The Benefits of a Seasonal Job for Students
CEE Standard: Earning Income
Most students probably don’t realize all of the benefits that come with working a seasonal job. This article will teach them the pros and cons of seasonal work and why they should consider it!
At this point in the year, Caleb Jooster is always checking the weather and counting down the days. Unlike most 19-year-old college students, he isn’t eager to go on winter break or to finish his finals. Instead, he’s counting down until his job starts, his seasonal job that is.
For the past four years, Caleb has worked at a local tree farm in northern New York State during his winter and summer breaks. While it isn’t particularly glamorous, Caleb, who is an environmental sciences major, loves all the perks that it gives him.
As Caleb explains: “I’m always outside. I hate being trapped inside all day, but when I’m working at the tree farm, I get to at least be in nature and work with my hands. It helped me pick out my major and realize that I was interested in forest and parkland conservation.”
Aside from giving him a passion, there’s another, huge plus side to Caleb’s unconventional job — he has to work for only five months out of the year!
You read that right.
Caleb works only five months a year, but he still manages to make enough to pay his college tuition each year — plus pocket some spending money!
This is because Caleb works what’s called a “seasonal job.”
You may have seen advertisements for seasonal work at retail stores before the holidays or for camp counselor jobs in the summer. All of these are temporary, meaning you’re not forced to sling burgers for 365 days a year.
And because many part-time seasonal jobs are difficult to staff, businesses look for teenagers and college students like Caleb to fill in.
John Marriner, a resort manager in Austin, Texas, says, “I’m always looking for hardworking teenagers to apply for our rush seasons of November to January and May to September. The secret is that we even pay more than we would if they worked all year.”
Before you start seeing flying dollar signs or rush to get your application in, there are a few pros and cons that you need to know about working seasonal jobs:
- You’re a temporary employee, so there’s not much pressure if the job doesn’t work out or you don’t like it.
- Working during the holidays or school breaks means that you have more time to work and earn money!
- It won’t interfere with school. Most holiday seasonal jobs begin around Thanksgiving and go until the first few weeks of January. Summer jobs coincide with summer vacation, between school closing and starting up again.
- If you build a good relationship with a manager or store, you could get hired back again, like Caleb, who is automatically rehired each winter and summer season.
- You’ll pick up hard and soft skills such as handling money and collaborating with a team; building your résumé; and gaining some excellent recommendations to fall back on for college or job applications.
- You may miss out on family holidays or traditions. Caleb admits that he has had to say no to summer vacations with friends (though he does get time off when asked), and he works on Christmas Eve.
- If you like relationships, it can be hard to build one with your team or manager, since they know you probably won’t come back.
- You’ll get used to being fired. While this doesn’t matter much if you’re really in it for the seasonal work, getting a pink slip at the end of the year is a bummer.
- If you’re not rehired for the next season, you will need to do the job search over again.
- If you do want to work year-round, you may need to conduct multiple job searches in a single year.
So let’s say that you got through those pros and cons, and seasonal jobs are still for you. Awesome! Here are our top ideas for seasonal positions that teens can do:
Winter Seasonal Work
- Retail: running a cash register, stocking shelves, wrapping presents.
- Performer: caroling in costume, acting as Santa’s elves at the mall.
- Personal Assistant: helping neighbors shop for gifts, hanging holiday decorations, planning parties.
- Catering: waiting tables, working holiday events, valet parking.
- Delivery: assisting mail and parcel services, delivering food orders.
Summer Seasonal Work:
- Hotels, Resorts, Camps: cleaning rooms, lifeguarding, camp counseling.
- Parks and Forestlands: picking up trash, monitoring campsites, tracking wildlife.
- Tourist Destinations: amusement park staffing, giving walking tours, selling tickets at sporting events or concerts.
- Food Service: catering picnics, running a food stand at a festival
- Home Assistant: home repair and construction, babysitting, cleaning pools, mowing lawns.
For his seasonal work, Caleb makes nearly $15,000 per year. But it isn’t just the money that makes a seasonal job worth it for teenagers — it’s the freedom and the perks that seal the deal.