Some teenagers see their first job as an opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zone and try something new and challenging. For shy teens and teens with anxiety, a part-time job might seem scary and something they would rather avoid. But for when your anxious teenager is ready for their first job, we have created a list of “low key” ideas to assist. We have included some jobs you might not have thought of and are unlikely to appear on any other of the usual lists.
While we have written this resource for parents, if you are are reading this as a teenager, then we sincerely hope this provides you with some ideas along with the confidence to reach beyond your comfort zone.
Good Jobs For Teens with Anxiety
Dog walker or pet sitter
Being a dog walker or pet sitter is a job with limited social interaction. Animal care is excellent for anxious and shy teens because it allows them to focus on the animal and distracts them from the little human interaction it might involve. It might also allow you as a parent to scaffold those initial interactions to help build their confidence.
Being a Babysitter is the type of work that can start with family and friends, lending itself to a gentle approach when managing awkward social settings.
Lawn mowing and weed pulling
Lawn mowing and weed pulling is a great first gig and limit teenagers to an odd one-on-one conversation with adults. Put some flyers in the neighbours’ letterboxes and go from there!
Deliverer of things
Delivery service providers for franchises such as Dominos or even local flyer delivery services are always looking for young people to deliver their goods.
Kmart might seem a little out of place on this list, but they have an incredible reputation for supporting young people in their retail stores. They are known for trying to help kids with social anxieties by placing them in less forward-facing jobs (if they can). The work environment is encouraging and is a good job for kids who are a little on the shy side. Find out more about Kmart Jobs.
Content writers are in demand and platforms like ProBlogger and Upwork make it easy for freelance writers (young and old) to make good money. As teens mature, they can develop these skills and become technical writers or write for specific niches, which can help lift their pay rate.
Social media helper
Social media support might seem like a grown-up type of job, but often younger people have a better grasp of social media platforms than small business operators. I know what you are thinking – how will they get a job like this? Talk to family and friends, specifically those that run their own businesses. Offering to post on Instagram or even answer messages at a fair wage is likely to be quite attractive. This role is also a solid career path toward becoming a social media manager in the future.
Being a graphic designer requires training, but that doesn’t mean teenagers can offer their digital skills in the meantime. Programs like Canva means anyone can become a business owner and design invitations to sell on places like Etsy or even locally on community Facebook pages.
Data Entry roles are well paid for fast typists and require ZERO customer interaction face to face and the job is done in the comfort of your own home, often on your schedule! Almost 100% of the roles are remote and interviews will be by email (though interviews are rare too and typing speed matters more). If your child is okay at typing (most kids are), invest in a learn-to-type package and get them to spend 10 minutes each morning on this skill.
A library assistant role can be an excellent choice for anxious people especially if they are book lovers. It may be worth seeing if they can volunteer at the local library first to gain some valuable experience with less pressure to perform.
How to help your anxious teenager get a job
- Get them excited about it.
- Don’t push them if they aren’t ready.
- Listen to their apprehensions and better still, write them down.
- Help them find places that are hiring.
- Please encourage them to fill out their applications on their own.
- Assist them in getting their resume in order.
- Prepare them for their interviews.
- Write out a list of possible jobs until they find an excellent fit for themselves.
- Acknowledge their fears and take their mental health issues seriously.
- Acknowledge any physical symptoms of anxiety and help them to work through the feelings.
- When you find the job they might be interested in applying to, visiting several times prior can be helpful in increasing their comfort level. For example, if they are considering applying at the local fish and chip shop, order from there a few times, let them go in and collect the order etc.
Build their self-esteem
- Help them discover their talents.
To combat your shy teen’s self-doubt, help them focus on what they are good at and what they enjoy. They can then look into finding jobs around these skills and areas of interest, those they are most likely to follow through on and enjoy.
- Offer lots of praise and positive reinforcement.
A shy teen’s ego does not handle comparison and criticism well. You want to be honest with your teen in a kind and compassionate manner while encouraging them to try new things. The best way to do so is through praise and positively reinforcing their efforts and achievements. Your approval can incentivise trying new things and meeting new people, making it easier each time!
- Give them responsibility around the home and outside the home.
Get them to help with the grocery shopping and pulling weeds and celebrate their success when they do a good job or put in a great effort. Show them that hard work matters most.
We like this article from Maggie Dent https://www.maggiedent.com/blog/why-we-need-to-teach-our-teens-how-to-handle-stress/
Practice social skills
- Provide your teen with situations where they meet new people.
Supporting opportunities like volunteering, attending neighbourhood gatherings and even attending school social events will make a difference to their self-confidence.
- Practice their assertiveness skills with them.
Every job will require some basic level of interaction with people, which means your teen will need to assert themselves at some point. It’s common for shy teens to have difficulties expressing their emotions, especially the uncomfortable kind. Start by creating a safe space for your teen to express emotions like anger, sadness and discomfort and then help them develop the vocabulary to express those emotions appropriately.
- Help them advocate for themselves.
Resist the urge to speak on behalf of your teen in day-to-day life. Let them order their own meals and make their own appointments. These little things will make them feel more self-sufficient, which will come in handy when it’s time to apply for jobs and carry out their duties.
- Role play job interviews but don’t overdo it. We suggest doing this when you are driving them in a car. It is amazing how kids are more willing to communicate in a car- it’s like magic!
Volunteering is usually considered a selfless act in which you commit yourself to a worthy cause without pay. For anxious teenagers, however, volunteering opportunities can offer personal benefits.
- Volunteering is empowering.
Seeing that their actions and contributions can have positive real-world effects on others helps boost a shy teen’s self-confidence.
- Volunteering encourages self-discovery.
The potentially short-term and low-stakes nature of volunteering means kids can try out a wide range of interest areas without feeling tied down. Sometimes teens find their true calling and passion in life during their volunteering years.
- Volunteering involves talking to new people.
Meeting people outside of their usual circles at school and home might help shy teens explore their personalities in a new light. Some of these relationships forged over a common cause even end up lasting a lifetime.
Here are some sites to browse through for volunteer opportunities in Brisbane:
Being a shy and anxious teenager is hard. Despite all your best efforts, it might take time for your teenager to be confident enough to get their first job. Challenges can be compounded if they have a social anxiety disorder, they are on the autism spectrum or they have a disability.
If they get a new job, don’t take your foot off the pedal in terms of support because anxiety symptoms may continue for some time. Offer positive reinforcement and be prepared for a period of adjustment where there will be good days and bad. The first day will be hard for both you and them.