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Pros and Cons of High School Jobs

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Pros and Cons of High School Jobs

Job application form

Job application form

Molly Soares

Job application form

Molly Soares

Molly Soares

Job application form

by Molly Soares, Reporter

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In high school, students strive for independence and self sovereignty that most students can relate to. A common way students like to resolve this is to get a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 1 in 4 students worked as of 2014 and most high schoolers meet the age requirement to work a minimum wage job, which is at the least 14.

 

There has been ongoing debate in the past about whether or not students should get jobs while they are in school. If the lessons employment would teach are valuable enough to sacrifice time that could be spent studying, or if having jobs may lead teens to dropout of school completely.  

 

And these are valid concerns, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has set regulations for employed minors so they are not exploited. Minors in Washington state can only work up to 20 hours a week during school, and can not work full eight hour shifts or past 9:55 on school days. In some situations, an employer does not abide by Washington’s labor laws and that affects the students academics greatly. Melanie Mounteer, a former Olympic High School student, is a victim of this exploitation.

 

“… school started and I worked 20 almost 30 [hours]. I got called into work a lot during school and even during a test…”

 

Melanie reports getting little to no sleep during school because she would have to work closing shifts and wake up early in the morning for class. Though she is still determined to get an education and is working to get her GED. Her advice to students: “Make school your main priority if you have a job even if you have to quit or take a break…Appreciate what school gives you and your family and just the little things if someone finds themself in a situation like mine just try your best.”

Melanie’s situation is an excellent example of how a job and school and be overworking if the laws are not followed. Her experience support why Washington state has the child labor laws in place that it does. When an employer does follow laws and takes into account the student’s schedule, a job can be ongoingly beneficial to the student by teaching valuable skills they can use later on. Aubrie Ream, a junior at Olympic High School reports working 12 hours a week, and “never” finding it hard to juggle her job and school work, along with the team sport she plays.

 

A job can be beneficial for students because it teaches them to manage their time with their work schedule, school schedule and time for leisure activities. Having a job can teach how to budget an income, especially part time and minimum wage, responsibility and showing up to work, and putting in a good effort to get things done. It can teach social skills that are not often taught in school like working with customers and forming relationships with bosses and colleagues.

Molly Soares
Sara Paulson, Olympic High School senior, at her after school job.

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