My son worked at a job for his fourth summer this year, and had, maybe, the hardest time. In some ways, he's certainly more mature and more skilled than when he started the summer before his freshman year in high school, but there was one factor I hadn't realized would throw him so for a loop.
Friends are great. Friends are what we want our kids to have. Friends are the people you feel comfortable with, the people with whom you can be yourself, the people who love you just as you are. And that's great when you're talking about kicking back with buddies after work.
At work, turns out they're a distraction. And an instigation to silliness.
My son's best buddy worked with him for the first time this year. He's a quiet guy who wants to do well, and helping him learn the ropes should have brought out the best in my guy. However, he also has a sneaky sense of humor and a way of very quietly saying silly things that my son cracks up over and repeats. It made for a pretty goofy five weeks of work.
We have some plans for work experiences lined up for my son this school year, and I'm worried whether the bossiness, self-talk, disrespect, and goofiness that marred his summer work experience will make those inadvisable. I hope that being friendless in those workplaces may keep him focused; and I hope that he won't always have to be among non-buddies to work well. Maybe that's something that will come with more maturity. For now, we'll keep friendship just for fun.