Photo Courtesy of The Blue Diamond Gallery

Typical Teenage Jobs in a Pandemic

April 26, 2021

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Applying for your first job can be considered a typical teenage rite of passage. Unfortunately, in the past year, it has become increasingly difficult for teenagers and adults alike to get and keep their jobs. COVID-19 has affected everyone and everything on a global scale; one of its most severe victims has been the workforce.

The average age for teenagers to begin working is around 16, depending on different state’s laws. This is around the average age that teenagers also begin to drive. Driving provides freedom and responsibility, with some of that responsibility can include paying for gas, car insurance, or a car. Getting a driver’s license is a very motivating factor for some young adults to pursue a part-time job.

Generally, teenagers will work part-time jobs due to the fact that the majority of them are balancing school and possibly other activities, such as sports or clubs. Typically, teenagers will work after school, on weekends, or whenever they have free time. The usual salary for these types of jobs are typically minimum wage or slightly higher.

However, during the duration of the pandemic, some essential businesses, such as Food Lion, have given their workers relief checks to help compensate for continuously putting themselves at risk for exposure to the virus. Not all businesses have been able to do this due to financial reasons. The majority of establishments have actually had to do the exact opposite, which is lower pay or firing employees due to insufficient income from the company.

Fortunately, for those who work part-time jobs in the summer, the pandemic seems to be coming to an end, which is good news for businesses struggling to remain open. Popular local summer jobs include lifeguarding at any of the local pools.

FCHS senior Lauren Davis has been lifeguarding at the Lake Monticello pool for the past two years, with this upcoming year being her third. Davis explained her daily tasks while on duty. “I have to clean bathrooms, the lobby area, and pool while people are there. I also have to enforce the rules of the pool to make sure everyone is staying safe. The other obvious thing I have to do is to actually be ‘on stand’ and watch over everyone swimming,” said Davis.

While some institutions are looking forward to summer and a hopeful end to the pandemic, others are still enforcing strict Covid guidelines and procedures to combat customer risk. FCHS junior Maggie McWilliams has recently started working at Rhett’s Bar & Grill, a new seafood restaurant located at Zions Crossroads. Due to the fact the Rhett’s is a restaurant, their Covid precautions are much stricter than other establishments. “We’re constantly cleaning everything as customers come in and leave. That’s the biggest thing, keeping everything clean. I also have to constantly remind customers to put their masks on or wear them correctly,” said McWilliams.

While a lot of businesses are getting back to normal and opening their doors to full capacity, they still need to take preventative measures and precautions taken to ensure the safety of both their customers and employees. Some of the local businesses that may be currently hiring teenagers include: Blue 53, Sal’s, and Wahoo Barbeque.

Overall, teenagers looking to get back to work will need to be aware and cautious when joining the workforce. But there may be few times in the future when they will have such an easy time actually getting a job.

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