AFTER SCHOOL JOBS In a world where getting ahead less of what you know and more of what you've done, I think that after school jobs for students are increasingly beneficial. I don't believe the myths that with a job there is no time for school work of extracurricular activities. I am a junior, I have had jobs since I was 15, I have never had my G.P.A drop below 3.2, and I have always been involved in at least three school activities. A teenager that has a job is more apt to be taught responsibility, learns more about money and gets a jump start on the real world after high school.
One challenge that I have had to overcome, but ultimately grown stronger from is that of finding an appropriate time to finish my homework. I no longer take class time to work on my assignments for granted. While most of my friends who don't work usually go home and sit on their sofa for four hours before opening their bookbag, I have found that "Friends" and "ER" can still run their show without me watching, something I am afraid many of my peers have yet to discover.
And shockingly enough it is possible to go for weeks without watching any television! Having a job has also taught me to respect authority. I have held jobs as a carhop, a waitress, and a grocery checker and sacker. Like most jobs that high schooler have, I am constantly around people. After being yelled at for undercooked steak or smashed bread, it is much easier to deal with rude people in other situations, I am much less likely to lose my patience and I understand that many problems and attitudes depend on circumstance. Many adults are also extremely impressed that is is automatic for me to address people older than me as ma'am or sir when I have a question or request.
I think another positive was that jobs impact teenagers is that it teaches them about money. At the risk of sounding like a codjity old man, kids these days don't know the value of the dollar. I know many kids that are going to be in a world of hurt when Mom and Dad aren't there with their wallet to give them money to go out or buy their clothes and CD's. I now think twice before spending $115 dollars on a pair of shoes when I realize that will cost me thirty hours of working. I also have a better idea of what money buys and what things cost. After reading countless grocery totals everyday I am very aware that if I don't land a job in collage, I will be living off of Raman Noodles and the occasional Always Save hot dog. I look at taxes much different now, before I worked I didn't understand what all of the fuss was about. But after watching my meager paycheck melt away more every week, I understand why sometime the certainty of taxes seems like the more appealing option.
After school jobs are great to prepare for life after high school. While I believe it is important to maintain healthy social life during high school, there aren't many collages or jobs that will accept you just because you are involved in every club offered. If you pick jobs responsibly, there is no reason while you can't stay active in school and work. I have not missed a football game yet in high school and I have been in every play put on by the school. Jobs prepare you for the world after school. After being a waitress I know I can find work in virtually any decent sized town in America. Because of my job I know that I can't just wake up in the mourning and go somewhere that I have not planned. Just like in the real world things must be planned weeks or even months in advance. If I need a job I know how to apply; I know how to pass an interview; I know how to impress authority figures, all skills I will need after I graduate.
So for all of the teenagers and parents who try to say that jobs can only hurt teenagers, that's bunk! A job has taught me responsibility, helped me learn about money and prepared me for the real world. As long as students show a little maturity, there is no reason why jobs can't benefit teenagers tremendously.