All in a day’s work?

Benefits of student employment need to be weighed alongside the cons


Thomas James Phieffer, Aztec Media

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics the percent of youth in the labor force has gone down to 46.3% in 2020 from its original number of 56.2% in 2019. Still, that shows nearly half of students that are working part time or full time during the school year. Doing this can have some obvious benefits for the students. But what is commonly overlooked are the drawbacks on both their health and academics. 

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First, we will address the benefits of high schoolers working part-time. When working on the job outside of their desired field, the student will see first-hand how working without a diploma/education really is. It teaches them the importance of schooling in order to get a better job. Through the low paygrade and unfavorable treatment, they can use that as inspiration to push harder in school. Along with this lesson it intertwines with them learning them learning the value of money. The feeling from that first paycheck feels very liberating and their first thoughts are commonly how to spend that money. This would lead to them learning the value of money with their purchases as well as the limited money they are paid. Working a minimum wage job in Arizona would earn them $12/hr. which from experience is hardly anything. Them realizing this would lead to saving their money teaching them to be responsible with it. This goes in hand with them learning budgeting. Since they want to save as much money as they can reduce spending or budget their money. Most of these students lay out a plan of what they would use their money on to use it most effectively even asking parents for advice. This would also lead to them having a “head start into adulthood” which refers to multiple things. One being them opening a bank account for their money eventually (if they weren’t spoiled to have one already) which gives them one less thing to worry about later in life. They would have also learned the previously explained behaviors which are all beneficial to the future. 

However, on the other hand, there can be drawbacks to these students working. These shouldn’t necessarily make the student hesitate to get a job if they want, but it is better to be aware.  The first and most obvious drawback would be the work and school balance. It would be harder to do well in school when you’re going to work afterwards. Working all those hours during the week leaves less time for homework as well as making you more tired. This would reduce your overall ability in school or in general. There is also the chance that you may not learn much of anything at your first job. Which wouldn’t benefit you at all or might instill habits that are bad for future jobs. Working during school could also make you dislike all work greatly. This negative view of work may affect you in the future when looking for your chosen career. You may be less willing to work there since you already have a negative view on working leaving a biased against it and unwillingness to go. Then finally working while you’re in school may lose you of your personal time. Between working and schooling you would hardly have any time at home for relaxing or just doing as you please.  

However, most of these can be easily counteracted through different means. Most of these issues resolved through scheduling and organization – writing down your plan for the day in your head or physically. This would allow you to know what you must do and don’t and might free up some time for you to relax since you don’t have to stress about when what need to be done. For learned behaviors or mindsets from work those can be fixed with the help of a school counsellor or your parents. Or maybe you can do what I  did and watch YouTube videos educating you about work and its uses/effects. Just know the pros and cons before you go out into the job market.