Is it worth having a high school job?


Senior Alizah Hashmi working with me at Osco Pharmacy

Aneeqa Meah, Opinions Writer

The ‘help wanted; sign in front of the fast food restaurant is enticing and it’s hard not to imagine the different things you would be able to buy with the money you would earn. 


You can finally buy those shoes you have been wanting for a while, or spend money at your favorite café whenever you feel like it, or buy the subscription to that streaming platform that has the best TV series. But you have schoolwork. And you are taking multiple advanced classes along with the fact that you are involved with many extracurriculars. A job would just get in the way of everything. 


So, is it really worth it?


As of right now, almost 30% of high school students are employed for at least a portion of the school year, according to Walden University. Many students at Glenbard South work, and it is probable that you know at least one person that is currently holding a job. Whether it’s for leisure or to help a family out, the primary reason most people get a job is for the money. 


Neehalika Gandhi, a hardworking senior at Glenbard South, used to work 27 hours a week at Buy Buy Baby and now holds a job at White House Black Market where she works 12 hours every week. She says that she initially started to work in order to earn money for college, but now she works for the experience and the fact that it keeps her busy.


Jobs in high school are usually the first jobs anyone gets in their lifetime. Therefore, the prospect of earning money is new. The value of money is a teachable lesson learned through earning, where students have to learn when it’s the right time to spend and when it’s the right time to save. For Neehalika, she opts to save most of that money to help fund her future.


In addition to the money, working can help build those soft skills that are essential for future jobs. These skills can include conversational skills, knowledge of social roles, and impression management skills, according to MoneyProdigy. 


Neehalika says, “I’ve been in retail and it really got me out of my comfort zone. I think I used to be more quiet and working pushed me to talk to other people and forced me to learn how to make small talk.” 


Working in retail, the most-likely option for many high schoolers seeking a job, can help build up confidence working in social environments and interacting with the general public. According to StudentTutor, utilizing interpersonal communication skills is a need in order to “preserve the harmony of the workplace.” 


However, obtaining and holding a job while in school could interfere with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. 


Lauren Field is a senior that works at YMCA as a lifeguard and swim instructor. She says that it sometimes gets hard to balance work and school while working. Just the night before, she did not have enough time to study for a test and in the end had to cram. 


Work gets prioritized a lot of the time and it could cause a lot of pressure in someone. In between keeping up with grades and still maintaining a social life, a working student’s sleep might even be compromised. Take this into consideration: you come home from school and immediately have to get ready to work a four hour shift. Thereafter, if you spend two hours minimum on homework and studying, you won’t be going to sleep before 11 pm. And that’s only if you do not consider any time to do anything else in between.


Of course, it is possible that certain jobs may be flexible in adhering to certain schedules, especially if a certain work environment usually hires teenagers. 


Like Fatima Rasheed, who is a senior that works at Brookdale Senior Living and is someone that has many AP classes in her school schedule. For her, she can set her own schedule and decide which days she wishes to work for every week. If ever she needed even an entire week off, she would just not schedule herself in. 


In the end, it is important to consider the different aspects of the situation: whether there is enough time to add a job to your schedule, the flexibility of your potential job, and your intentions for getting the job in the first place. 


And anyways, there is always the prospect of a summer job!