Harold's wife couldn't get a job because she was over a certain age and nobody wanted to hire her except as a token old person to head off discrimination lawsuits.

But token old person jobs didn't really pay very well, less in fact than low-insurance-risk but not-all-that-dependable cheap teenage labor jobs. Evidently, if a teen didn't show up for work nobody noticed. Harold's youngest was in this labor category and he worked for the state.