Classic Summer Jobs for Teens That Have Disappeared (and Some That Are Still Around)

Woman serving ice cream


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Woman serving ice cream

Teens for Hire

There was a time when teens could explore a wide range of job opportunities from delivering the newspaper to people’s doorsteps to handing golfers their clubs and complimenting their game to score a bigger tip. While some of the classic summer jobs for teenagers, like restaurant work, are still prominent today, there are a couple that have fallen to the wayside. 

Related: Jobs That Have Disappeared From American Life

Paperboy with bike throwing newspaper
Image Source/istockphoto

Newspaper Deliverer

Gone are the days of a rolled up newspaper landing on a front stoop while the paperboy rings the bell on his bike as he speeds off. Newspaper deliverers were once one of the most common jobs for kids and teens, but with the rise of the internet came the fall of the service these young entrepreneurs provided. Nowadays, most deliveries are done by adult drivers with a van or truck, and many people who still enjoy the tangible newspaper pick it up themselves while others read about current events online.

Related: Businesses That Are Disappearing

Car hop tray

Car Hop

Drive-in restaurants used to be all the rage. Teens could often find themselves a job as a carhop, delivering food to vehicles, sometimes while wearing roller skates — making things just a little bit more fun. There aren’t very many drive-in restaurants around anymore these days, and carhop jobs are even more scarce.

Related: 30 Classic Drive-In Restaurants That Are Still Going Strong

lawn mower cutting grass

Lawn Mower

There was a time when homeowners heard a knock at the door and opened it to find a young teenager with a smile on their face asking, “Do you need your lawn mowed?” And many people would eagerly accept whether they actually needed it done or not. While there are still some lawns that are maintained by hard-working teens, the task has been almost entirely taken over by professional landscaping or lawn-care companies.

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Blockbuster Store
Blockbuster Store by Stu pendousmat (CC BY-SA)

Video Store Clerk

Remember the good old days when you could go into Blockbuster on a Friday night and rent a handful of movies for the weekend (as long as you promised to rewind them before returning them)? Teenagers could often find jobs working as video store clerks, which was a pretty sought-after gig because they could pick which movies to play on the store TV — what teen wouldn’t want to watch movies throughout the entire duration of their shift? Alas, video stores have become a thing of the past thanks to the countless streaming services around today. 

Related: Big-Name Stores We've Lost in the Past Decade

Record high gasoline prices in San Francisco, California
Bjorn Bakstad/istockphoto

Gas Station Attendant

Nowadays, if a teenager came up to you as you pulled up to the pump at a gas station and asked you what type of gas you wanted for your fill-up and if you wanted anything from inside, you’d probably be pretty taken aback. But there was a time when teens could work as gas station attendants, tending to customers at the pump, filling their tanks, fetching refreshments from inside, and even checking their oil levels. These jobs are now a distant memory, and self-serve gas stations are the norm now.

Related: How Gas Stations Have Totally Transformed Over the Past Century

Golfer and Caddie playing golf.

Golf Caddy

Teens used to be able to work as golf caddies for the summer, toting around golf clubs for people and handing them their club of choice at each hole. The job was glamorized by “Caddyshack,” although the average teenage caddy didn’t see Bill Murray relentlessly trying to kill a gopher day in and day out during their shift. Caddy jobs are now pretty much exclusively offered at elite, private clubs — and even those jobs are hard to come by.

Related: If You Work These Jobs, You Don't Need to Hit the Gym

Bicycle messenger - commuter with messenger bag bicycle in Berlin delivering a parcel


Businesses used to hire teenagers to carry letters and deliver them to other businesses or customers. Thanks to email, texting, and the general advent of technology, the role is no longer a necessity and is almost entirely a thing of the past apart from some professional couriers that are still on the road.

Related: Products You Never Thought Would be Obsolete

Car Wash Worker

Car Wash Attendant

There are self-serve car washes, automated gas station washes, and a good old fashioned bucket of soap and hose at home. But there’s nothing quite like paying someone else to scrub your car before you put it in neutral and coast through the rest of your wash — and towel your ride off once it’s clean. Car washes have been hiring teens to scrub and dry vehicles for decades — often as summer help — with no end in sight.

Empty Lifeguard Chair on the beach


Lifeguarding is one of the higher paying jobs for teens. Teenage lifeguards can typically earn anywhere from $15-$20 an hour — but with higher pay comes greater responsibility. Not only do lifeguards need to be strong swimmers, they also need to be able to provide the appropriate care in an emergency situation. Because of their grueling job responsibilities, lifeguards undergo a training program (including CPR training) to become certified before they go on duty for the first time. The certification also has to be renewed to maintain the necessary skills and training. Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of lifeguards, so interested teens may have even more job opportunities this summer.

Have fun. Caucasian cute little girl spending time with african american baby sitter. They are playing with construction toys set, sitting on the floor


Teenagers make great babysitters. They are old enough to be responsible while still young enough to be relatable to the kids they watch. Plus, hiring a teen to hang out with your kids is a whole lot cheaper than going through a daycare center. Teenage babysitters have been prominent for decades and they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Rear view of baseball batter and catcher watching the pitch


Charged with officiating baseball games and observing game play to enforce rules, umpires (or “Blue” in baseball lingo) are responsible for making judgment calls. But you don’t have to be a seasoned, credentialed professional to score an umpire gig. Teenagers commonly serve as umpires, getting paid for each game.

male adult serving ice cream in gelato cafe
William Chua/istockphoto

Ice Cream Scooper

There are plenty of ice cream parlors that almost exclusively hire teens to scoop ice cream for the summer — and it’s been that way for decades. Scooping ice cream with friends all day and getting a complimentary cone at the end of your shift is, after all, a pretty ideal gig or a teen.

Related: Classic Soda Fountains That Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

Flower garden greenhouse

Greenhouse Worker

Greenhouse workers water plants, keep up on inventory, work the cash register, and help customers take their plants to their vehicles. Greenhouses are still and have always been a good go-to place for teens to seek employment, especially during summer months when most regions experience surges of business.

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