Employment Teaches Lifelong Skills


Ella Hack

Sophomore Maya Gottfried begins her work day at TrueFood Kitchen in Walnut Creek.

Parents frequently tell their children that school is their job (a long-hours, unpaid job). And while school is obviously very important, having a real paying job in this day and age is highly beneficial.

Not only does having a job helping build many advantageous qualities in a teenager, but it also simultaneously improves a student’s ability to perform well in school and succeed at a university.

According to Jeffrey J. Selingo of The Washington Post, “A job teaches young people how to see a rhythm to the day, especially the types of routine work teenagers tend to get. It’s where they learn the importance of showing up on time, keeping to a schedule, completing a list of tasks, and being accountable to a manager who might give them their first dose of negative feedback so they finally realize they’re not as great as their teachers, parents, and college acceptance letters have led them to believe.”

“Recruiters told me that today’s college graduates don’t have enough experience learning from failures or hardships, so they are not skilled at prioritizing and dealing with difficult clients that come with the rush of work,” wrote Selingo.

Building your resume is very important. Whether your motive is to be a competitive applicant for college applications or enter the workforce after high school, having a job on a resume looks good for potential employers. To anyone reading a resume, having work experience is 1 of the most important things they will look for. Having a job in high school shows dedication, professionalism, and initiative.

A main motivator for students to seek out job opportunities is, of course, to make money. While this may seem like a trivial motive to parents, there are actually many benefits to teenagers having their own, however minimal, source of income. Having their own money means that teens will need to be more responsible. There is a major difference between spending your parents’ money and spending your own. After a couple weeks or even just a single shopping spree, if teenagers are spending their own money, they will feel the weight of their purchases more thoroughly. This will teach them how to handle money and self-budget and it will influence how much respect they treat property with in the future.

In addition to teaching students how to handle money, having a job ensures that teenagers learn how to open a bank account and how to deposit checks. They also learn about what taxes are and how they are taken out of a paycheck. These are all things that are necessary for every functioning adult in modern society to understand, and yet, we as students do not learn about them until our early adult lives.

Having an entry-level or minimum wage job helps prepare students for entering the workforce. Teens will be faced with real-world challenges in their adult lives such as maintaining a professional demeanor in various situations with customers and coworkers. After years of simply reporting to authority figures such as teachers and parents, having a job will often mean learning to work with superiors as well as for them.

In addition, having a part-time job as a teenager also forces you to become better at time management. It is 1 thing to have twice-a-week sports practices that are designed to revolve around the school schedule, but scheduling workdays is entirely different. Businesses in your community operate on their own timelines. Students who are able to balance work, athletics, homework, and school are forced to capitalize on their free time in order to accomplish everything that has to be done. This practice forms good habits for later on in life when professors don’t hold you accountable for missing assignments.

However, 1 of the most important aspects of having a job as a student is being able to recognize when you are being overworked or when 1 area of your life needs to take precedence over another. Quitting is often given a negative connotation as being the weak choice, but taking time off or lowering your hours can also be the harder, stronger choice for a given situation. Knowing when to re-evaluate where you allocate your time is an important lesson that teenagers would do well to learn.