The benefits of being a working student

After a year of my parents pestering me and lazy searching, I got my first job.

As a self-acknowledged headstrong person, it’s not surprising that it took me that long to agree with my parents (who are right most of the time), but I regret not listening to them sooner.

In the year that I have been working, I have been able to improve my independence. Before I started working, I rarely took the train or went places by myself, but since then I have done both regularly and much more.

At a school like Carlmont, the campus is divided between students who don’t have to work, students who do not have the money for frivolous purchases and feel the need to work, and students who need to work to support themselves or their family, but everyone can benefit from the job experience.

Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies released a study in 2012 that showed that people who work in high school have 10 to 15 percent higher wages when they graduate from college than people who did not work in high school

Many college students are forced to get jobs while attending school to help pay for their education or living expenses, but some do not not have prior work experience to put on their resume, which makes finding that first job all the more difficult.

From personal experience, finding a job is not a quick feat. Unless a manager and a company is willing to risk hiring someone with no experience, it can be difficult to find a job, but the rewards reaped are definitely worth it.

More than just the money, working teaches a variety of skills that can’t be taught by schools or parents. When working, the employee is held accountable to their schedule and their co-workers, so they can not make split-second decisions not to go to work that day.

Especially when working in customer services, the employee learns to be polite and agree with everything the customer says so as to not cause problems, even if the employee does not like the situation. This is useful for future workplaces when the employee does not get along with their future co-workers or people with whom they have to do business, but still are required to do their job.

Although some of the jobs that high schoolers work do not influence their future plans, there is always the possibility that the jobs worked now expose the student to new possibilities for the future.

Working while in high school also teaches money management and monetary responsibility. When going to college, some students are required to budget their money to pay for their tuition, room and board, book, transportation, and personal items. If the student works during high school, then they will learn to budget their earnings, especially if saving up for something special, such as a trip.

Putting in effort into the work one does causes a sense of pride, especially when recognized by peers or managers. In sales positions especially, reaching a sales goal or regularly meeting sales quotas will make the teenager feel better about their abilities and boost their confidence.

One concerns about working while in school is having enough time for studies and social interaction. Minors are only allowed to work a certain amount of hours depending on the time of year.

The California Child Labor Laws says that when school is in session students aged 16 and 17 may work four hours on any school day and eight hours on any non-school day, not exceeding more than 48 hours per week (although there are also California laws that state part-time employees may not work more than 25 hours per week).

The best way to combat this issue is to communicate with the manager about the amount of hours one wants to work, but only after being offered the job.

If careful, the concern about lowered grades can be avoided if one does not work for an excessive amount each week, but that depends on how much the person can handle.

Another concern is that “problem behavior,” such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, early sexuality or doing drugs, will be picked up from older co-workers. In actuality, teenagers who already exhibit problematic behavior in their regular life gravitate towards these types of activities and sometimes use the money they earn to items that contribute to “problem behavior.” This “problem behavior” is attributed to self-selection by the teenager, not influence from co-workers.

Working as a teenager helps to smooth along the process from child to adult, especially for those who plan to go to college and become self-sufficient.

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