no one is perfect all the time. Bosses, clients, friends, and family all deserve second chances. 
  5. Doing Math In Your Head And Making Change
    1. We all have calculators; they make life easier and more efficient. But being able to do a certain amount of math in your head and count back change can make you even more efficient and is something you will actually use in real life. I also found it very helpful when dealing blackjack as a part-time job or playing non-electronic darts.

And remember, if they have earned income, they can make a Roth IRA contribution! Checkout out Roth IRA for Kids post.

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