Last July, a record low 50% of 16-to-19-year-olds worked or sought jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, down from 72% in July 1978. Outplacement consultant Challenger Gray & Christmas estimates 1.5 million 16-to-19-year-olds will be hired this summer, down from 2 million in 1999.
That's too bad because, as the article points out, summer jobs -- from mowing lawns to stocking shelves at the neighborhood supermarket to life-guarding at the pool -- are building blocks. Said one CEO: "A successful career is built incrementally, one step at a time."
In college, I worked as a summer intern for the San Diego Padres, doing odd jobs. Right out of school, I sold tickets for the LA Clippers while working part-time for Barry Hecker, the team's director of scouting. Keep in mind that the Clips were 12-70 in 1987. Talk about a tough sell...
But it taught me two things: First, I couldn't spend my life behind a desk. I wanted to coach. Secondly, it taught me something about salesmanship and persistence.