As a kid, my weekly paper round was back-breaking work. Sunday was the worst as the papers were the heaviest of the week with more and more supplements. My particular route also included the steepest hill in town.
I’d blow my pay on Top Deck, Monster Munch and Minstrels, before cycling home. Done and dusted for another week.
It was a big commitment for a twelve-year-old though - and my family will tell you I moaned constantly about doing it. But I’d like to think it, and my subsequent Saturday job at Waitrose, started to instil in me a sense of regular work meaning regular reward.
Now, youngsters are reported to be turning their Millennial backs on regular weekend jobs and instead taking a more relaxed approach to earning pennies for their piggy banks.
The recent study shows they prefer to take on casual work - sometimes sourced through apps – meaning they work when and how it suits them. Shop jobs and paper rounds are out – ad hoc money spinners from odd jobs, such as cleaning and dog walking are in.
This is all perhaps indicative of how the gig economy is re-shaping the wider world of work.
Politicians hate the concept of zero hours contracts – and they’re an easy target for some very sound reasons – but they are a good fit for some people. Now it seems this more casual approach is engaging kids too. They’re embracing paid work in the way that best suits them and their lifestyles. No argument there.
That all said, committing to the discipline of regular, contracted employment as a youngster does set you up for later life. Generally, the jobs offering the best prospects and rewards are those that expect you to – initially at least – commit to a timetable that is largely set by others.
There will always be room for more internet entrepreneurs to disrupt our consumer behaviour, so in many ways this is a trend we need to welcome. But equally, we don’t need everybody to become Uber drivers and Deliveroo bikers – valuable though they are.
We should ensure young people consider the full range of working opportunities that are still available to them, be it a regular Saturday job or casual work as and when it suits them. Those newspapers won’t deliver themselves.