Is your kid ready for their first job? Here’s how you can help them.

Canada Life - Nov 07, 2023
Working at a job as a teenager has many benefits, including developing social and professional skills, saving money for school or wherever life might take them and sharpening money and time management skills.
Teenager working in the produce area

As your child steps into their teens and develops their own interests and passions – whether that’s music, sports, art or something else - they’re likely looking for extra money to fuel those interests. In other words, they might be ready to start earning their own money.

Getting your first job is a rite of passage you probably remember all too well, and this could be your chance to help your kid take the leap with confidence and success. Working at a job as a teenager has many benefits, including developing social and professional skills, saving money for their interests, passions and wherever life takes them next, and sharpening money and time management skills.

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare them for a journey that’s as exciting as it is nerve-wracking.  

Start with an open conversation on work life  

Your own experiences of the first job you had could be a great way to launch this conversation. Sharing the nervousness you might have felt will help reassure your child that it’s normal to feel some anxiety before stepping into the world of work. Share any tips on what helped you while also allowing them to figure out this phase of life for themselves.  

Help with the job search  

Be mindful of job opportunities that might show up outside the usual spots like online job portals. Reach out to community groups you might be a part of; scan your local newspaper or websites for any job fairs or temporary assignments that might be coming up in your area; tune into local radio stations for job advertisements that match your child’s interest areas. If you use LinkedIn, share ideas on how your kid can make the most of this platform – they could follow employers and subscribe to thought leaders in their areas of interest.  

Encourage your kid to pursue opportunities 

Once they have some leads, coach your kid on how to approach potential employers. But make sure they make the calls and send the emails. This will help them develop crucial soft skills, like communication and interpersonal skills, that will be necessary as they begin their professional journey.  

Help them prepare for the interview 

Once your child starts receiving some interview calls, the whole thing will feel more real – and potentially daunting.  A fun way to help ease some of the worry could be to have mock interview sessions where you take them through commonly-asked job interview questions.  

Guide them through the first paycheque 

This is the moment your child has been waiting for. They worked hard – to find that job and to stick to it – to earn their first paycheque. While this is a moment of excitement and celebration, bring some balance to the situation by helping your child understand the different components of their first paycheque. This includes things like the pay period (hourly, bi-weekly or monthly); gross pay versus net pay; deductions (like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Québec Pension Plan (QPP), employment insurance (EI), provincial and federal taxes, cafeteria fees and any other dues the employer might be charging for).  

Next steps 

Starting to work at a real job with a real paycheque is going to be a big milestone in your child’s life. However, it can also be stressful and demanding to navigate.

If you want to talk this through before coaching your child, let me know and we can set up time to chat.