As Janssen mentioned, high school jobs are mandatory at our house. I remember spotting the "Help Wanted" sign in the local Cold Stone ice cream shop and telling Janssen about it when she was just turning 16. A few days later, she girded up her loins and marched in to ask for a job application. Despite the fact that she probably looked 13 years old, they hired her -- and eventually Merrick, Landen and just about every other friend they had! She was the gateway employee for probably a dozen kids this Cold Stone store hired during the next 2 years.
The girls ended up holding a number of different jobs during their high school years including regular babysitting gigs, early morning paper route, ice skating sink guard and instructor, working in their dad's dental office doing some assisting/front desk/errands (endless errands)/computer /janitorial work, and who could forget J's short, but painful stint at the Krispy Kreme donut shop?
My own lack of work experience during my high school years was what convinced me that a job was a good thing. Like many of you, my parents told me that my schooling was my job (even though both of my older siblings had held jobs as teens -- not sure why I was different). Me, being somewhat lazy and a also bit fearful of new experiences, didn't complain. I did live up to my end of this bargain and earned myself a full-ride scholarship to the university of my choice -- however, I lost it after my first year. I also didn't work while attending college.
Later, I felt these decisions put me at a huge disadvantage in a number of ways:
* It took me a very long time to build up any substantial savings in my personal account
* I had to depend on my parents for most of my spending money & living expenses
* I didn't have a clear sense of what money was worth for many years
* No experience with co-workers and a boss
* No job interview experience
* No work experience as a 20 year old
* No resume
I was determined that my children would have a different experience. And they did. I think they would all say that their work experiences during high school were as valuable to them as anything they learned in a classroom. (They can feel free to comment on this.) Each of them continued to be excellent students, learned some real life and financial lessons, entered college with thousands of dollars saved away, and had very impressive resumes.