Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The working world

Erin is now juggling work and school. Who'd have thought, a year ago? She's training at work this week. She'll be working four short shifts a week at this café, clothing boutique and ice cream shop. Great place to work. Nice boss, nice clientèle.

The café is half a block from the main intersection in town and the same distance from the school. Today she finished her shift at 2 pm and was in English class by 2:05. Zinged on caffeine and chatty as heck.

She only has a few hours of school left. A couple of exams to write, a few English classes to attend. Then she'll be in beach / violin / work mode. She's packed a lot into the year and I think she's going to be very relieved to close the books on her last three courses.

What next year will bring is still an open question. At this point she intends to continue attending school, though on a more limited basis.


  1. Anonymous1:51 pm

    My daughter would love to do that, including the access to caffeine bit There's a gift shop job she has her eye on, with free coffee for the employees. They won't hire her until January, when she turns 16...


  2. I'm beginning to wonder if the US isn't much more restrictive about young people working than Canada is. Here kids can become employees at 14 and while employers are not supposed to schedule them during "school hours" there's no legal ordnance proclaiming what school hours are, and therefore a willing employer can schedule a homeschooled teen for work any time. And children younger than 14 can be employed by their parents in a family business. Again, the "school hours" provision applies, but for homeschoolers those hours are self-defined.

    In the US I hear about permits being required from schools in order for teens to work, and age restrictions on even part-time work. It seems to me that for a lot of teens real-life work would give context and meaning to their studies, a sort of unschooled life-learning on the side, rather than hampering their future prospects and creating a slippery slope into workhouses and child labour.

  3. Anonymous8:44 pm

    I think 14 is the usual minimum age in the U.S., but the gift shop is part of a university facility and it won't hire anyone under 16.


  4. Young people in the UK have to be over 14 to be able to do most types of work, although 'light work' such as babysitting or a paper round is possible from age 13. Between 14 and 16 (16 is the minimum school leaving age) there are all sorts of restrictions designed to protect young people from exploitation and ensure their studies are not affected - eg not more than 12 hours work in any week in which the young person is required to go to school; not at all during school hours on a school day; no more than 2 hours on a Sunday. There are also local authority by-laws in some areas governing children employed in street trading (sounds medieval!). Having worked for a few hours on a Saturday up to now, Alex is about to plunge into a holiday job of 37 hours a week this summer!

  5. Golly child labour is rife in the First World! ;) In South Africa, kids can't work before age 16, even holiday jobs. As younger teenagers, my sister and I sold things we had made ourselves on a market stall. Probably illegally I babysat very short stretches which were more like staying on and playing at a young friend's house after their mom had had to pop out briefly, and I was "paid" in smarties. I am not sure the rules on paper rounds, but of course my parents taught me that taking a job like that was depriving a poor adult of a job, and it was selfish of a rich teen to take such a job. Babysitting and waitressing were okay.


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