Take this Job and Love It


Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Supermarket_worker.jpg

Felicity Gregware, Contributor

Look out any BFA window that faces Main St. and you will see cars and pick up trucks parked bumper to bumper. Who do these cars belong to?  Who is paying for that monster GMC Denali?  How about the Audi 4 parked right in front of it? While many of these cars and trucks belong to daddy or mommy, many students are paying for their own cars.  They are among the growing number of students who have jobs. Students who have jobs are at an advantage because they learn a sense of responsibility by starting a journey of earning their way through life. 

I recently got a job at Hannaford, and it was one of the most exciting things I have done. After a week, I got my first paycheck. It was a feeling that is indescribable- a feeling of accomplishment. As the weeks went by, I earned more and more money. I saved up and, a few weeks later, I bought my first car: a small 2002 Ford Escort, something that I can say I bought and I own. Owning a car makes me feel independent, something that I did not have before, and this feeling of accomplishment is something no one can take from me. Students who have jobs are at an advantage because they have learned the responsibility of working. 

There are many other students that could say the same thing. Oklahoman.com states that as of 2013, “more than 1 in 4 high school students aged 16 and older work. That’s more than 3 million workers nationwide.” According to childtrends.org, in “2018, there were 20% of students that were still enrolled in school [and] had part-time or full-time jobs around the age of 16.” Even though fewer students are working, they are still learning the responsibility and independence that comes with having a job. Learning these skills has a payoff in the future, too. According to educationdive.com, “Recent research, however, shows that working while in high school, and then later in college, leads to higher wages than just accumulating more years of education.” Because of the increased wage, students are more willing to work. They are more willing to work because they are getting more money from working that they can use for all sorts of things. 

Even though I am able to balance school and work, not all students can do this.  According to oklahoman.com, “Students who work more than 15 hours a week are more associated with problems like low grades, smoking, drinking and drug use, according to the study.”  There are possible drawbacks to working while in school.  Many high school students work at boring jobs. 

According to waldenu.edu, “It [working while in school] can instill negative views about work. Most high school students work tedious jobs. That can impart unhelpful views about work in general.” 

However, students work for that extra money and to pay bills as well. I spoke with a friend of mine who works at McDonald’s. She said “working has taught me responsibility and independence because every day I have to work. No one is in my room telling me it’s time to get up and ready. I have to get up and ready on time for work, and when at work I have to sometimes take matters into my own hands and help my coworkers.” She also told me that she saves most of her money for a car every week, and the rest is what she uses for lunch and other small things.  This is an accomplishment for her and will help her further in life. 

Working and being a student is challenging, but there are present and future benefits, such as learning responsibility. Having a job has taught me that working for what I need or what I want is an important life skill. It has made me think more about how I spend my money because it is MY money.  That is a skill that all teens should know of and be thinking about. Adulthood is coming fast, and having a job now is one of the best ways to be ready for it.