Work hard, study harder

Students at NAHS juggle their studies with jobs


Jamie Sullivan, Reporter

By the end of the first month of 2023, many teenagers are both working and enrolled in school full time. 

According to recent statistics, only under 30% of high school students are employed, a figure that has dramatically dropped since the early 2000s. Teenagers frequently vent about their jobs on social media or via other forms of communication after a shift, and teens are very socially accepting of disliking their place of employment.

“I was a hostess at Tucker’s for the last couple of months,” senior Kylyssa Smith said. “I just stood near the door and seated people when they needed to be seated, there wasn’t really much past that.”

The majority of high school students have entry-level jobs in fast food chains or settings resembling retail. Depending on the student’s skills and experience, salary may vary, but generally speaking, most part-time jobs do not pay what they could and should.

“I chose to work at my old job because I needed money,” Smith said. “I remember looking on indeed for almost 2 weeks before I landed the job.”

Junior Roze Strauss says that she works at the McDonald’s on State Street, she says that she only took the position as a last resort.

I’m still there cause I kinda like it there, but no one is getting back to me about interviews.” Strauss said.

Job searching for teens continues to be more and more difficult, Smith says she was searching for employment on Indeed for 2 weeks before she was hired as a hostess at Tucker’s. Young people in the workforce often feel pressured to hold onto their current position over the long haul rather than looking for one that would make them happier. Smith says she was unhappy with her job for quite a while before actually quitting.

“I was actually getting tired of my job a couple of weeks before I quit, but I pushed through it because I still needed money.”  Smith said

Teenagers are taking up these responsibilities in greater numbers since it appears that more and more jobs are hiring. Since most teenagers can only work the second shift, this might be problematic for some companies. Scheduling has a significant role in how someone feels about their employment, and some businesses don’t take their young workers’ requirements into consideration.

“My least favorite thing about my job is the scheduling,” Strauss said. “My schedule is all over the place.”

Many high school students enjoy at least some part of their job, whether that’s talking to nice customers or socializing with coworkers and so on. Strauss says she enjoys being at work because it gets her away from drama at home. 

The best part about my job was definitely the music that would play at work,” Smith said. “If there was no music, my job would be silent and boring.”

A common complaint among students in the workplace is that they are dissatisfied with their current job but do not want to go through the hassle of looking for another one. This raises the question of whether students should continue to work in jobs that make them unhappy, even if the pay is good.

“Personally, I don’t think people should stay at a job they don’t enjoy at least a little bit.” Smith said. “Even if it pays really well, you’re just going to be miserable in the end.” 

Strauss says that even though she thinks students should take the job they enjoy so that they can work their best, she also says that she would prefer a higher salary. 

“If I like the job position enough, I would definitely choose a lower paying salary.” Smith said. “You’ve got to consider things like benefits, opportunities, and your personal goals before you make a big job decision.”

Although benefits are often more important to adults in the workforce, teenagers can nevertheless benefit from them just as much. Some jobs that teenagers frequently inhabit have great benefits, like Starbucks and their free therapy program, free Spotify premium plan, free Headspace plan, and healthcare benefits.

“Tucker’s didn’t really have very good benefits,” Smith said. “I’m going to college soon and I wasn’t getting paid enough to support that.”