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Coronavirus Economic Impact Update

The author, the former head of policy group No. 10, is a senior researcher at Harvard

When I went bankrupt at the age of 16, I borrowed a book from the local library called Self-taught typing. That summer, I became a top typist at the Reed Provisional Agency in Putney High Street at a rate of 85 words per minute. I proudly completed my first three-day release in two days, knocking the keys frantically, and found that my efficiency reduced the agency’s cost and my salary. I also learned—from a person who worked at a busy reception desk in a creepy, creepy uniform for a week—a lasting respect for people who deal with difficult customers and bosses, not just for one Summer, and it’s for life.

Holiday work teaches courses that schools cannot teach: the difficult grafting of making money and losing weight. Companies lament the lack of “employability” that many graduates and school leavers today lack. I like a job at a management consulting firm in Mayfair, London, because I can read my book under the table while answering the phone. Unfortunately, if multiple people arrive at the same time, I did not find out how to forward the call. I still remember the screams of the disbelieving senior partner, and I kept cutting off his clients in panic. I swear to always ask for help-never yell at anyone.

Until this year, vacation work seems to be disappearing. In the United States, the number of 16-19 year olds engaged in paid summer jobs fell from 51% in 2000 to 29% in 2010.In the UK, 43% of 16-17 year-olds were in 1997, but Halved by 2017. This may be partly due to the trend towards a large number of summer schools and voluntary services. But since my eldest son and their friends became teenagers, I began to believe that this was also the fault of the human resources department. They regard people under 18 as a health and safety hazard and will inevitably trip or chop their fingers. Even my most persistent godson, she went to every local cafe to find a job two years ago, and she fell into the harmful modern Article 22: You cannot find a job without “experience”, but you cannot find a job. No need to work to gain experience.

However, suddenly, these teenagers returned to their own state. This summer, in England, our boarders saw a new sight: eager pimples with tight smiles, seriously bringing our espresso to our table, or learning how to use the cash register . At a gastropub in Oxfordshire this week, a 15-year-old friendly guy served me, and they carefully carried our plates. The owner said that he likes the enthusiasm and dedication of teenagers who are eager to get out of the house, who stay with their parents during the pandemic. “They learned much faster than we expected,” he said a little apologetically.

A revolution in this attitude seems to be happening because employers have no choice. The shortage of adults, coupled with the large-scale reopening of shops and restaurants, is exacerbating the demand for flexible new employees. In Ireland, there are reports that a record number of secondary school students are filling seasonal jobs in agriculture and hospitality that were previously held by immigrants and adults currently receiving pandemic unemployment benefits. In the U.S, New York Times Call teenagers “the luckiest workers in America” ​​because they enter the hotel and retail industries where there are not enough adults willing to work. In April, a quarter of 100,000 American teenagers got a new job, the largest proportion of all age groups.

Only after the blockade and interruption of school education have brought them difficulties, we can appreciate the advantages of young people. This is fair. In addition, they seem to be making a lot of money. Friends of my children report that they can earn more than the minimum wage in a range of jobs and get incentives for jobs ranging from free food to vouchers.In the U.S., there are Decrease in unemployed youth According to a survey, this summer is more than at any time in the past sixty years, and their wages for working in the service industry have risen by more than 10%.

Contrary to its “snowflakes” label, we might think that this is an aggressive generation. Seeing that truck drivers are in great demand, some are even seeking HGV permits. Real, gritty work is a pale world away from most “work experience”. Longitudinal studies in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom show that teenagers who combine study with part-time work tend to have higher incomes and fewer periods of unemployment than their background and qualifications indicate as adults.

In retrospect, the days when I touched and typed seemed very weird. But the life lessons of vacation work are the same as before: the value of money, the importance of attitude, this has nothing to do with you, but with weight loss. I hope this summer is not just a flash in the pan, but to revive vacation work to its proper status. As a gift for children, they should have the opportunity to be in real work and in all human chaos.

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