Leigh still remembers her first job. It was the summer after eighth grade, and her father hired her in his medical office to help with filing (everything was still on paper back then). Somehow, Leigh didn’t realize there was a difference between “balance due” and “no balance,” and she filed every single patient visit card in the “no balance due” section. That fall Leigh was enjoying her first year of high school while the regular office staff sorted out the mess she created.
As summer approaches, offices are filling up with the high-school and college-age kids of co-workers and bosses hired as interns and temps. It should be a win-win situation. Offices often need more help over the summer to accommodate vacations, and students need to make as much money as possible in their limited time. Plus, working together can give parents and their adult, or almost-adult, children some much needed bonding opportunities. One woman we talked to has fond memories of lazy afternoons playing gin rummy with her dad when he hired her in his one-person office.
But there can be problems too. Laura remembers transferring every single call at her father’s office to her father, because she couldn’t figure out the phone system. Clearly not an efficient way to get business done. The office lunch room becomes pretty uncomfortable when it includes a dad yelling at his son for the way he spoke to his mother that morning (true story). Opening up entry-level, or even unpaid positions, only to the children of employees can also perpetuate a lack of diversity in an office, and even an industry. None of this even comes close to the problems that can ensue when the hired kid doesn’t do a particularly good job. It can not only harm the workers struggling to figure out if they should cover or report the teen, but it can also negatively impact the reputation of the parent.
If you’re considering hiring your teen this summer, or your boss has already done so, check out this article with some great suggestions on how to pull off the balancing act.
Want to know the strangest story we heard about hiring your teen? When a woman we’ll call Sharon was 13, her father was a government scientist who needed a lot of urine samples for his lab. He left the collection cups in the family bathroom and paid Sharon and her friends $1 per sample. Definitely a new take on bringing your work home with you.
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If you’re looking for a great job that doesn’t require you to tell your dad where you were all night, check out our job board.