Most of us have memories of jobs we held as a teenager — either because the jobs were exceptionally fun or exceptionally awful.

I had a summer job that fit both categories.

The job was in a local department store, and it required just two days a week, 10 hours each day. I would unload the weekly shipment of products for the store during the morning of the first day, then spend the rest of that day and all of the next day putting price tags on those items.

If I wanted a few extra hours, they would let me assemble items for displays.

I thought the job was ideal, because I wanted to spend time with my friends, and this allowed me five-day weekends. The lack of hours didn't bother me, because I didn't need much spending money (gas was MUCH cheaper then!).

In other words, the large amount of time away from work was the good part of the job.

The awful part was sitting in a huge room, usually alone, putting price tags on the same items over and over again. And since this was before the iPod era, I had to listen to local radio, which played the same songs over and over again.

To this day, the smell of those $1 flip-flops you can get at discount stores turns my stomach.

That said, I was able to make enough money to meet my needs, and the experience taught me that I definitely didn't want to unload trucks or mark products for a living.

I was reminded of this experience recently when I received the results of the latest Junior Achievement Worldwide poll on teens' plans for summer work.

According to this "Teens and Summer Jobs Interprise Poll," 73.4 percent of teens planned to work this summer. And you'll be shocked to learn that more than one-third of them (34.2 percent) planned to seek retail or restaurant jobs.

I must admit that I never held a restaurant job, and I'm glad. Many of my friends did, and they rarely spoke of it in glowing terms. But I digress.

The poll said the top two reasons teens will be seeking jobs are, not surprisingly, "extra spending money" (29.5 percent) and "saving for college" (28.9 percent).

I found it interesting that saving for college was the primary reason for finding a job among girls, at 31.8 percent, while extra spending money was tops for boys, at 32.9 percent.

Aren't teenage boys planning on attending college? Or are their priorities solely focused on buying the latest video games? Hmmm.

Anyway, the poll also found that older teens were more likely to focus on college savings than younger ones. And it showed that teens are getting more from their summer jobs than just a paycheck.

When asked to choose from a list of "lessons learned" from summer jobs, 38.2 percent of teens responded that the most important was "responsibility," followed by "how to demonstrate leadership" at 23.4 percent and "the importance of teamwork" at 18.2 percent.

"And, perhaps the most gratifying finding for hard-working fast-food restaurant managers is that for teens who held summer jobs in 2006, nearly three-quarters — 72.8 percent — actually perceived their bosses as career mentors," the Junior Achievement release said.

So, managers, the pressure is on!

Junior Achievement said 818 students voluntarily participated in its poll, administered between March and April this year. Because the respondents were not randomly selected, no margin of error is available for the report.

But I think it's pretty accurate. The results match my thoughts and feelings about the summer work of my own teenage years.

Just keep me away from those flip-flops!

· · · · ·

On a different note, I'm sorry to report another departure from the Deseret Morning News business desk.

Dave Anderton is wrapping up his time at the News after spending the past six years as a business writer, covering in great detail topics as diverse as bankruptcy, real estate and the growth and development of the St. George area.

He has decided to try his hand at a completely different career, and we wish him the best. He will be missed!

In his absence, please direct any correspondence you planned to send his way — as well as any column questions — to me at gkratz@desnews.com or to the Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.


E-mail: gkratz@desnews.com