High School Employment: Too Soon or Not Soon Enough?

Leah Heyman , Features Editor

High school is a whirlwind of emotions, responsibilities, heartache, and joy. Most teenagers consider attending school to be a full time job that leaves no room for anything else. Thus arises the question, does the overwhelming amount of time that school consumes allot for students to step out into the world of employment?


There are various perspectives on this controversial question; the first being that teenagers learn the value of responsibility through early employment. Whether your family is struggling financially, your parents are requiring you to get a job, or you just really want that extra pocket change, getting a job during high school has a laundry list of benefits. While time consuming, working while going to school teaches a student the true value of money. After you’re on your feet for eight consecutive hours, that shopping trip does not seem quite as appealing anymore, and that fifty dollars you spent on food last week is suddenly disgusting. Rather than relying on mom and dad for all of your recreational funds, you are finally able to cover yourself, which, admittedly, is an empowering feeling.


Not only does working while in high school teach you a thing or two about money, but it also re-enforces the importance of responsibility and cooperation in order to achieve success. Working under a manager who lays out the rules strictly allows for minimal wiggle room, thus emphasizing one’s ability to follow directions promptly–an essential asset to have before entering the real world.


Whether you are working for the local library, the nearest pizza joint, or the closest grocery store, you are going to be forced to work with and rely on other employees each day in order to run the operation smoothly. Working efficiently with others is one skill that will guide you successfully in whichever career path that you choose for the remainder of your life. “Getting a job during high school was my parents’ idea, but I don’t mind it at all. It keeps my schedule busy and my wallet full,” comments Cachet Blankenship (12). For those who do not mind the hectic schedules, lessons in morality, and full wallets, staying employed in high school is recommended.


However, on the other side of the spectrum lie the people who view working during high school as a waste of time, youth, and energy. Why get a job during high school–supposedly, the time of your life–when you are going to be slaving away at a job for the remainder of your life after college?


You will never be as young as you are at this very moment, so why waste your youth following directions and getting paid minimum wage? Natalie Samaniego (12) admits that she “has never wanted to work during high school because [she] wants to cherish every moment that [she] can, until [she] is given no other option but to work.” Life is incredibly short, thus this perspective does present a compelling argument as to why the idea of high school employment is premature.


Besides time and effort, a job demands a great deal of mental strength as well. Some argue that students will put aside school work because of the fatigue caused by their long shifts at work. Meanwhile, students are not focusing on their studies which should get them into a well credited college, which will ultimately secure them a job with a steady income.


Although both perspectives seem to have their strong points and weaknesses, whether a student is employed or not is often entirely a personal choice. Given the situation, making money at a young age may be the only choice. However, to those who are blessed enough to have the option to become employed or enjoy every minute of their youth, think deeply and be sure to weigh the pros and cons. High school is four years of your life that you will never get back Mustangs, do it right.