A Few Good Reasons to Work by Russell Moore, Sugar Land, TXAfter issues of the opposite sex, money (or lack thereof) is easily one of the foremost issues in a teenager's life. Some complain that they are not "rich" like other kids and their parents don't give them money. Others say they can't find a job, and some say they don't have the time. However, in reality only one factor separates these teens from their money: laziness. Always searching for the easy buck, many teens grow up lacking a work ethic, the only thing that will help them survive in the real world.I've been working at a high-quality restaurant for over a year and I find it embarrassing to see how many people, ages 16-23, are flat-out scared to put in an honest day's work. They complain not when a manager asks them to do some heroic act, but only when asked to do something correctly - something that might take five extra seconds to ensure it is done right. Granted, the expectations for perfection at my restaurant are high, but they are not as high as those one will face trying to find a career. I believe if this continues, the generation entering the working world in the next five to ten years will be extremely unmotivated. Consequently, there will be many capable minds doing menial tasks for executives when they could have been executives, if only they had learned the value of a hard day's work.I feel lucky to have been raised in a home where I was required to work for what I wanted. Whether or not my parents were capable of giving me something, they always insisted I work for it. I learned to hate the phrase, "You'll enjoy it more if you earn it," as all teenagers hate any phrase that comes from their parents. Recently, my long hours at work paid off. I am paying for a 1998 full-size Chevy truck on my own. Much to my chagrin, I have to admit I appreciate it more since I earned it. When people come up to me, surprised to see me driving a nice vehicle, they assume my parents bought it for me. It is one of the greatest feelings to tell them that I am paying for it myself. I feel it sets me apart from many of the "spoiled" students at my school. My truck may not be as nice as the $25,000 extended cab, jacked-up truck parked next to me, but my parents can't take mine away.In all honesty, money is not the greatest thing about working. Not only have I made enough money to pay for a truck, but I've learned valuable lessons about time management, people skills and self-discipline. I'm also happy to have met the people I work with, who are now some of my best friends. After four years of high school, I feel I have an advantage over others entering college. In addition to solid academics, extracurricular activities, and group leadership, I also have a year and a half of work experience under my belt.My hope is that more teenagers will get a job and learn the value of a hard day's work before they try to get their first job out of college. The rewards make every second working worth an eternity spent at home watching television, complaining about not having any money. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.