High-schoolers deal with having jobs in school

By Aalia Malik — Every morning Chelsea Perrin grabs her books and comes to school like every other student. She then spends time trying to make sense of difficult senior classes. After spending hours sitting in classroom chairs, some students get to go home and relax for some time. But Perrin, like many other students, does not just get to go home. She has to begin her second half of the day and go to work at Mercy Medical Center.

Hundreds of students are in the exact same position almost every day. After spending hours working as students, they have to go work as an employee.

Perrin works at Mercy as a food service aid delivering trays to patients for the dinner shift.

Many students work long hours simply because they need to have money to buy gas, pay a cell phone bill or pay for other miscellaneous expenses. Perrin works to pay for her gas money.

“I definitely think it is worth it to get a job in high school. It is a good experience and it is really worth it to have the freedom to get gas to drive around. I use the money for the occasional shopping spree but most of it goes in the bank or I keep it in hand incase I need it,” junior Golden Corral employee Kyla Simon said.

Almost every student worker could admit that it is nice to have the perks of earning your own money, but it can come at an expense.

“Getting a job at this age could be good but it can also be negative if they have to work too many hours and then cannot complete their school work. It can also be challenging when their schedules change. They have to either listen to their boss or their coach/advisor. They have to risk either losing their job or having to deal with an angry coach,” teacher Emily Palmer said.

Getting a part time job while trying to balance classes, extracurricular activities and a social life can take its toll. Trying to be involved with so many activities will most likely result in sleep deprivation for almost all students.

However, for some, the question is not whether it is worth it to get a job, it has now come down to whether or not they can even find a job. Recent reports by McClatchy DC have shown that youth employment is dropping dramatically. Only three out of every ten teenagers held summer jobs this year. Employment rates have been going down for the past four summers. Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, has called this a Great Depression for Teens.

There were some other surprising facts this report also found. It found that teenagers who had wealthy parents were more likely to have a job than teenagers whose parents were not as wealthy. There has been previous research that showed that teenagers who have a job are more likely to do better in many social and economic situations. This can go on to cause more issues for the youth.

Also according to McClatchy DC, 61.28 percent of Caucasian teenagers aged 16 through 19 held a job in 2000. Now only 39.25 percent of white teenagers held a job this past summer. 33.91 percent of African American teenagers aged 16 through 19 held a job in 2000 but now that number has fallen to 19.25 percent.

Summer is typically when jobs dramatically increase for teenagers but that trend has not been continuing in recent years.

Part time jobs can be extremely stressful for students. It can end up not only affecting schoolwork, but also work performance.

“Sometimes, people have to work until 11 at night so kids can end up being tired sometimes. One time, a girl came in to work and she was sobbing because she got a bad grade on one of her tests. She only stayed for about 20 minutes until she just had to go home,” Jimmy Johns Manager Nick Kovacs said.

There have been previous generations that have gone through similar situations when trying to balance a job while they were teenagers.

“With my jobs at McDonalds and being a lifeguard at Perry, I learned responsibility, independence, discipline and being able to do things for myself. So I do think parents should let their teenagers get jobs. There is nothing worse than a teenager coming home from school at 2:30 and wasting their time on the computer, video games, eating, etc. Get out there and do something. Now for the teenager that it is involved in a lot of in school and out of school activities I don’t think it is a good idea for them to work if they don’t have too,” Parent Lori Beuter said.

Some students are extremely involved in school. Not only by taking many classes, but also by being involved in many extracurricular activities. This can make students days basically nonstop and getting a part time job may not seem worth it to those students.

“I am involved in many extracurricular activities. I also take many advanced placement and dual credit classes. So I would say that I do not really think it is worth it. I understand if you have to, but it is best if you do not. I work because it could help me get another job in the future and to save money for college,” junior and Justice employee Alexis Mann said.

Some people do not have too much of a hard time balancing school, work and activities. The best part about sports is that they are usually only seasonal.

“I do cross country, ski club and track. It does get difficult to work during the season, during that time I have to request fewer hours. But it gets easier during the off season,” junior and Milk and Honey employee Ben Seger said.

Getting a part time job while still being a high school student has its challenges, but also some benefits.

“I have learned to really value quality in work now that for one of the first times of my life, something that affects my everyday life is riding on the quality of my service,” Simon said.

Making money has been made a priority over school for some students. But for others, it is all actually worth it.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]