A recent paper from economists Charles Baum and Christopher Ruhm found that for a cohort of kids who had jobs in the late 1970s, working for 20 hours a week in the senior year of high school yielded an 8.3 percent wage boost over their non-working high school buddies. For those who had jobs two decades later, in the late 90s, the boost was only 4.4 percent. This was true even when the researchers controlled for family background characteristics and student ability.
The left (and non-neo conservatives) love to extol the virtues of deferring education for ‘work experience’ because such experience is supposed to be useful later in life. Well, according to the above article, it turns out those kids are just wasting their time with crappy, pointless jobs and earning peanuts when they could be learning valuable skills like coding, engineering and math – skills that pay six figures or even millions by being a part of a successful start-up.
Traditional, low paying jobs are terrible, full of rules and regulations for both the employee and the employer. Why should we hold it against young people who choose to opt out of it? The left says young adults need workplace experience , yes, in the lowest paying jobs they do, because workers have to follow orders perfectly, but when you go to white collar things tend to be much more lenient, and to get such a job requires more advanced skills like coding, math, writing and engineering. Look at Google…do they care if you come to work with a funny hat, a comic book T-shirt, and a beard? Or if you go to sleep in the middle of the day? Many service sector jobs will fire you for that, or at least give you a warning and make you change into their stuffy uniform and make you shave. A young person who learns advanced math and programing will have better career prospects and a lot more fun in the process than someone who forgoes those skills to have many small, crappy jobs.
Work for the sake of work is the antiquated, FDR-era liberal way of seeing things. The old left, being pro-union and socialist, wanted to put as many people to work as possible, even if the jobs were redundant and didn’t create economic value, because the workers would be loyal to the party. It’s good for the economy and the future wages of these millennials to defer work experience in favor of education and other intellectual skills. Unless you learn to specialize at a good paying skill, toiling away for years doing low-skilled jobs for little pay won’t get you ahead in the 21st century economy. We should teach young people valuable money-making skills such as how to buy stocks and real estate investing. Those who are smarter should learn the aforementioned skills, along with STEM skills.
To reform our public education system, we need stop trying to impose rigorous education standards on the dullards, or those who occupy the left-side of the bell curve. Encourage them to graduate at 8th grade and skip high school. They, unlike the higher IQ students, would benefit from crappy, low paying jobs because that is their future, so they may as well get a head-start. This will also boost national test scores.