In the US, there is constant discussion about minimum wage and little recognition that those jobs are just that - a minimum wage and not a career. They are for young people and people starting out, it isn't expected that minimum wage is the goal.

Instead, minimum wage should be the reason to do better. The ocean does not rise to wherever you want to put your boat. Young people who recognize what a minimum wage summer job is tend to do have more fulfillment later. 

A UBC Sauder School of Business paper that teenagers who work at summer or evening jobs gain a competitive advantage later in life. Teens in part-time jobs progress to better-suited careers since early exposure to low-paying work helps them hone their preferences. They also enhance their soft skills, acquire better references and learn how to job-hunt more successfully – establishing wider career networks.

The more hours that 15-year-olds work, particularly during the school term when they have to learn to manage their time, the better their career prospects, according to the paper. The study showed benefits arose from working up to as much as 33 hours per week during the school year or 43 hours during summer.

"With summer in full swing and kids sitting on the couch, parents are wondering whether to push them to find a job," says Sauder professor Marc-David L. Seidel, who co-authored the work. "Parents may think that their kids could do better than a job at the local fast food joint. But our study shows even flipping burgers has value – particularly if it leads to part-time work later during school term."

Researchers used data from the Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey. This represented 246,661 15-year-old Canadian teenagers, looking at their work history over a 10-year period beginning at age 15 and ending at 25 in 2009.

"Adolescent labor has been stigmatized as exploitative with many parents opting to put their kids in summer camp rather than summer jobs," says Seidel. "However, our research shows that working can offer educational and developmental opportunities that prepare adolescents for the real world."