You should get a job

Lydia Winstead, Staff Writer

The years during high school are a playground in life. In school, students can make mistakes, learn from them, and grow their skills for the future. Socially and cognitively during this time, teenagers develop personality and a sense of self. The development during this pivotal time of life helps turn kids into adults. But there is one specific experience that can be indispensable in the transition to becoming an adult: having a job. While students do have many responsibilities to manage at this time of life, working at a job can bring valuable financial benefits, help gain new perspectives, and grant so much experience that will remain indispensable throughout life. 

At the end of the school year last year, two months after my 15th birthday, I took a class to become a certified lifeguard. Lifeguarding seemed like a pretty good option for me because I’ve always loved swimming, but also because it was a decent job for a 15-year-old. At the time, I didn’t face any pressure from my parents to get a job, and little peer pressure as few of my friends had jobs last summer. I really wanted to keep busy over the summer before my sophomore year and I really enjoyed the benefits once I started getting paid. 

For some, making your own money is the best part of having a job, and overall, definitely the least debatable benefit. Buying food, clothes, and for those who can drive, gas, are all expenses for students that in today’s society, have become the norm. Having accessible pocket money to support yourself brings on so much freedom, and for some, takes the worry about supporting oneself away. Transitioning from relying on parents for money earlier, makes it more gradual and honestly easier to make the transition of supporting yourself as an adult. Of course, something to really keep in mind is how to spend money. Making your own money is only truly beneficial if it is being spent, and saved, cleverly. 

The process of searching for, applying, and interviewing for a job is one you will have to repeat many times throughout life, and in my experience with anything, practice makes perfect. In life, there are some things you must learn not in the “usual” way like in school, but through real experience. Learning about the processes that make up adult life sooner than later will allow for some room to make mistakes and grow from them in the future. Also, having a job and seeing what goes on behind the scenes can really help you gain a new perspective on how the working world works and allow you to look at the world through a new, and more mature lens. 

Also, a big eye-opening learning experience is co-workers. Working with co-workers can be extremely different than having to collaborate with others in school. Co-workers can be other high school students, but they can also be really anyone. It can be weird at first, especially working with adults, but it’s very interesting to learn about people that you usually would have never spoken to. I think a lot of the world can be explored just by talking with people with different backgrounds and experiences than you, something you can not necessarily learn in school. Also, working in any service job will also lead you to work with people in general while dealing with all different types of customers. 

But if having to work, and to work with people you may or may not like, sounds like little fun, having a job can be something great to add to a resume, whether for applying for another job or for college. (Also, having a job looks good to colleges, especially when balanced with other extracurriculars). Additionally, if you have an idea of what you would like to do in college or in the future, getting a job or even an internship in your general area of interest will help you explore deeper into the area and figure out with practical experience what you really want to pursue in the future. 

Of course, there are exceptions to the seemingly endless advantages of having a job. For those very busy with schoolwork and all of the responsibilities as both a student and a young adult, it simply isn’t possible to balance everything with school. Also, it is entirely possible to have a bad experience with past employment and want to proceed carefully in the future. Either way, having a job is a big commitment so it is important to think the decision through and prepare for the responsibility. 

While these possibilities aren’t to be ignored, the reality of life is that having a job for very many people will become the future, and because of the useful experiences, new perspectives, and of course, compensation that comes with a job makes it clear that having a job as a student is extremely valuable.