Working in High School

Marissa Beaver, Reporter

Many teenagers have jobs while they are in high school, for a variety of different reasons. Some teens have jobs because they want extra spending money while others have jobs because they have no other choice, due to living circumstances. According to Child Trends, twenty percent of high school students are employed. While this may not seem like a lot, the reasons behind this employment rate make sense.

Sophomore Mia Contreras has been working at Mad Cow for about a year. She describes why students should begin working while they are in high school.

“It teaches students how to handle multiple things at one time and how to balance everything out,” Contreras stated.

Senior Yarelly Laguna shared a similar opinion to Contreras. Laguna has had three jobs during her high school career. She believes that everyone should begin working in high school for several reasons.

“I think that everybody should start working in high school, personally, if you want to have money to start paying for your own things. I know that once you hit sophomore year and junior year when you get your car, you have to buy gas so I recommend it,” Laguna said.

Contrary to Laguna and Contreras, sophomore Marissa Moore does not have a job.

Most people don’t have jobs for a variety of different reasons. This may include not having proper transportation, the inability to find or get a job, not having the time for a job, and more.

“I can’t drive myself to work and my parents don’t have time to drive me to a job. I babysit my siblings a lot so I just don’t have time,” Moore explained.

People also may have a different source of income that doesn’t involve a regular job. For example, receiving an allowance from your parents every week or month.

Moore expressed a different opinion to Contreras and Laguna when considering the argument that all high school students should have jobs.

“It should depend on the person, whether or not they can handle a job or if they have the time. And of course, if they are already mature enough and know what they want to do then why work,” Moore expressed.

Deciding where to work can be another challenge for high school students. Contreras and Laguna both explained that they chose where to work partly on how much they get paid. Contreras initially obtained her job at Mad Cow because her dad knows the owner, but has decided to look for a job elsewhere, in order to get paid more.

“I’m about to get another job. I had an interview so it’s looking good. I don’t like working in a fast food place anymore so I want a change and I will make more money at a new job,” Contreras said.

Laguna is a server and describes how her job relates to the amount of money she receives.

“I tried to find a job that pays pretty good instead of just minimum wage. I work as a server so of course I will be getting paid minimum wage but with the tips, it helps a lot,” Laguna stated.

During the summer, students are less focused on their academics and typically have more free time. This may lead to the understanding that there should be a higher amount of employment for high school students during the summer. According to NGPF, about thirty percent of 16 to 19 year olds work during the summer. This is higher than the rate of employment during the school year, but not extremely higher. Contreras and Laguna explain the different opinions about summer jobs.

“I do not like working in the summer because I would rather be doing other things and during the school year I don’t have anything to do,” Contreras explained when thinking about the difference in activities she could do, due to the circumstances of the seasons.

Laguna explained some of the benefits to working during the summer. Her opinion seemed opposite to that of Contreras’.

“I work more during the summer since I pretty much don’t have anything to do. I think it would be much easier to work during the summer because you can stay home and rest instead of just being at school for eight hours and then going to work. And you can make more money, you can put more hours in than just three or four hours after school,” Laguna expressed.

Students have different experiences with working in high school, whether it is that they do not work at all because they are too busy and don’t have the transportation, or that they are able to go to work and make spending money. Every student is very different and the factor of working in high school is just another representation of these differences.