Is having a job in high school worth it?

The ups, downs, and in-betweens of being an employed high school student

Yes, I went to work dressed as no other than Cindy Lou during our Christmas spirit week, my dedication to the costume truly shows how much I love working for Hollister

Yes, I went to work dressed as no other than Cindy Lou during our Christmas spirit week, my dedication to the costume truly shows how much I love working for Hollister

Makayla Bech, Staff Writer

Working in high school. This subject seems to gain mass popularity in debate on if it is necessary for a student to be working. One side of the argument suggests that high school students need to focus on their studies, and enjoy their free time while they are still enjoying the freedom of being young. On the contrary, many also argue that being an employed high school student reigns in many benefits including job experience and an expansion of being around a wide variety of people. Everyone has their own experiences; however, I personally believe that in order to have a job in high school and still be successful, and one needs to find a good job. 

I was midway through my junior year when I decided that I wanted to begin searching for a job. I have been fortunate enough to not have to worry about needing money to assist my parents in paying the bills, I just like to have the security in knowing that there I have savings and money to spend when I am out with my friends. Throughout my freshmen and sophomore year, I had a regular and solid babysitting gig; however, when junior year hit, the children that I had been watching began school and therefore my hours of babysitting became sparse and more sporadic that I what I was used to. This change of course meant that I was not getting a weekly pay, and therefore my money was quickly going down the drain as I continued to not work but continued to spend my money on shopping. Therefore, I began to research and apply to as many jobs as I could think of. This included many jobs in the food industry because I was aware that with the pandemic, there was a great need for workers in food companies. With many applications that were rejected due to my lack of experience, I finally got an interview at Panera Bread and was quickly hired. 

The first few weeks on the job were quite simple, for I was mostly training and learning the ways of the Panera society. However, as time continued and my experience became more immense, my hours also began to increase and I was working a 30 hour work week while also attending school (virtually) every day. I quickly became burnt out. Junior year is arguably the most stressful year of high school, and as a senior I can definitely agree with that statement. With four AP classes that required a lot of hard work and studying, I was hard at work from seven in the morning until I had to clock in at Panera at 2:30 and then work until 8 P.M. My schedule was jam packed and as time continued I began to notice my lack of energy and motivation to get out of bed and actually pay attention in my online classes. I also began to notice a rapid decline in my grades. This is when I knew that I needed to draw limitations in my out of school job. I changed my availability and decided that at most, I needed to work 20 or less hours a week and no more than a four hour shift on weekdays. With that, I began to notice a change in my routine and I was able to build up more motivation and get my school work back on track. Despite my drawing of limitations, I too noticed a change in the way I was being treated at work. My managers continued to schedule me on days that I said I could not work and continued to schedule me for more than 20 hours a week. When I brought up the issue, the excuse was that we were severely understaffed and my new change in schedule was not sustainable for the company. Ultimately, I got extremely angry and told them that although I was scheduled on days that I needed off, I would not be coming in. Yes, that indeed did make them even angrier with me; however, I knew that I needed to draw limitations and stick to what I knew was best for myself. Despite my attempts at communication, my management continued to not listen and that is when I knew that I needed to quit and take a break from working and focus on myself. 

I did not work the rest of my junior year. Instead I focused more on my school work and prepared for my AP exams and also spent a lot more time with my friends and family. When I finally quit my job, it made me realize that I was eliminated from having a social life at all while I was working at Panera. With that said, when summer came around and I did not have school every day, I decided that I was going to begin looking for jobs again, preferably not in the food industry. After two interviews at jobs that did not pinpoint my desires, I landed a job at Hollister. I am still currently a staff member at Hollister and I can honestly say that I absolutely love it and it is a great work environment. Not only do my managers listen to my needs and understand my busy schedule with school, they are great people and I have developed great friendships with many of my coworkers. In fact, there is a lot of room for growth in the company as well, and I am currently in the process of becoming a Brand Representative Leader at my store, which is one step away from being a manager. I work about fifteen hours a week when I am in school, which is extremely manageable for me even with school. I work mostly on the weekends and when I do work on weekdays, I don’t get home any later than 8 P.M. I love this job and my position so much, and the benefits of working for Abercrombie and Fitch are highly encouraging Seeing as though I am going to be living in this area for the next few years, since I will be attending college at University of South Florida, my general manager is sure that within the next year I will be a manager. I see this as a way to improve upon my knowledge in business, since I do want to own my own company one day. I believe that working in management would not only improve my resume, but also my experience and skill level. 

Ultimately, having a job in high school is completely based on personal preference. It took me a job that was mentally abusive and exhausting to realize that I needed to prioritize myself and what I deemed important in my life to draw limitations and set expectations for what I wanted in a job. I personally would vouch for anyone to get a job in high school because the experience is great and the people that you meet are even greater. I believe that having a job in high school is a great way to put yourself out there and experience what the real work is like before you are fully immersed in it. Finding the right job and position is the most important aspect. A high school student should never have a job that causes them to feel exhausted and not prioritize their school work and wellbeing. With that said, we are always hiring at Hollister if anyone is interested in applying for a great job!