teen high school student working part time

Part Time Jobs Not What They Used to Be, Should Your Teen Even Have One?

Posted on Posted in Blog, High School Scholar, Parenting's Not Easy

Part Time Jobs Not What They Used to Be, Should Your Teen Even Have One?

Did you have a job when you were a teenager?  At the tender age of 13 my mama brought me home a job application.   At the time my big sister was already on her second job.  I admired her ability to buy herself something to eat (if she didn't like what was on the dinner menu) or the fact that she could buy her own clothes and shoes (if she wasn't feeling what mama was willing to buy).  I was more than ready to fill out the handwritten job application.  While I thought I was bargaining for a paycheck, I got so much more.   
After my mama made me put together a resume and drove me down to the store I worked two days a week, three hours on Saturday and Sunday at $3.00 an hour. It might not have been much, but to me I was on my way to buying myself a corner view of independence. Until that is my new ice cream gig was suddenly in jeopardy.  
At first I listened to everything the owner told me.  I’d stood under his laser like eye as I practiced making scoops and placed them nervously on the scale to check for the proper weight - just enough to make sure the customer gets what they paid for but not enough to give away the product.  After working for a couple of months I ‘forgot’ what the owner taught me and started to follow the lead of all the older teens who worked there.  They gave away free ice cream to friends and they piled healthy sized scoops of ice cream in cups and cones for customers they really liked.   All things they did when the owners weren’t there.  Ahem…a fact I didn’t notice until the owner called me on it, told me I was perhaps too young and that this wasn’t going to work out. In other words…I was fired!  My mama talked to the owner and my mama and daddy had a nice talk with me about listening to what the owner/boss says and not irresponsible teenagers. 
After I got over the shame, I worked at this place for the next ten years.  I eventually became the manager and cake decorator (long story). The job had its pros and cons but overall I learned a lot about being dependable and working with all kinds of people.  All of which helped to increase my confidence.
My oldest is vying for a job.  Perhaps we will let her get a part time job at a burger place or at a skating rink to make some extra money and learn responsibility.  However after a recent study released in August I am beginning to think perhaps she should hold off on the job hunt.   According to the studies primary findings, teens working during high school may not have the benefits that it did a few decades ago.  High school seniors in the late 1980’s, who worked 20 hours per week,  saw a financial benefit ten years after graduation as working adults.  In comparison, high school seniors in the late 1990’s who also worked 20 hours per week did not see the same financial benefits as adults. 
That’s not to say that high school students shouldn't have jobs at all.  There are proven benefits to high school students working part time. Such as promoting:
Favorable work attitudes
 Stronger work orientation
 Higher self-reliance
 Better time management skills
Positive self-concepts
Learning work-related skills
Forge contacts with employers
On the other hand, studies have found that high school students who work can run the risk of:
Reduced time available for studying
Increased stress or exhaustion
Harming academic performance
After weighing all of the pros and cons, we still place primary importance on our three practicing job skills before they get a ‘real’ job.  I know that they will be concerned about making a little extra money for themselves.  Either way our focus is making sure they get more out of the experience than they do out of the pay. 



Do you think your teenager should have a job in high school?


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