When I was a teen, I had grand dreams of becoming a famous movie star/singer/writer/trapeze artist. But considering I couldn’t afford anything that wasn’t free, I (my parents) decided I should get a part-time job until the whole trapeze artist thing panned out.
Before I dive into all 21 possible jobs, here are some things to take into consideration when you’re looking for one of your first jobs.
Location: It’s important to be able to get to your job easily and relatively stress-free. Not only because you’re more likely to show up because you didn’t miss that third bus you had to take, but because it’ll leave you in a better mood while you’re working.
Schedule: Make sure the job you’re applying for fits your schedule. If the job requires you to work a morning shift and you’re in class, it’s not going to work. If you want to be in two places at once without defying physics, try standing on a state border with one foot in each state. But for now, choose a job that you'll be able to balance with school.
Experience: Make sure to note what kind of experience is needed for the job before you apply. For example, becoming a lifeguard requires CPR training. While some pools offer the training, others don’t. It’s kind of like applying to be a waitress without ever trying the restaurant's food. Crazy, right?
Your Experience: One last thing to think about it what kind of experience do you want to have? If you think stocking shelves is the absolute worst thing you could do, you’re probably not going to want to be a grocery store clerk. There are a lot of options out there so it’s a good idea to choose one that doesn’t make you want to hurl every time you think about it.
So now that you’re a job-hunting expert, here are 21 jobs for anyone under 21!
Owl N Wood in Oakland, CA.
Local Business Jobs
Ah, the sweet smell of coffee. Working as a barista will hone your skills at making the perfect cup. It gives you the opportunity to become a coffee snob, should you so desire. Also, you get all of the delicious caffeine nectar your heart can handle (literally). But ye be warned, this job comes with some VERY early morning shifts.
The only thing you need to know going into this job is how NOT to stick your hand into a blender. Maybe a little bit of basic math as well. Now that you’re an expert, you get to blend fruit to make somebody’s breakfast or snack time drink. You also get to partake in the frozen wonderfulness that is smoothies, while gaining some valuable money-handling experience.
You love people. People love you. Wanting to work as a receptionist means you’re also ready to meet the demands of the patrons. Even if it means giving someone a wake-up call at 3 in the afternoon. Also, think of all the potential discounts you’ll receive on the services that your business has to offer!
Breathe in. Breathe out. Are you centered? Do you love fitness or yoga? Okay, you’re qualified! Also, you’ll probably get a discount on classes or maybe even free use of the facilities.
This is the job where you’ll learn to hate everyone and gain respect for every retail worker you interact with for the rest of your life. This is a highly worthwhile job for anyone who loves clothes and people. You’ll get discounts on trendy outfits while also walking away with some interesting tales about customers.
Food Service Jobs
The movie-esque quality of being part of a wait staff is fact. Starving artist or just plain starving, being on a wait staff is great. You get to chat it up with people and gain respect for the staff you interact with each shift. Plus, you gain extra money from tips and learn the basics of the restaurant business.
Armed with a hose and sink, this is a solo position that is great if you can handle washing hundreds of dirty dishes per shift. You get to chat with the busser occasionally, but it’s usually a job where you get to be with your thoughts and the dishes. Some great perks are playing music in the background and usually free meals each shift.
You’re the Robin of the restaurant, partnering to fight negative restaurant experiences with the waiter (Batman). What could they do without you? You swoop in and clean up the table for the next guest. But unlike Robin, after you save the day you’re rewarded in sweet, sweet tips!
You’re the welcoming face that people see when they come into the door. This position is best for someone who is organized and can handle a busy environment while staying cheerful. Some perks are the delicious discounted food, returned smiles, and tips.
10. Catering Staff
White shirt/black slacks will most likely be your uniform. Whether it’s a wedding or fancy gala, you’ll get to mingle with the fanciest dressed. Perks are the free leftover food and the chance to experience new places.
This is as close to being ice cream as it gets. You’re right in the action of scooping the delicious frozen treats for children and families alike. Prepare to have a sore forearm through training, but it’ll be worth it when you get to eat all of the ice cream you want!
If you don’t mind the tedious work of lining goods upon goods down grocery store shelves, you have the perfect skillset to work at a grocery store. You’ll also learn how to bag groceries quickly and conveniently like a pro! (Tetris skills a plus, but not required.)
This is as close to “Super Hero” as it gets as a young person. You learn how to save lives and keep people having fun at your local pool or water park. While some swim-related establishments offer CPR training, not all do. Before you apply, check the places you’re hoping to work to make sure you're qualified.
Here it is. The beginning. Your first step closer to stardom (probably not). But no better way to begin learning how cinema works than in a movie theater. You’ll have to remember where all of the theaters are, stock the candy shelves without eating all of the candy, and be ready to prepare and serve snacks. But, think of all the free popcorn!
Do you enjoy loud and energetic crowds? Do you like to help people enjoy games? Working at a bowling alley is a great way to do this! Also, you’ll learn to love bowling since working there will leave you no excuse but to play all the time!
Maybe the whole figure skater thing hasn’t panned out. Or maybe it has and you and the ice are so close you can’t imagine spending a day without. Working at the rink lets you help others love the ice as much as you do. You’ll man the skate rental areas, help the instructors, and assist minorly injured skaters with band-aids and ice packs.
Childcare & Education Jobs
I would have put this under the “Extreme Sports” category if we had one. If you love kids and are good at playing with them and generally making sure they don’t hurt themselves, you’re already more than qualified.
Pretty good at a certain subject in school or just plain good at explaining things? Helping someone else learn something strengthens your understanding of that skill. That’s a pretty sweet return gift for helping someone out.
19. Camp Counselor
This should really be called Professional Kid Wrangler. As a camp counselor, you get to let your inner kid out while also directing little ones in the right direction (literally and figuratively). Plus, many camps are held during the summer, so it won’t take away homework time during the year!
If you have a will of steel, you can deliver food to hungry people. (I would personally eat everything all the time if this was my job). You also get a sweet discount on food. This job’s better for the belly and the wallet! You just need to have a driver’s license to be qualified.
As long as you’re capable of not getting into a car accident at 10 mph, this is a job for you. There’s also a chance you’ll get to sit in some sweet rides. Oh! You also need a driver's license. You’re definitely going to need one of those.
Even high schoolers have options, so take them while you can. Who knows, you may even find something you're truly passionate about!