The Future of Teen Jobs
Updated: Jan 19, 2018
Kids these days really have the ability to do whatever they set their mind to. With technology advancing so rapidly, we live in such an interconnected world, meaning you no longer need years of experience to be able to do a job. These days with a few youtube tutorials, you can be a paid photo editor at age 15, or you can be a professional blogger from your bedroom. Technology has levelled the professional playing field with teenagers working alongside professionals that have been in the industry for decades. Now, before you dismiss this article as another optimistic ramble about how you can be whatever you want to be, hear me out.
For those of you that don't know me, I'm Scott. I'm a year 12 student, a 17-year-old boy and I also run my own company. I started BOP Industries in grade 9, selling key rings at local markets and have grown it since then to now being one of Australia's leading holographic entertainment companies. I am just like any other 17 year old, I like to hang out with friends, I procrastinate on my assignments and I love spending Friday nights binge watching Netflix.
Since beginning my business journey, I have had the pleasure of working with people from all walks of life across different industries and they are all saying the same thing, disruption is coming and the rule book has been thrown out. Now, as a year 12 student myself, I am sitting in on talks where my cohort and I are being told that the workforce is a big and scary place, jobs we might see as safe and secure now may not exist in a few years and we should be prepared for anything and everything. Scary huh? Well it really depends how you look at it.
Back a decade ago, to be hired and paid to do anything more than wait tables or stack shelves you had to have a university degree, practical experience and even then it was an uphill battle. With all the free online resources today it is easier than ever to learn a new skill and begin freelancing. A weekend of youtube tutorials can see you producing professional logos for companies, a crash course in how to write engaging content can see you writing blog posts for a company and all of this from the comfort of your own home. There are tools such as Fiver and Freelancer.com popping up all over the place, where you can register your services and find paying customers willing to use you to work for them. It really is a win/win, companies don't need to pay big bucks hiring an employee to do these simple tasks for them; instead they can contract this work out to online freelancers who not only get paid to create the content but also get real world experience.
Now, this is the part where young people come in. Typically, teenagers have been stuck with jobs in hospitality and retail, jobs that don't really help develop any skills that will help them in their future career and jobs that the kids, as a rule, usually hate. With the emergence of this freelancer culture, kids can do work that they are interested in, develop their skills, and get paid for it! Interested in photography? Why not teach yourself a bit more about photo editing on youtube and offer your services. Good at english? Why not sign up as a writer and get hired to create content for companies. The opportunities are endless.
Being kids as well we don't have the pressures of having to pay rent, buy food or have the general expenses adults do. Living at home and still studying full time means we have nothing to lose and no risk. There is no better time to start exploring and getting your name out there.
This digital age is also opening up opportunities for kids in regional communities as well. You no longer need to live in a capital city to get these opportunities. You could live hundreds of kilometres from the nearest city and with a laptop and internet connection be able to do the exact same things.
I seriously encourage youth to pursue these avenues and see where it takes you. Who knows, one of your customers may know someone that knows someone and before you know it you may be sitting in a meeting with the graphics company of a big company, looking at a big contract. Only weeks after starting to sell my first hologram designs (at that point still essentially laser cut plastic nets) I found myself, a 15-year-old student, sitting in a meeting with one of Brisbane's leading marketing agencies talking about potentially manufacturing 250,000 units for an upcoming festival!
Start exploring and developing your skills from a young age and you never know where it could take you.