What do white rhinos and kid’s summer jobs have in common?
What do white rhinos and kid’s summer jobs have in common? They’re both almost extinct. It used to be a summer vacation ritual. Day One: sleep in and bask in the joy of the impending three months of summer. Day Two: go out and find a part-time job to fund the summer movies, bike parts, gas, and (for the lucky few) dates. The process was pretty easy: (1) walk into retail stores within walking or short driving distance of your house; (2) ask the first person you saw if they were hiring, (3) fill out a basic application, (4) repeat 20 times at different stores; and (5) check back the next day until one of them hired you. Employers appreciated the summer help and valued a little initiative. It was easy for them to hire with very little paperwork and virtually no risk of DFEH claims, labor commissioner issues, injuries, EEOC audits, OSHA visits, worker’s compensation fraud, helicopter parents, strict meal period requirements, and a hundred other barriers (and costs) that discourage small employers from giving a kid a chance. So now we have a generation of kids graduating from high school and college who have never experienced the highs and lows of a job – like difficult co-workers/bosses, learning a new vulgar five letter word (taxes), or experiencing the satisfaction of learning, growing and getting praised for a job well done. Low wage jobs were the launching point for greater things and never intended to be careers or provide living wages. Their loss has affected an entire generation. I saw a teenager working at a yogurt store the other day. Her badge said “Summer Trainee.” It could have said White Rhino.