Is getting a job worth it for students?

All the pros and cons of balancing a part-time job in high school


Senior Danny Tran checks a customer out at his job at Noodles & Company.

Aside from attending school, hanging out with friends and participating in extracurricular activities, many students also have a part-time job on the side.
There is an array of jobs that many AHS students have.
Some students are self-employed.
These students run a small business on the side or they work as babysitters or tutors.
Having this type of job allows them to have more control of when they work.
“As of now I do not have a job, but I would really like one,” senior Joscelyn Ventura said. “A job where I am self-employed sounds cool because I would be able to do everything on my time.”
The majority of students who have jobs work through an employer.
This includes any retail or food service jobs.
In Virginia, the youngest legal age for working is 14, but if a student is 14-15, they need to possess an employment certificate/work permit in order to have a job.
There are a lot of different reasons as to why students choose to work in their free time.
The most common reason why many students work is to earn money.
“I work at Noodles & Company,” senior Danny Tran said. “I got a job because I needed money to spend on my own without having to ask my parents.”
Aside from providing students with some extra spending cash, having a job also has other advantages.
“Some benefits of working is that I get to learn new skills and I get to make new friends,” junior Ben Nguyen said.
While on the job, students can meet new coworkers who they connect with.
“My job is very fun with the right coworkers,“ Nguyen said.
Students can also practice and develop their people skills at work.
“Working at my job so far has taught me customer service skills, like how to better interact with people,” Tran said.
Additionally, they can also learn how to manage money.
When spending their own money, students are more cautious with what they use it on because it’s something that they’ve worked for and would not want to waste.
Another perk to having a job is getting employee discounts at the place you work.
“My favorite benefit is getting discounts on food,” Tran said.
Extra money and new friends may make having a job seem very attractive to students, but they should also consider the drawbacks of working before committing to a job.
One obvious drawback is the toll it can take on student’s schedules, if they are not self-employed.
“I work two to four times a week,” Tran said. “Yes, it’s difficult to juggle my work, school, and social life but I try to maintain a good balance.”
If you are someone who participates in many sports and clubs afterschool, it might be difficult to find free time to work.
“I don’t work because I stay after school pretty frequently since I’m a part of a lot of clubs,” Ventura said. “I’m also an IB candidate, so I haven’t had much free time to look for a job due to working on my IAs and the extended essay.”
If you are someone who is eager to work, a solution to this time management problem is working less days or only on the weekends.
“Currently I’m not having a hard time [balancing work and school] because I work once a week, but when I worked three times a week it kind of was,” Nguyen said.
Aside from time restraints, every job has different challenges of their own.
When working in retail and food service, dealing with customers isn’t always a slice of cake.
Additionally, waves of rush of customers can be a headache to handle.
“A drawback of the job is that sometimes during work it gets really busy and that can be really stressful,” Nguyen said.
When working through employers, some students also don’t have a big say on how long they work for.
“A drawback to my job is long hours,” Tran said.
Despite the potential drawbacks, if you are someone who really wants to give working a shot, don’t let them scare you.
“If you have spare time and don’t mind putting that time towards working, then I recommend getting a job,” Nguyen said.
Tran recommends students to work if they can.
“Yes, I recommend students to get jobs because it’s good to have a source of income and it allows you to be more independent,” Tran said.
Being unemployed can give students a valuable experience.
“Having that experience of a small job now can help you in the future when you have to work 24/7,” Ventura said.