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The positive and negative aspects of working

To encourage kids to think about the positive and negative aspects of working while still in high school.



  • Obtain a video camera, television, index cards, several Polaroid cameras, and film.
  • Take a video camera to a local shopping mall or fast food restaurant and ask kids questions similar to those found in the "Group Discussion" section of this discussion.
  • Record television commercials of establishments where teens might work.


Have a Polaroid photo scavenger hunt. Send teams of kids out in cars (each team with a Polaroid camera). The first group to return with photos of 10 different kids (under 18-years-old) at their place of employment (with uniforms on if applicable) wins the grand prize. If they bring an employee from a business back with them to the meeting, they get extra points. As the groups begin to return, play the videotaped commercials on the VCR. This will keep the atmosphere focused and fun.


Show the interview video from the mall or fast food restaurants.


Now begin either asking questions to the kids or pass the questions out on index cards; each student should respond at least once. Let the questions begin on general or even silly side, and move to more specific serious questions. Here are some examples:

  • Describe the perfect part-time job.
  • How much money do you think you should make at a part-time job?
  • Describe the worst job you have ever had.
  • What is the one job you would never take?
  • If you were a boss, how would you make your employees happy? (The group leader should interact with kids as they respond. Follow up answers with "why," "how come," and "what do you mean" questions.)
  • Why would you want to work?
  • What are the benefits of working?
  • What are the disadvantages of working?
  • What would be (or are) some things you would miss out on if you worked?
  • Do you think many kids truly need more money?
  • What is the difference between needs and wants? (Make sure there is plenty of discussion on this one.)
  • What do most kids spend their money on?
  • Why do most kids feel they need to work? Are those good reasons?
  • Do you have enough time to do the things you really want to do?
  • What would you do if your boss would not let you off for a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your friends?
  • Do you think you will ever in your life become tired of working?
  • Should a job be something to enjoy?
  • Would most part-time jobs that you or your friends have help transition you into a career?
  • What are you looking for in a job?
  • Does having a job make a person more adult?
  • Does a job give you more independence?


The goal of this exercise is to help kids think through the difficult decision of seeking employment. Some kids who need to work and do not; many kids who work miss out on a lot of opportunities. Mention that work itself is not necessarily good or bad, but it changes certain parts of one’s life.


In future weeks, ask kids to think of their working friends and see if their work makes them happy. Find out if, after surveying their employed peers, their attitudes about work change at all. With the group, study "pressure," "stress," or "materialism." Show kids that jobs add pressure in their life, and that pressure can rob them of happiness.


  1. More and more kids work. One of the biggest reasons for them to work is to increase their consumptive power. One of the greatest problems our kids face is the tendency not to produce, but only consume. This may keep kids from forming a healthy personal identity.
  2. Kids "carefree days of youthfulness" are slowly being taken away, and they do not realize it. Those working with kids must help them realize what is happening before there is a new generation of bitter and rushed young adults.
Bruce Kindall cCYS