I spent the majority of my day teaching my seventeen year old son about Job Hunting, Resume Writing, Interviewing, & Salary Negotiations. He has been dreading the day he will graduate (this June) as he knows that he will be required to start work soon thereafter.
As we went through the various salaries and options, I could see the ‘lights’ go on in his head. We ran through the numbers of minimum wage, then $10 per hour & $15 per hour. As we calculated weekly and monthly salaries – he was clearly getting excited at how much money he could be making in a short period of time.
We also covered over-time and how it is paid at time+1/2, benefits (who pays what percentage), comp time, and employer paid schooling.
Then it was “how do we get there”. I explained that employers pay more for skills and likeability in today’s job market and are more willing to train (to a point) in regards to the actual position. I also explained how to detail skills on his resume.
We started by making a detailed list of all tools he has worked with, all machines (including those used in his household chores over the past 5 years), all computer skills and computer programs he has had experience with. WOW – he had no idea he had so many important skills! He has been fortunate enough to have worked for a couple of employers part-time, so we began his resume by listing those positions and then expanding on the skills area to include the many skills he has that most employers would find useful to their organizations.
Next we covered the cost of living expenses 1) If he were to move out and live on his own, and 2) If he were to stay here at home and pay rent etc. We covered things like: Rent (if alone and/or with roommate), Heat, Cell Phone, Car, Insurance, Food, Gas, Auto Maintenance, Entertainment etc. We detailed the approximate cost of each in both scenarios so that he could quickly see where his hard-earned dollars would be going and how quickly.
When we were finished he was excited to move forward to building his future. We also discussed College & whether or not to attend now, or after working for a few years first (which I highly advise) in order to ‘get his feet wet’ prior to deciding where he might like to further his education and work experience.
After wrapping up our discussion (I had one excited Son!), I was reflecting upon all that we had discussed and thought — I sure wish I’d have had someone explain all of this to me when I was his age…
I encourage you to spend time with your teenager(s) and ‘show them the numbers’. Here is a quick simple calculation you can use to get a general idea of Salaries for them.
Hourly wage X Hours (40 Hours per week) = Weekly Gross Salary
Weekly wage X 4.2 (average number of weeks in a month) = Monthly Gross Salary
Simple Budget: Add up Average MONTHLY Rent Cost (we figured for a studio apartment – currently about $750 per month in our area, and for a two-bedroom apartment/shared with roommate) vs $ Rent to Stay At Home + Heat + Car Payment or Maintenance + Auto Insurance + Gas + Groc/Food + Cell Phone + Entertainment.
I believe that in showing your teen the actual numbers in these calculations, it is much easier for them to form a good ‘picture’ and plan for their future.