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When I was a teen, I talked to my Mom about getting a job. She told me that I already had a full-time job, which was to be an excellent student. So, I stayed unemployed and maintained excellent grades. When summer approached, I talked to her again about getting a job, and she reminded me that I would be working my whole life: I should enjoy the summer off while I could.

My Mother is a very wise woman.

My first teenage jobs came in college, and they worked with my schedule and they taught me a lot about time management and balance and responsibility. And, looking back, I am grateful that I had those last few precious summers off.

My experiences make me wonder about what I still regularly see in media today: Is the summer job still a rite of passage? The latest sets of data don't think so - fewer teenagers are employed or even looking for a job. The reason: They are too busy studying.

Advanced placement classes, summer enrichment programs, getting a head start on next year's course loads - those have all replaced working at the local restaurant over the summer months. College-bound teens are volunteering their time to build up their applications instead of serving as the lifeguard at the local pool. The benefits of having that first job to learn about the workplace - that has been put on the back burner until after college.

I wonder if I will follow in my Mother's footsteps and give my son freedom while I still can.

What was your first teenage job? Tell me in the comments.

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