Summer "School"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Culture critic Kay Hymowitz says teens miss out when they bypass summer jobs in a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal. She’s a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to their publication, City Journal. Her most recent book is Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age (Ivan R. Dee, 2006).


Kay Hymowitz

Comments [11]

Annie Couper from South Orange, NJ

Most of my family went to name schools and my niece and nephew are teaching at Princeton and Stanford. For us it's not about entitlement.Since my husband's death money has been tight and i have navigated my childrens' education in a town with good schools. At this point it is necessary for my daughter to work. She excelled academically and at fencing, her schedule from November to April was taken up sometimes seven days a week because she needed a sport for college. Meanwhile, she searched for a job. It wan't easy in a community where people have nannies and professional dog sitters. I would have liked her to go to Italy to learn photography or Oxford to study literature but most of these programs are costly and i refuse to pay for "voluntary" service in Panama or Costa Rica when she could "act locally" or to fund transportation to an internship that pays nothing. I will not put my younger daughter through it. We're going to Rutgers where many of the best students from our high school are going for half the costand acceptance is based on merit and not what mommy and daddy can buy.

Aug. 22 2007 02:02 PM
Lauren from NYC

After graduating from UC-Berkeley, I worked in a cafe for about 7 months; the experience was invaluable to me in that I was collaborating with Mexican immigrants and high school drop-outs, as well college and graduate students, in a mix I had never before found myself. It was incredibly refreshing after my school career. I'm now working in a salaried, office job, and have found that my food service experience has humbled me and given me a new appreciation for the luxuries this (albeit entry-level) position has allowed me.

Aug. 22 2007 11:40 AM
john from upper west side

another thought! There is less unskilled factory work around. Thenology has changed the work place and summer is no longer enough time to break in a college student who has been taught to think critically. My first summer job with the post office delivering mail and required getting up at 3AM was a plum, paid $1,80 an hour and praticly paid my tuition. Guess how old I am?

Aug. 22 2007 11:36 AM

When I changed careers at age 45, I had to work an internship. It was the only way. It was the first time in my life since age seventeen that I was not paid for my labor. The direct connection between one's time, labor and pay is getting more and more strained in this country, as employers are bidding and succeeding in getting more and more for less and less. A seventeen-year-old kid's time and labor is still worth something.

Aug. 22 2007 11:34 AM
Claudia from New York

Personnaly I found my experiences in the summer playing music at camp or even reading on my own time just as rewarding as entry level jobs at Blockbuster or a Country Club buffet runner. There's a lot to be said for the educational opportunities teens have during the summer that they may never have again after they finish school and have to work full time.

Aug. 22 2007 11:32 AM
Elizabeth from Brooklyn

While I was in college, in the mid-late 1990's, I worked internships in PR and theater and also worked part time, so that when I graduated I had both work experience and internship experience, as well as a liberal arts BA. I had no trouble getting jobs after college, beginning with temp jobs and leading up to higher paid jobs, so that when I eventually went to grad school I had loads of experience in a variety of fields and really knew what I wanted to pursue. In grad school, I also worked internships and part time freelance. This has made it easier to transition out of school and back to the work force.

Aug. 22 2007 11:28 AM
john kretschmer from upper west side

Agood question! My kids now 36 & 40 begam going to a summer vacation island before they could walk so it was easie for them to grow up wanting to work there during their summers. As a result they were well connected and the jobs were all filled early in june. It was grunt work, for the girls chamber maids and the boys stock clerk and busing, which later turned into waitress and kitchen help.

Today kids no longer identify with this kind of hard work for low wages. European students are replacing them and they are getting the benifits, Also American kids have credit cards and parents with deep pockets. There is also a big migrant workforce out there.

Aug. 22 2007 11:23 AM
Dick Cameron from Jersey City

Parents know little of what their children get out of the job experience.Summer jobs and Summer camps have little to do with getting a leg up. These practices are valuable for their social aspects. School and permanent jobs are looming in the future. Summers are the last remnants of carefree youth.

Internships, should be paid. College credits are great but young people need to know their labor has real value. CASH. Most employers seeking interns are just looking to get temporary work for next to nothing.

Aug. 22 2007 11:21 AM
Trevor from LIC

Its not always an option for everyone. Some kids who must work get a job, and in fact stay in one throughout high school. Internships are often reserved for upper-middle classes; this is especially true in college, when its very clear only some students can afford to take six months out of the year with a non-paying job to pad their resume. Its a type of class reinforcement essentially, weeding out the poor from competing in professional jobs and keeping them in the service industries for the most part.

Also, historically speaking in many cities, kids could work in construction or landscaping jobs during the summertime. This is much rarer now because of illegal immigrants.

Aug. 22 2007 11:14 AM
chestine from NY

I can't believe that kids can't have fun any more - will they be robotic and corporate?Are we killing creativity for the future

Aug. 22 2007 11:10 AM
hjs from 11211

working at mcdonald's taught me a lot about people and how a business should be run.

Aug. 22 2007 11:03 AM

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