A lot of people call it a rite of passage, the entry into adulthood, a necessary part of high school: a job. From the income to the experience to the feelings of responsibility, there are a lot of good reasons to get a job during high school. I, however, decided to take a different path early on in my high school career by resolving not to have a paying job before college.
Where I live, you usually have to be fourteen in order to get a work permit. So, when I started high school, people already had or were looking for jobs. By sophomore year, a good portion of my class had jobs—some only in the summer and some all year round. I started noticing something. While people, mostly those who only worked on the weekends, seemed to handle having a job well, those who held jobs that required them to work all week sometimes had trouble keeping up with everything. I saw friends struggle to keep up their grades or their happiness because of how much of their time they dedicated to their job.
The breaking point for me really came when I saw one of my friends start being scheduled to work more than forty hours a week during the school year—what most would consider to be a full time job. To make things worse, she was paid only a starting salary, not the amount for the position she had unofficially been promoted to.
At that point I knew that having a job was not worth the costs. I did not want to sacrifice all of my free time to something I would not enjoy. Getting a job would have prevented me from doing many of the extracurriculars I love as well as would have taken away from the time I would have to spend with friends.
Sometime around when I made this decision, my mother made the statement, “School is your job.” And few truer words about jobs have ever been spoken to me. When it comes to high school, the most important thing is to get an education. For some, it is easy to balance getting that education with having a job, but for others it is not. I knew that with how busy I was with school and extracurriculars, I simply would not have time if I wanted to stay sane. So, I resolved to not have a job until I was out of high school.
Since making that decision, I have been generally happy with it. Even though not having extra money to spend can be a bit of a drag, I haven’t minded too much. First of all, not having money lying around prevents me from spending it. I don’t end up buying things I do not need, and I have to really think about it when deciding whether or not to buy something. I feel that this has allowed me to be more conscious of the money I had and avoid the stereotype of high schoolers spending all the money they get their hands on.
In addition to not having a job that teaches me how to not spend money, I have also felt that it has allowed me to have a very enjoyable four years of high school. While I have some friends that are never able to do anything over the weekend because the weekends are the busiest time of the week, I have never had to worry about it. When my friends decide to make spontaneous Friday night plans, I don’t have to miss out because of a schedule made weeks in advance without a thought to students’ lives outside of work and school.
Though I know that some people do not have the option of not having a job. However, if it’s a possibility, you should consider it. You only have a few years in high school, so you might as well make the most of it. After all, high schoolers are still young, and, in my opinion, it’s not worth it to rush into adulthood.