After-School Jobs for Teens: Pros and Cons

After-School Jobs for Teens: Pros and Cons

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Did you know that nearly 30% of high school students hold a job for at least a part of the school year?

Working at such a young age involves substantial risks, as well as some benefits. While after-school jobs provide work experience, they might also hurt academic performance. So, should teenagers hold part-time jobs? The truth is that there are several schools of thought.

This article lists both sides of the argument: the pros and cons of holding a part-time job as a teenager.

Let’s dive in!

Pro 1: You Earn Money

Let’s face it; most students work to make pocket money.

The financial situation of students is often pretty tight. They have little or no money. At the same time, they also have many expenses: textbooks, food, extra-curricular activities… So when it comes to making money, every little bit helps.

Another benefit is that working teenagers learn the value of money. When you earn your own salary, you think twice about how you spend it. That’s why working students have better budgeting skills!

Con 1: It Might Hurt Your Grades

Part-time jobs are time-consuming, and studying requires serious dedication.

So what are the effects of holding a part-time job while studying?

The data shows that part-time jobs negatively affect grades if teenagers work more than 20 hours a week. This is because those students do not have enough time left to complete their assignments, write down their homework, and study for their exams: which means lower academic performance. However, the study also shows that after-school jobs do not affect students’ performance as long as they work less than 15 hours a week.

It is no doubt that high school is a very stressful time in itself. Taking on a part-time job while pursuing a degree rubs salt into the wound. This is why students who are already struggling with their grades are not recommended to take on a part-time job.

Pro 2: You Gain Work Experience

Real-life work experience can’t be taught in school.

Yet, getting work experience is the most critical part of starting your career! Think about it from an employer perspective; would you risk hiring someone who has never worked a day in his life? A first job will boost your resume, even if it’s not in your field of study. It shows the employer that you are dedicated, responsible, and somewhat accustomed to the professional world.

After-school jobs can also impact how teenagers view their professional careers. It is especially true for internships, during which students can learn the inner workings of companies. A student job might motivate a teen to either pursue that career path or completely steer away from that field.

Con 2: You Cut Your Childhood Short

There are only 24 hours in a day.

And guess what? Working reduces your free time. As a result, balancing work, school, and your personal life. In other words, you have less time to enjoy your childhood.

Here’s why some people do not like teenagers holding a job: once you start working, you will usually work for the rest of your life. Most people often remember high school as the last time they were free from the burden of work.

That’s what adolescence is all about!

Pro 3: It’s the First Step Into Adulthood

To grow up is to take responsibility.

That’s why holding a part-time job while in high school help you grow as a person. It gives you a sense of responsibility as well as a glimpse into the professional world. In addition, there are some skills that you might learn along the way:

  • You learn time management. Weighing priorities is an essential life skill that working students learn to master.
  • You contribute to society. Helping other people will help you garner a sense of accomplishment that studying can’t bring you.
  • You develop interpersonal skills. Many part-time jobs involve collaboration with different types of people; it is a great opportunity to develop some interpersonal skills like receptiveness to feedback or relationship management.

After-school jobs also give the opportunity to meet other high school students and start building a professional network.

Con 3: Entry-Level Jobs Are Tough

Here’s the deal: high school students don’t have many skills.

So chances are, you will end up doing the tasks that no one else wants to do: yard work, babysitting, delivery driving, tutoring, dog walking, etc. Not only are these kinds of jobs more though, but their compensation is also too low.

Who would want to work hard for a low salary?

That’s a lousy way to start your professional life.

The Bottom Line: Should You Work While in High School?

Getting a part-time job isn’t a decision you should take lightly.

As we have seen, working while in high school has a lot of benefits, but it also involves important risks.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before making your decision:

  • What is my current stress level?
  • Do I have enough free time?
  • What are the benefits of holding this job?
  • Am I struggling in school?
  • How many hours a week can I work?

If you are still undecided, starting with a summer job could be a good idea.

Summer jobs do not interfere with academic performance, and it can be an excellent test to see if you have what it takes to work during the school year.

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.