Working Hard or Hardly Working?


Kaleb Cassidy, Staff Writer

The terrifying time of one’s teenage years is universal as we struggle to function socially, discover our identities, and, most importantly, form our independence. One method of expressing our independence has come in the form of teenage employment.

 In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 20% of teenagers are employed either full-time or part-time. Teenage employment sharply increases toward the end of the school year and during the summer. Large numbers of high school and college students enter the labor market to support themselves and separate themselves from their parents as they mature. 

“I’ve always just really wanted a job. It just seemed like something really fun to do, and I really like money. I thought it’d be good to have a stable source of my own money,” said senior Christopher Wade.

Finding employment can also help students grow in other ways. Jobs, like school, require responsibility, accountability, and time management. 

“It’s mainly affected my academic attitude towards school,” said senior Jace Roach.

Jobs can help students grow and mature, but they aren’t free of consequences. Working as a high school student creates new expectations for maturity. Specifically, parental guardians may be less willing to financially support their child if their child makes their own money.

“If I ask for something, like a pair of shoes or something, they say ‘you have money now, so you can buy it yourself.’ Roach said. “They’ll probably make me pay for my own gas money unless I’m in a bit of a crunch,”

Upper School Dean of Students Dan Roach worked as a paper delivery boy for years and has an employed teenage son. 

“I think that’s an agreement that has to come between the parent and their student,”  Roach said. “If they’re saving it for college or setting it aside, then it wouldn’t be an issue. Now if the student is frivolously spending it all the time, then don’t come to me looking for more money.”

Increasing academic expectations for teens has been on an upward trend as colleges become more selective and graduation becomes more difficult. Aside from academic obligations, factors like public service requirements and mandatory fitness participation are giving students less control over their time, but teens still yearn for independence. Because of this time crisis, students are working less and less or making potentially dangerous and difficult decisions with their scheduling.

“It’s a little bit of a stressful situation. With the nature of my job, I am there from anywhere between 10:30 and 11:30,” Wade said, “Then I drive home and then I’m able to do my homework. It’s pretty stressful and pretty hard to get my work done.”