Click here for more current events lesson plans matched to national standards.
The Jobless Recovery: A report on recent talk of a "jobless recovery" and how the economy looks to workers who lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry. 06.23.03
Paul Solman looks at how today's recent college graduates are fairing in the job
Job Market Tough for Grads: Difficulties facing the class of 2002. 06.12.02
Hard Times For Teen Job Seekers
By: Nick Tabor , Age 16 Posted: 7.02.03
Nick Tabor from outside Washington, DC shares his frustrations with searching for the elusive summer job.
If you have a story about how a news event affected your life, contact us.
As the graduation season has come and past, the national news media has been full of stories about the difficulties that the class of 2003 is facing in trying to find jobs. Victimized by a sagging economy, this intellectual elite, the product of the superb American collegiate academic system, the paragon of educated adults, is shown in Ben and Jerry's uniforms dishing out ice cream to lines of hostile customers.
The irony is pretty clear; how useful is an English degree in asking "one scoop or two?" Yet more ironic is that these men and women of letters are in a position for which most teens would kill. The same sagging economy that has forced these college grads into unskilled labor has made it tremendously difficult for teens to find summer jobs.
Impact of a slow economy
As a 10th grader this past year, I witnessed this problem through the struggle of dozens of classmates. They're pulling their hair out trying to find a summer job that not only has some sort of redeeming value, but also provides them with some money for the rest of the year. Many are satisfied with the service industry, usually a pretty reliable place for a kid to find work. But as the ice-cream-store scenario shows, they are having plenty of problems.
The current issues with summer employment are even worse for people who had their hearts set on something specific. For instance, a classmate of mine worked at a soccer academy last year had expected to be asked back as a counselor. Instead, due to a lack of funds, not only did the camp reject his application but it even shut down.
Problems like this are nothing new. In my own case, after working for two summers in a row in the technology department at a private school in Bethesda, MD, a lack of personnel funds left me knocked out of what I considered to be a pretty reliable job. I've known plenty of other people who've had nothing but bad luck in their summer plans year after year. But this year was much worse. My classmates exerted time and energy to no avail.
The jobs just aren't there
Their extreme frustration even made me shy away from applying for a lot of jobs that traditionally go to teens, like working at a movie theater, being a camp counselor, or flipping burgers. I thought that if my friends' experience was so awful this year, and the competition for existing jobs so heated, how could I possibly stand a chance? Instead, I stuck to jobs both that I felt I would both enjoy and that not many people would apply to, like historical research assistant. And in the process likely precluded myself from some fun experiences. But even in more obscure fields there was a noticeable lack of positions for anyone of any age or background, teenager or otherwise. The Motley Fool employment Web site, for instance, looked positively barren. I applied to what jobs I found and liked, but got none.
And the result of all this worry and bother? Summer school. Although am enjoying my physics course currently, and it will let me take a second foreign language next year, it still feels like a disappointment, as I know it does to a number of people in my class. With all our hopes of a summer spent doing something different, being back in the classroom is a bit of an anti-climax--even if it isn't scooping ice cream.
Copyright © MacNeil-Lehrer Productions All Rights Reserved