My son starts work today, after school. He got himself a job, with the help of a friend of his, picking rocks from a farmer's field. He and several other teenagers will work at the farm each night, until the job is done, and all of the rocks are safely out of the way of plows and other farm equipment.
It will be hard work. It will be a perfect first job: hard, physical labour, with no complicated rules or schedules to remember. I'm glad. Every kid should find out first hand what it is to work at physical labour. I'm curious to see how this will work out for my son. I told him to make very sure that he works at least as hard as everyone else, and harder if he can manage it. I can't stand people who do just as much work as is necessary to avoid termination, and not one tiny bit more.
As an comparison of relative worth, this exercise is a bit silly. For my son to earn his $35.00 or so in an evening, my wife or I will have to pick him up after he finishes work -- approximately an hour's drive for the return trip. After the cost of fuel, wear and tear on the vehicle, the time that could have been spent doing something else, the exchange is uneconomic. But the experience for my son is what counts. He will work hard and make some money through his own exertion. I should probably make the entire project as much like real life as possible, by making him pay for the transportation costs, but even I don't have the heart to do that.
Maybe he will be thoughtful enough to buy me a coffee and a doughnut sometime. That gesture, and the lessons he will have learned from the experience, will be payment enough for me.