Job-hunting during the summer or in the middle of a relaxing school year is a way to fill up time otherwise spent loafing around. Jobs can also provide practical experiences that cannot be matched in school.
“I think any job, you can get something out of to take forward with you,” College/Career Center Coordinator Kristin Joseph said. “Whether it helps you find a career or lets you know this is not the career you want to pursue, I think it’s helpful.
Money is main reason students search for a part-time job.
For students like sophomore Emma Carr, who works at Laser Quest, the money is for a greater cause than that cute pair of designer jeans—she intends to buy a car, go to France over the summer and attend a singing academy next summer with the wages she earns.
“My parents aren’t exactly Bill Gates,” Emma said. “I need this money. I don’t go and spend it at the mall. I save it for bigger things.”
Juggling classes, sports, club activities and a job is asking for sleep deprivation and early wrinkles.
“It doesn’t interfere with schoolwork,” Emma said. “But it does take a lot out of me. It’s tiring. Really, really tiring.”
The age at which a student should acquire a job depends entirely on the individual. Factors to be considered are one’s school work load, extracurricular activities and necessity of the money and experience.
All jobs supply money, but different types of jobs serve different purposes. Internships often provide experiences in a specific kind of field, while the service industry offers knowledge on dealing with customers.
Even though most teenagers will say that they have no idea what they are going to do when they grow up, now is not too early to be thinking about it. It is possible that a teenager will stumble upon a career that seems like a perfect match; however, such an opportunity will not come about if one does not try.
Math teacher Judy Strauss, who was an intern at both Mountain View High School and Los Altos High School, found the experience to be immensely beneficial to her teaching career.
“There’s no teacher for the experience of teaching. [Having the internship] really helped me in terms of having supervision over my teacher,” Strauss said. “It was very, really useful and it really changed how I taught.”
As long as time is not an issue, there is no reason students should not extend their independence, make more money and add to their job experience in the process.
“Students should get a job as soon as they feel they’re ready for it,” said junior Mo McBirney, who worked at Coldstone from eighth grade to the end of her sophomore year. “A job is a good way to learn how to work as a team with other people, and to learn how to deal with difficult ones. I had a ton of fun and I made a lot of new friends in the process.”
If high school is not a demanding enough occupation, then extra time should be spent learning about the world at large, and earning some money on the side. Though now, serving customers may not be the most ideal way to spend excess time, in 20 years, that job opportunity and the knowledge it provides will be invaluable.