Get to work

Why students should get a job


By Sophie Werwage

Having a job is a popular extra-curricular activity for CHS students. Nearly 30 percent of all high schoolers are employed at some point during the year.

Perhaps the most important lessons are learned outside of high school. Sure, the multi-disciplinary curriculum gives students a well-rounded base of knowledge, but it does little for them in the way of applicable life skills and adult experiences. To make up for this gap, students should work a part-time job.

The most alluring aspect of work for teens is, of course, the money. Currently, the state minimum wage is $12 per hour, with annual dollar increases planned until it reaches $15. If a student works 20 hours a week, the money starts to add up quickly with a monthly income of about $1000 per month before taxes (which low earning students can regain.) Even if just during the summer, this money can make a big difference whether a student is saving it, spending it or helping to support their family. While earning some cash makes life more enjoyable, it also has the potential to teach students some key financial lessons such as saving and budgeting. If teens get a head start with these skills in high school, they will be exponentially more ready for whatever lies ahead after graduation.

Jobs also give students the opportunity to develop communication skills that will help them later in life. Learning how to interview and interact with bosses at a relatively young age sets teens up for success later in life. By developing these skills now, they make themselves more hirable in the future.

High school jobs also help with resume building. Many jobs require or prefer previous work experience which can be taken care of with a part-time job. Working diligently at this job can also earn students references from their bosses which could help them in the future as well.

Jobs also expand teens’ social circles. Many workplaces hire from various high schools around the area so employees have the chance to meet and befriend others who they may have never met otherwise.

Working gives students a taste of freedom and independence from their parents. When teens have their own income they depend less on their parents for certain things and have the freedom to spend their money as they wish. This prepares them for adulthood and moving out in the future.

Holding a part-time job also helps teens build work ethic. Jobs are a big commitment and require showing up on time and to every shift. In order to stay employed. Students must also work hard in order to keep their jobs, or at least stay on their bosses’ good side. This is different (but related to) scholastic work ethic and can only be understood on the clock.

Students: do you have a job?

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Many students (and their parents) hesitate from seeking employment because of the commitment. While it is true that jobs take much time and effort, many establishments that hire teens are flexible with hours. They understand that today’s youth are busy with school, sports, clubs, volunteering, social life, etc. Many will even let their young employees just work weekend shifts so they can focus on their other commitments during the week. In addition, the government regulates minor labor so that Californians under 18 cannot work more than 4o hours a week during the summer and 18 hours during the school week. Overall, it is very possible to maintain strong academic performance and honor prior commitments while working.

Everyone should experience a part-time job at some point. They teach employees so much about finance, communication, the world and life in general. Workers also have the chance to make money, meet new friends, develop skills and experience, and build character. Contrary to what some parents and students believe, jobs supplement schoolwork, not distract from it. By focusing entirely on school, a student’s education is incomplete. To fix that, they need to get to work.