A high school job may seem harmless. “It’s just a way to make a few extra bucks,” they say. Teens like the extra spending cash, and parents enjoy not having to give money out of their pocket.
Working teenagers have an advantage on their non working peers because they have an understanding of how the world outside of school works. Working teens learn the importance of saving money, balancing checkbooks and setting financial goals–different from spending your parents money without forethought.
“Now I can pay for anything that I want, and other kids have to ask their parents for money all the time…I don’t,” said Tannki Sumlin, junior.
Employed teens are also able to learn the importance of time management and are able to appreciate free time more. Working after school can be stressful for teenagers who are thinking about tests and quizzes. Learning how to manage this stress can be difficult.
“It can be hard to get all your homework done working 4-5 days a week, but eventually I can accomplish it by putting my mind to it and managing my time,” said Jordan Bowden, sophomore.
Teenagers who obtain a job also learn about communication skills. This prepares teens for the world ahead of them, teaching them how to deal with issues such as social relations.
There are also many negatives that come with working during the school week. High school requires a lot of dedication and time in order to be successful. By working during the school week, teens are not able to invest enough time into their homework or their studies.
“During the school day I would work from 3 to 10 and then would have to come home and do two hours of homework…and some nights it was so late, I just couldn’t do it,” said Graham Holmes, junior. “Working weekends isn’t that bad, but lifeguarding all day on a Sunday can be really tiring, and you don’t really want to do your homework after.”
Middle Earth, a website dedicated to young adult issues, stated in a recent study on working teens: “Students who work more than 20 hours a week have grade point averages that are lower than other students who work 10 or less hours a week.”
Teens are driven to work because of the desire for money and responsibility. As a result, teens sacrifice their school time for working, dropping their grades significantly.
‘“But you make a lot of money, and that kind of makes up for it,” said Holmes.