Motivating our Youth: Employment and Prosperity

Updated on April 5, 2019
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Alex has taught at two public schools, been accepted into two honorary societies, and traveled the Americas and Europe. He has his A.A.



Motivating our Youth: Employment and Prosperity

Alexander J Guckenberger

Harford Community College


Adolescents are more capable than the stereotype would suggest. Those people who possess jobs during their youth possess advantages both during their adolescence and later in life. Among said advantages include easier transition into the responsibilities of adulthood, tendencies to be happier, and (perhaps most important of all) the increased thrive to succeed that seems to be increasingly necessary in our society.


The youth of a generation are too often thought of as being lazy, incapable, and not ready for adult responsibilities. For example, that today’s young people are not yet prepared to enter the labor force. However, there is research that would suggest otherwise. Those people who work during their transition from childhood to adulthood are more likely to go through this process with greater ease than those who do not, these people have a tendency to be happier, and (most important to many of our concerns) these young people often receive a greater thrive to be a successful member of their respective society.

The responsibilities of adulthood are many and vast. Adolescents are at a crucial time when they have an opportunity to begin to make their complete transformation into a functioning adult much easier than those who start with this venture well into adulthood. They are at a time wherein they can obtain important skills during their schooling that can and should help them along in their career. According to The Educational and Personal Consequences of Adolescent Employment “... students employed in jobs where they can develop skills may experience less unemployment and higher wages in their early labor-market experience…” (Schoenhals, Tienda, & Schneider, 1998, p. 726). This life building experience is also not uncommon as “[b]y their senior year in high school, 80% of all adolescents have held… jobs” (Mael, & Morath, 1997, p. 351). Twenty percent is a significant number when applied to human beings that are not participating in a major life building experience. However, optimism triumphs with the realization “... that young people are participating in paid work at younger ages…” (McDonald, & Graham, 2011, p. 48).


Known to many, work can help one to feel happy and emotionally satisfied. This is true of all people, however it is especially true of the adolescent. Young men and women need emotional stability during their earlier years and jobs can help to provide this internal necessity to them. The lack of jobs available to adolescents in Africa has been referred to as “human misery” (Anyanwu, 2013, p. 107). The implication is clearly that the reverse should be that increased increased youth employment would increase the joys of those on their way to adulthood. One academic journal informs its audience that “youth employment… leads to better social equalities” among many other positive outcomes (Anyanwu, 2013, p. 108).

It is not unknown to many adults that contributions to society and the desire for personal betterment are generally thought of as positive qualities to be had by a given person. People who gain employment during their younger years are more likely to develop such qualities long before those who have a much later start within the World of employment. This was evidenced when “it was shown that those who work during school are generally also more successful in various aspects of high school endeavor” (Mael, & Morath, 1997, p. 364). One group of scholars go so far as to state for some adolescents “having a job may be indicative of positive youth development including aspirations to improve one’s circumstances” (Leventhal, Graber, & Brooks-Gunn, 2001, p. 298). There even exists evidence that certain forms of adolescent employment “is positively associated with high school completion” and that such “findings suggest… beneficial effects of adolescent employment on educational attainment… “ (Leventhal, Graber, & Brooks-Gunn, 2001, p. 301). Young people can be crowned with the sovereignty that is ready to be accessed with the aid of early employment.


Employed adolescents find personal growth into adulthood much easier, they are emotionally more positive, and they are far more success oriented at an earlier than those young people who are not employed during their adolescence. If we, as a global society, so desire the best for coming generations, then we should consider inspiring our World’s children to grow into capable adults by prompting them to enter the workforce.


Anyanwu, J. C. (2013). Characteristics and Macroeconomic Determinants of Youth Employment in Africa. African Development Review, 25(2), 107-129. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8268:2013.12019.x

Leventhal, T., Graber, J. A., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2001). Adolescent Transitions to Young Adulthood: Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences of Adolescent Employment. Journal Of Research On Adolescence (Wiley-Blackwell), 11(3), 297.

Mael, F. A., & Morath, R. A. (1997). Dimensions of Adolescent Employment. Career Development Quarterly, 45(4), 351-368.

McDonald, P., & Graham, T. (2011). Researching employment relations. Youth Studies Australia, 30(2), 48-56.

Schoenhals, M., Tienda, M., & Schneider, B. (1998). The Educational and Personal Consequences of Adolescent Employment. Social Forces, 77(2), 723-762.

'Youth' by Matisyahu

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Alexander James Guckenberger


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      • Guckenberger profile imageAUTHOR

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        5 days ago from Maryland, United States of America

        DW Davis,

        Thank you so much for your positive input. College was a great experience. I'm sure you're very proud of your sons. :)

      • DWDavisRSL profile image

        DW Davis 

        5 days ago from Eastern NC

        Both of my sons worked at various jobs during their high school years and have since gone on to success in college and rewarding careers, so I can fully endorse the points you made in your Hub.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hi, Alex, thanks.

      • Guckenberger profile imageAUTHOR

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        2 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

        I appreciate you as well. :)

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hello, Alexander, I appreciated you.

      • Guckenberger profile imageAUTHOR

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        2 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

        I very much appreciate your very detailed response my good friend. :)

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hello, Alexander, my profound pleasure in reading your story on motivating the youth with employment. Today's youth are not lazy but very hard-working than the adults of yesteryears. Can we say that American's Microsoft Chief executive was lazy in his youths? Can we correctly say that Alico Dangote of Africa was a lazy guy in his youth? These two wonderful personalities typified today's generation. They are inspirational and the train is moving.

        But the main problem is the governmental decision in neglecting our youths. Yesterday, I read an online story that out of 100 university graduates in Nigeria, only one get a job! To me, that is the hardest thing to understand.

        Two days, ago my partner is telling me about a relatively new neighbor. She was a university graduate and just married. Her husband a taxi driver just sent her to learn sewing work! or skill acquisition. It would have been understanding if the actual ratio of unemployment of graduate to a job is 2000-1 in Nigeria!

        If you go to certain government departments and agency, you will notice one person doing 3 jobs or more!

        I had been a civil servant for over 34 years before I retired voluntary, and I know the full story. Bottom line: politician does not help matters in employment opportunities. That is why too much unrest and insecurity pervades in Nigeria.

        Your article as a special mark. You are the only one to mention Africa and its problem. Others may only be writing of Europe, America, and so on. But neglected Beautiful Africa. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy the day.


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