COVID-19 cancelled your summer job—now what?

Alternative options for making money during the coronavirus pandemic


Photo courtesy of Paul Whaley.

Senior Paul Whaley, an employee at Jet’s Pizza, is one of many people who have continued to work during the COVID-19 pandemic at essential businesses. Applying for a job at an essential business is one alternative way for teens who have lost a different job due to the coronavirus to make money. Whaley explained how his job has changed significantly since the pandemic began, since the restaurant has “switched to curbside pickup to minimize contact for everyone…allowed for customers to choose a contactless delivery option, [and] we all have to be wearing masks and gloves.”

   Getting a summer job is a common way for high school students to make money in their free time. But what do you do when a summer job is no longer possible? Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 31 percent of surveyed SHS students have already been laid off from their summer jobs, and many more are still uncertain about whether they will be able to work. Fortunately, no job does not have to mean no money.  There are several options students can still do, even in these unprecedented times.


  • Babysit


   With kids out of school and many parents likely continuing to work from home, babysitters may be needed this summer more than ever. You can see if any neighbors or families you know are in need of a babysitter, or try to find a job or advertise your services in online neighborhood groups such as Next-door Neighbor.


  • Apply to work at an “essential business”


   While many common businesses are currently closed and not in need of employees, you could apply to work in places that will remain open, such as Kroger, fast food restaurants, and other stores. This option inherently brings more risk since it requires increased contact with others; however, businesses are taking many measures to ensure the safety of their employees.

   Senior Paul Whaley, who works at Jet’s Pizza, said for those looking for an alternative to their normal summer job, he “would recommend to try to get a job at an essential business,” however, finding one could be difficult as “a lot of managers have to deal with extra responsibilities and concerns right now and their stores might already be cutting hours for the workers they have already.” Whaley noted that working during a pandemic has been very different due to changes in the restaurant’s busyness and new safety measures.


  • Be a driver for a food delivery company such as Door Dash


   Door Dash is an app that allows people to get food from many restaurants delivered to their house. Drivers for the app accept orders in their area and deliver the food. Drivers get to keep 100% of the delivery fee plus any tips and some can earn $15-$25 per hour, which makes it a fairly high paying option for teens. However, you must be 18 or older in order to work for the app.


  • Offer services such as dog walking or doing yard work


   As a common alternative to the traditional summer job, it is usually not difficult to find someone willing to pay for services like yard work. Additionally, this type of job can be done no matter what circumstances arise due to COVID-19.


  • Run an Etsy shop


   For creative teens, selling homemade products on Etsy is a great way to make money. There are a variety of items you could create and sell, from personalized paintings to jewelry. While Etsy requires its users to be at least 18 to run their own shop,  but minors can sell on the website under the supervision of a parent or guardian.


  • Sell your clothes on social media


   During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have used their free time to clean their closets. If you find you have lots of clothes you no longer want but are in good condition, consider selling them on social media. You can make an account dedicated to selling clothes and post photos and prices for the clothing. Although this option is not one that will necessarily last throughout the summer, it is a good, quick way to make a bit of extra money.