Working as a High Schooler: the Often Unknown Benefits
If you’ve ever applied to a job, or been in a job interview, you know what it’s like to be hit unprepared with a question like, “Why do you want to work here?” or “What made you seek out this job?” For a lot of high schoolers, the answer is obviously the money, but you don’t exactly look great saying that in a professional job interview. While money is the most obvious benefit of having a part-time job in high school, there’s actually a lot more advantages than you’d think.
Of these less tangible benefits, the most important -- and, arguably, the one many teenagers are likely to use as an answer to the aforementioned dreaded interview questions -- is the experience. School can only really do so much to prepare you for the “real world,” whereas having a job literally is the real world. You learn and have to exercise important, real life skills like sending professional emails, working with and for difficult people, building your resume, doing well in interviews, etc. These are things that everyone has to learn at some point, but it’s especially helpful to learn them as a teenager, so that when you inevitably make mistakes in some of these areas, you can learn from them now as opposed to ten years from now. In order to succeed professionally, you’re going to have to get really good at logistical “real-world” concepts, and the sooner you can learn and perfect these skills, the better. Having experience like this at a job during high school also looks great on your transcript, and will impress colleges with your dedication and determination to learn these skills while in high school.
Another extremely important advantage of being thrown into the working world at a young age, especially during school, is the time management skills you’re forced to develop. It’s no secret that a part-time job will take up a large part of your time after school and on weekends. If you aren’t able to be smart and adequately set aside time for school, your job, sports, and any other extracurriculars you might be involved in, you won’t be able to succeed in any of these areas. “Working and going to school is like having everything in a ball, and you have to learn how to organize that ball so it doesn’t explode,” said Kaylie Westphal, a junior at LaFollette who has had multiple jobs in the last few years. “Learning how to balance work and school takes a nice chunk of time, but once you get there it becomes normal to you,” she continued. This is also great preparation for college, as many universities require some sort of work/study or volunteer program on top of all your classes. If you wait until college to learn these time management skills, the classes you’re taking will be even more difficult than they would be in high school, and the consequences will be even more serious if you fail these classes. It’s better to struggle with time management now rather than later.
Getting a job can be really good for your overall knowledge of the professional world, while impressing colleges, and of course the money doesn’t hurt either. It’s also important to consider how much work actually having a job is going to be, especially on top of your classes and extracurriculars. Though balancing your time between responsibilities can be very difficult, as long as you stay on top of things and learn to divide your time well, having (and keeping!) a job