High school jobs: more than just a paycheck


Ava Charnley, Staff writer

High school is a pivotal time in all of our lives. The time is fleeting, yet it leaves us with some of the most basic tools for our adult lives. We learn the importance of friends, the importance of individualism, and the importance of being responsible for ourselves and our actions. But what about all of the other important things in life? Like how to manage money, how to do taxes, how to work well with others, and how to juggle multiple interests in our life?

After high school you have to learn how to make a simple dollar last a little longer. When you work the long hours for that hard earned money, that twenty dollar top or those sixty dollar shoes seem all that more expensive. After high school there are bills to pay, food to buy, and money needed to pay for all the extras that you want. A simple job in high school can help prepare you by teaching you what a dollar is really worth. It can help you understand the importance of budgeting and making sound financial decisions. 

While financial freedom is a perk, learning life skills on the job is invaluable.  Working in customer service is like a dress rehearsal for adulting. Dealing with unsavory customers not only will give you respect for people working retail jobs and others, but it also allows you to build good social skills for the next time you come upon a disagreeable person in life.

Every once in a while you will have a co-worker that might not be to your liking. At school you can ignore those people.  In sports you can just look the other way when you have to keep your composure. However, co-workers require a certain level of relationship development.  These types of relationships will be necessary many times in your future, and can actually make or break opportunities. It is also just a good skill to learn how to be personable even with people you don’t particularly care for. 

Time management and priorities will always be a huge part of your life.  Your first taste of this comes in high school. Add in a job, and you suddenly have to learn how to juggle the many things in your life in order to stay sane and employed.  Family, friends, sports, clubs, school, and of course, work, all need you and your time and effort.  This is a dress rehearsal for when you are going to have to  juggle bills, life problems, friends, family, and unforeseen circumstances. 

After getting through a year of hard work, you have to file taxes, a skill many of us don’t have. One of the bonuses of getting your first job in high school is that you have your parents helping you through the process. They can show you how to write a check and how to do taxes. They can help you define what you really need and what you really want. Having your parents there can help you in developing life skills so that later in life you don’t have quite as much shock when it comes to the process of adulting.

The advantages to having a job in high school are many. You don’t have to ask for those new Converse. You don’t have to ask for gas money. You don’t have to worry about not being able to go out. You learn how to cooperate with your co-workers and how to handle dissatisfied customers. The monetary independence and life skills provided to you as an employed teenager give you the financial and social confidence needed heading into adulthood.