Summer is when most teenagers are employed. The U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act sets the minimum age for employment at 14 and limits the hours children under the age of 16 can work. If you're 14 years old, most states require you to obtain a work permit, and you can work full-time only during the summer school recess. During the school year, you're generally limited to 18 hours a week.
Fast food restaurants often give teenagers their first job opportunity. Because many fast food restaurants are privately-owned as part of a franchise, owners may set their own hiring policies, which sometimes means they won't hire you unless you're 16 years old. However, many fast food companies hire 14-year-old workers as crew members earning minimum wage. You'll likely be hired to work a cash register under the supervision of a more experienced worker. Fast food work is fast-paced and hectic, but is a good way for you to learn responsibility, and if you stay on the job for a few years, companies like McDonalds offer management programs that may qualify you for college credit if you're pursuing a business management degree.
Another place that may be accommodating to hiring a 14-year-old are households with young children in need of supervision when their parents are away from the home. Babysitting duties may include making sure children have snacks, ensuring they do their homework, playing games with them and protecting them from potentially dangerous situations. To get a babysitting job, put up fliers in your neighborhood or go door-to-door to inform neighbors that you're available. Wages are negotiable and usually paid hourly based on the number of children being watched.
Lawn and Backyard Cleaning
Front lawns and backyards in many local communities are filled with weeds that need to be pulled, overgrown grass that needs to be mowed and leaves that need to be raked. Many adults don't have the time to do these jobs and may be interested in hiring you to perform these tasks. If you don't know how to use a lawn mower, you should find an adult who can teach you, or limit yourself to lawn work that doesn't involve motorized equipment. Pulling weeds, cleaning up backyards, raking leaves and collecting them in trash bags are all jobs suitable for a hard-working 14 year-old.
Supermarkets and Movie Theaters
Supermarkets offer several jobs that a 14-year-old can perform, such as bagging groceries or stocking produce and other items in a back storage area. As a bagger, you're responsible for packing a customer's food items into bags, helping the customer load the bags into the car upon request, and rounding up shopping carts. Movie theater jobs typically involve selling tickets at a window, working the concession stand and performing usher duties such as cleaning theaters after each showing of a film and answering customer questions. Both of these jobs usually pay minimum wage, and require little-to-no previous experience.
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