Working a summer job because their parents told them to or for the want of extra cash is a typical past-time of teenagers—and high school is usually the time when many teenagers get their first job.
But finding that job has become an increasingly difficult task over the years. Yet even with the struggle, a few Bridgewater residents have been able to find work.
Lauren Kolavitch, 19—a nursing and psychology major at Ramapo College—works as a medical assistant for Somerset Pediatrics, and said she was “pretty much hired on the spot.”
Kolavitch said she had heard of the position from her father’s colleague, and began pursuing it last winter.
If she had not begun looking for a job as early as she did, Kolavitch said, she most likely would not have been hired.
While her search did not begin as early as Kolavitch’s, Natalia Rodriguez, 19, started looking for jobs over her spring break from State University of New York at Oneonta. Rodriguez was able to find a job at in the .
“Because I went earlier than everybody else, I was ahead of the game,” she said. “But there was definitely competition with people who live here.”
Rodriguez said she enjoys her job with its wide range of responsibilities, from dealing with customers to organizing the store and manning the cash register.
But Rodriguez is now currently looking for a second part-time job also in retail because she has decided to enroll at Raritan Valley Community College with the hopes of transferring to a different four-year university, possibly Montclair.
“It's better for me,” she said of her switch in colleges. “I get to keep my job.”
If she were going back to SUNY Oneonta, Rodriguez said, it would have been harder to find a job and continue working there on school breaks.
Taking a similar route to Kolavitch, 15-year-old Daniel Costello, a student at , said he looked for a job where he knew he already had some connections.
Costello works as a counselor at Day Camp Sunshine in Liberty Corner. He said he has been attending that camp since he was young and knows the people who work there—but without those connections, he said he probably would not have been able to get a job.
Kolavitch, Rodriguez and Costello all say that they are lucky to have found jobs as they see their friends struggling to find work.
Kolavitch said that one of her friends from college lost his job after high school because he would not be around all the time to work. Another friend of hers, who works as a lifeguard, has to travel about an hour for work after dealing with a cut-back in the number of pools at which he was originally hired to work.
Rodriguez said it was “relatively easy” for her to find a job but that it is hard for some people.
And 19-year-old Mary Gallagher, a chemical engineering major at the University of Illinois, did not have to search for a job this summer as she already had one. She has been working at As You Like It, an ice cream shop in Raritan, for a few years already.
“I don’t know where I would’ve worked if I didn’t have this,” she said, acknowledging that it has become extremely difficult to find a job since she has been hired at As You Like It.
Kolavitch said she believes it is mostly the economy’s fault for making it difficult to find a job, but that looking in the right field helps. She will also continue her work as a medical assistant, as she has already been hired for next summer and plans to work over her winter break.
But Kolavitch said that it is difficult to find a job overall because employers want a stable person who isn’t always going to be leaving for school. Luckily for her, she said, the medical field is always searching for people.
Rodriguez expressed similar trouble when describing how often she works. She said that because of the economy, “nobody’s buying anything” and that means workers cannot work a lot of hours.
Because she will now be staying in the area instead of returning to SUNY Oneonta, Rodriguez said she will be able to keep her job.
Ultimately however, Kolavitch said that a steady job is not an overall priority right now.
“Education is more important,” she said.