High school jobs offer promising opportunities

Juggling a part-time job with schoolwork as a high school student comes with many advantages and opportunities.

Photo by Alyssa Wang. Graphic Illustration by Amishi Chandra and Inaaya Yousuf.

Juggling a part-time job with schoolwork as a high school student comes with many advantages and opportunities.

Audrey Sun, Staffer

High school students often struggle to find free time amid their busy schedules filled with extracurricular commitments and rigorous courses. While it can be a challenge to find the time, students should consider employment due to its benefits such as acquiring valuable work experience in dealing with personal finance and developing effective interpersonal skills. 

Since 2000, teen employment rates have been steadily dropping. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, more than 51.7% of teens in the U.S. were employed before 2000, whereas employment rates have dwindled to a meager 35% today. One major reason contributing to this decline is the growing emphasis on the value of education. As high school students are facing greater pressure to secure college admissions, they tend to spend the majority of their time on schoolwork, as finding a job falls lower on their priority list. With more attention on extracurricular activities and maintaining their GPA, students are less inclined to consider working in high school.

Summer is one of the best times for students to get a part time job as they have more free time to explore careers and gain real-world experience of life after college. However, as summer programs are becoming increasingly popular, students tend to veer away from the idea of getting a part time-job. While most summer programs provide students with more classroom experience, getting a job will allow students to gain more real-life experience.

“When you start interviewing for jobs, you will most likely be asked to give examples of past job experiences, and that’s really hard to come up with if you don’t have a job,” business teacher Andrea Badger said.

By securing a job as a high school student, students can learn different personal finance skills at an earlier age and develop a better sense of how to effectively manage money. Students will also open their own checkings and savings accounts, which allow them to set their own savings goals and learn more about the responsibilities of managing money. 

“Working a job has taught me the value of money and it made me more conscious about spending it,” sophomore and sports coach Amine Ali Chaouche said. “It instilled in me a sense of responsibility and appreciation for what I have earned.”

Furthermore, they can also gain an understanding of the dedication and effort required to earn money. This will better prepare students for future employment, helping them develop skills such as budgeting and filing taxes. 

Holding a job in high school also helps students grow and develop interpersonal skills. Interacting with coworkers and customers, navigating conflicts and adapting to new environments all offer invaluable experiences to better prepare students for the future. These experiences help them develop lifelong values and skills that they can apply to in their future careers.

“The most valuable lesson I learned through my job is how important communication is,” junior Madison Badger said. “Learning how to communicate with different types of people is not easy, and my job has taught me how to deal with those situations.” 

Juggling work and school can be one of the hardest parts of being a high school student with a part-time job and is what deters many students from getting a job. However, because of these challenges, students can develop a strong sense of discipline and learn how to manage their time effectively. Additionally, students who have a part-time job can learn about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, learning to fulfill the demands of their part-time job while still staying committed to their academics. 

High school jobs are also a way for students to explore their career interests and passions. Whether it’s interning at a finance firm or being a swim coach, students are able to gain firsthand experience and delve deeper into potential career pathways they are interested in. By stepping out of the scope of the classroom and undergoing the demands of working, they are able to learn many practical skills that they can carry into their career. 

“My future career will be in the field of sports, so I think teaching kids how to swim will definitely be beneficial to me later on,” junior and swim instructor Alita Huang said. 

Taking a gap year after high school to work is another option students can consider. This gives students the ability to develop personal skills before college and an extra year to pursue their interests. 

“I think taking a gap year is a really valuable experience,” Class of 2022 alumnus Mei Corricello said. “If you work any job where you interact with people, you’ll be able to gain more perspective about the community.” 

From problem solving to communication, finding employment as a high schooler is a great way to gain valuable experiences in the real world to benefit future careers. 

“I highly recommend other high school students to get part-time jobs because it allows you to go outside of your comfort zone,” Chaouche said. “You can explore new experiences in areas that you may have thought you don’t like.”