Marlowe Evans is a regular columnist for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.

BEING YOUNG: Holiday jobs key for many youth

Young people have much to offer employers, even on a part-time basis

By Marlowe Evans/Special to The News

It’s the time of year where the purse strings start to tighten: Hallowe’en is slowly marching closer, Christmas is just around the corner. The question for many students is this: how are we ever going to afford the holiday season?

The end of fall and the beginning of winter is chalk full of holidays, which means it’s chalk full of expenses. Some students may just be getting to the age where they’re old enough to start paying for things on their own, and others have been trying to scrape it together for a while. What’s the most common answer to this dilemma? A part time job.

Part time jobs are the bread and butter of young adults. It’s money that is totally earned, and can be used or saved as needed. For students in high school and university these part time jobs can be wildly important, and we become dependent on that income. In high school, it’s usually savings, gas, and entertainment money, but once into university, part time employment can be what puts a roof over our heads.

This can actually be fairly intimidating. Part time positions don’t usually come with the same kinds of securities as a full time position, making part time jobs more likely to be in violation of workplace regulations. Because of a lack of experience, many teenagers may be unable to recognize workplace safety violations, or because of age, seniority, and concerns over job stability, may be less likely than older or fulltime employees to file complaints about safety, treatment, or even underpayment.

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That doesn’t mean, however, that all part time jobs are bad. There are many places that offer safe, stable part time employment for youth seeking work. Young workers form an integral part of the work force, taking on jobs in multiple markets and bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas to their positions.

The workplace is constantly evolving because the workforce is constantly evolving and changing as new people enter it. Youth finding part time employment is not only vital to us, as youth seeking financial stability and job experience, but also to the workforce hiring us. Without youth, industries would grind to a halt, and innovation would become stunted. Wasn’t it a few college-aged kids who invented the personal computer?

With holidays and added financial strain on the horizon, please keep in mind that even though many teens still live at home, their income is still important, and so is their work environment. Without savings, how will any of us afford an apartment or a car? For those of us in college, how will we afford tuition or residence? Be nice to your young employees this holiday season, because the holidays are a time where many of us are starting new jobs, or even getting our first jobs. Be nice to the kid serving your coffee, or delivering your paper. The types of positions filled by young part time workers are usually taken for granted, but it’s difficult, especially when balanced with school. Take a moment to thank the youth who work with and for you.

– Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues

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