Squeezed between school, athletics and extracurricular activities, teens are going for the green -- money that is.
More than 40 percent of employable American teens ages 16 to 19 worked in the latter half of 1999, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
Candace Wood, 17, is part of that group. A cashier at the Winn-Dixie Marketplace on Columbia Road in Martinez, Candace got the job about a year ago to pay for car expenses and to have spending money.
"I like the people here but the job itself is kind of boring," said the Evans High School senior.
Many working teens say the worst part of employment is missing out on athletic events, extracurricular activities and just hanging out.
"You have to sacrifice a lot of time with friends. You have to learn to compromise," said Candace, who works more than 20 hours a week.
Adam Staskelunas, 16, a sophomore at Aquinas High School, said having a job has made him more disciplined.
After school and baseball practice, he manages to get his homework done before heading to work at the new Bruster's Ice Cream and Yogurt in Aiken.
Adam saves 50 percent of each paycheck. The rest he spends on gas, CDs and other expenses.
"I love it," he said of his first job.
"I like working with my friends and it's better than manual labor. It's a fun job and you get to interact with people."
Aaron Fearneyhough, 18, a senior at Evans High School, has worked as a customer-service manager at Winn-Dixie for about a year. He said businesses that hire teens are helping the next generation of workers.
"It gives teens a good opportunity to learn ... it gives them a good start for when they get older," he said.
Aaron's work experience made him decide to major in business management when he goes to college.
Many teens spend months seeking employment and deal with a lot of rejection before they get a job. Some, like 17-year-old Beth Dutil, are luckier.
Beth, a junior at Aquinas High School, got her first job on the first try. She has worked at Gymboree in Augusta Mall for almost a year.
Beth said earning her own money has taught her restraint when it comes to spending.
"I used to just want everything and ask my dad, but now I know what I do and don't really need," she said as she folded and straightened children's clothes.
Working teens advise first-time job seekers to be persistent.
"You're probably going to be rejected a couple of times. But you have to be determined and apply at all of the places you can and hope for the best," said Adam.
"Go and work somewhere you know you'll want to go back and where you'll be comfortable with the people," said Beth.
She also stressed that teens must inform their supervisors of their school schedule -- especially at exam time.
Reach Margaret Weston at (706) 823-3340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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