Ups and Downs of Working as a Teen

By Kyle Case

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is known for its amazing views, great skiing, top notch food, and of course the champagne powder. All that stuff is great, but what is it like being a teenager and working in this small tourist town few people are lucky enough to call home? I will share some of my personal experiences in the matter. Growing up in Steamboat is great. There’s tons of stuff to do and since it’s so small it’s easy to meet up with your friends, but working as a teenager here is another story. I was born here and started working at 11. In those five years since I started working I’ve had both good and bad experiences. We will start with the good.

Currently 4.7 million teens are working (CNN money). Some got the job by their own choice, while others might have been forced to start working by their parents. I believe that working as a teenager is good. I think it builds character and shows the teen what the “real world is. But that’s not just me, the Washington Post agrees, in an article published in November of 2015 they stated, “That teens who work can manage their time better and have better grades.”

I currently am employed at three business in Steamboat, but I’m only actively working at two of the three. The two jobs I currently work at are the best jobs I’ve ever had. I’m treated well,  have great coworkers, decent hours, and pretty good pay. The first one is a newer restaurant in town and I’ve worked there for 5 months.  I love going into work there. The other is a lifeguard job that I’ve had for a little over a month and just like restaurant I love every second there because the people I work with and work for are incredibly nice. I also used to work at a bar and grill as a dishwasher and it was a really nice job. I only left because I had a better opportunity. I believe you should always leave on good terms with bosses just in case you need that job again.

Not all jobs will be good jobs, let alone great. Just ask literally anyone that’s held a job. Some places will discriminate against you because of your age (which is in fact illegal). Other places just aren’t good employers and have constant staff turnover.

Here are some not so great work experiences that I’ve had. I started working at a restaurant in early 2015 and was there until mid 2016. At first this job was great. The people were very nice, I got a ton of hours and it was fun. After a year I was still at $9 an hour while everyone else was at at least  $11 an hour and some of them were lazy and worked less than I did. The difference was I was under 18.

I went to my boss for a raise in pay and got shut down. Since everything but the pay was still great I just passed it off and forgot about it. Eventually the people stopped being so nice and the job overall stopped being fun, so I left.

Another bad experience I had was at a different bar and grill, but it was kind of the same thing, age discrimination for the most part. The part that was different here was the kitchen staff would leave me alone in the kitchen for anywhere between 20-40 minutes. This left me to do the dishes, run food, sometimes cook the food, and since the front of house staff is lazy, I was also serving.

YVHS student, Jack Ringer, has had a positive experience working so far at his restaurant. Work experience has helped Jack learn how to deal with money.  Also, he has  gotten better with interpersonal communications.

In conclusion teens who work are most likely going to be more prepared for what life throws their way. Even though not all working experiences are good the lessons learned will help them forever.