Remaining an “active employee” but not working

My daughter has been working at a franchise coffee shop (so the employer is a small business of three coffee shops not the gigantic parent chain). She started working at the beginning of the summer, this is her first job ever.

Now that summer is ending and school restarting she turned in her notice. The manager convinced her not to resign but to just notify them that she is no longer available to work regularly but might be during school vacations. That way she doesn’t have to go through the hiring and onboarding process to work a few days during the school year and possibly next summer.

Is there any downside to this from the employee’s point of view?

For a coffee shop type employee, no, there’s no downside. In fact it’s the same benefit that the employer gets. Since the employer doesn’t have to go through the hiring process again, if the employee wants to make money over break or next summer they are almost guaranteed a job and don’t have to job hunt.

For jobs that require more skill it might be an issue. In engineering for example, I have patent clauses and non-compete clauses in my work contract, so if I were to suddenly be offered a higher paying job at a competitor while I was technically an active employee, the non-compete clause would prevent me from being able to take it. If I were to file a patent during that time my company would also have full ownership of that patent (as long as it’s in my field of work).

Coffee shop employees aren’t likely to have these types of clauses in their employment contract, though unskilled laborers in some industries where the poaching of employees is common might have a non-compete clause in their contract. Union jobs might also have rules set up by the union that the employee might have issues with.

For most service industry jobs though there’s no downside at all.

An upside is that she can honestly say she was employed the whole time on her resume. That will look great compared to other kids her age when she starts applying for her first big jobs.

A potential downside is the manager calling her up in emergency situations to cover “just a few shifts.” Be wary of her being pressured in that way.

She wouldn’t mind pitching in in an emergency if she was really free (no homework/project pressure) no sports practice/matches, no math team events, no robotics team.

She’s an Asian [middle class] kid. Her full time job is getting straight As, making varsity golf and tennis and winning math contests. :slight_smile:

My grandson has such an arrangement with Trader Joe’s. He is trying to break into theater in Chicago. But when he got a gig directing a show in a Seattle area theater last winter, he was able to arrange to temporarily move his job there and now he is back in Chicago. If he got a full-time gig in Chicago, he would just take temporary leave. It is a good arrangement for both of them.

If you mean first jobs after college - not really. Sure, it’s nice that you worked in CVS or an ice cream shop or whatever in high school, but honestly, that’s so low on the list of priorities when hiring for a full time job that no one cares if you worked for the summer or all year. And it runs the (admittedly near-infinitesimal) risk that you’ll be caught in a lie - as in you weren’t actually working, you were just on the books.

My daughter has been working as a lifeguard/leader at our community pool through high school and now college. She was guaranteed a nearly full-time job over the summers and breaks, and made enough to cover a lot of her expenses (the ones we are not covering) during college. She is going to be a nurse, so the lifeguarding is kinda-sorta in her field. By not officially parting ways with the city (the employer), she has technically been on the payroll this whole time, but only getting hours when she is available. Yes, this is a good arrangement for young people with these sort of jobs during school.

Thank you! My opinion has always been not to work during college and even during summers, it’s probably better to try to something related to your major especially as you get older. Getting your degree, internships and leadership in campus groups shows me your work ethic more than your command of a headset working the drive thru.

I worked at Ontario’s “Beer Stores” starting in 1991. In late 1992, I got a job at a tech company, and turned in my notice to the Beer Store. They wouldn’t accept it.

“We want you as an active employee,” they said. “You know what you’re doing, you do customer service well, and even though you’ve got a full-time Monday-to-Friday job, we want you to be able to come back when you can.” So okay, I also worked in Ontario’s Beer Stores on weekends. Hey, I had nothing else to do, and it was a nice side gig.

I finally left the Beer Store in 1997. I’ve got some great memories of working there, but what is most important is that they wanted me as an “active employee” even after I got another job.

So, basically only hire rich kids. Very few young adults have the means and privilege to just go to school all the way through college, only take unpaid internships and never earn money. Also, I would find it really strange if someone makes to age 22 or later without ever having held a job or dealt with a work environment of any type. I guess when your wealthy parents can hook you up that doesn’t matter too much.

FWIW, I’ve worked since I was 14 and I’ve never used a headset, worked a drive through, or even fast food at all. That seems to be a stereotype some people have of young people who have to work for money.

To follow this up, the place my daughter used to work at is a train wreck now that school has opened. The lines on weekday mornings at the drive through are 20+ cars deep and there is a cop there to make sure no one can join the line after that because that would hold up travel on a state highway.

They begged her to come in and work on the weekend and she put in a three hour shift. But she’s not doing it again. If the customers were horrid during the summer, they’ve amped it up 10X now.

Being a student leader in a group or sport is more valuable than working some menial jobs, in my opinion. Also, internships don’t have to be unpaid and there’s definitely a move away from that.

Working in college was the dumbest decision I made, and one of the dumbest of my life. I did learn how to drink on the job, smoke weed and stay up too late. Thank God I finally put my foot down and told them that no working on Sunday meant that I wasn’t coming in regardless of you adding my name on the schedule on a Sunday night when I had school shit to do.

I had a part-time fast food job during college. I worked summers and Christmas holidays, and was basically “dormant” the rest of the time. Worked out well for me.

There’s no downside as far as I can see. However, since your daughter was working for a chain of three coffee shops , I’m not sure what the advantage was for the owner - I don’t think I’ve known anyone who worked for a small business that had a formal onboarding ( and off-boarding) process.

If the owner/manger seem nice/laid back, it’s probably fine. It probably really is just so they don’t have to go through whatever corporate requires of them when an employee leaves/quits and they don’t have to onboard them just for her to pick up a shift here and there.
OTOH, if the owner is an asshole, depending on corporate guidelines and UI laws for the state, there’s probably ways for it to be used against her. I’m picturing them calling her to pick up some shifts during a busy season (ie December) and then firing her for not showing up. But if an employee isn’t going to be working, most employers would rather have them quit than have to fire them, easier all around (for the employer).

The other potential benefit for the employer is that for certain types of covid assistance, you have to keep your employment numbers up since the assistance is given to you based on you retaining employees, but I doubt that’s the case here. I’m really guessing it’s just the offboarding/onboarding.

Anyway, benefits for the employer aside, I wouldn’t worry about it. If it presents itself as a problem, just have her write a letter says “I’ve enjoyed my time working here. This is my resignation, effective immediately” and drop it off.

The only thing I’d add, is if that if you are on any kind of government assistance (state funded health insurance/food stamps/low income housing etc) or there’s financial assistance being used for college, her still being employed there may play into that. I’ve had to write notes for people previously employed by me saying that they were no longer employed because whoever is reviewing the case will consider it a source of income unless you can show you no longer work there.

TLDR, it’s fine, if it’s a problem, she can officially quit. Plus, it’s nice to know she can pick up a shift here and there if she wants. Also, she should consider it a complement. When employees leave for college, it tends to be either ‘bye Felicia’ or ‘you’ll always have a job here if you want it, if you’re home for the weekend or during Christmas/spring break/next summer, let me know if you want to work’. Your daughter is clearly the latter.

We hire 20-30 interns each summer and with the exception of one woman all of them had jobs at some point in their lives. But you’re right, for the most part we didn’t really care about those jobs because they had nothing to do with the field these young people wanted to start a career in. We cared more about their courses and the projects they worked on in school than we did their job at Pizza Hut or Starbucks.