Upperclassmen should get jobs to gain valuable workforce experience

Clocking into a tiring eight-hour shift at my job at Starbucks every weekend for several months straight was incredibly draining, however I do feel that the experience has built my character and shaped me into a more resistant person. 

Part-time jobs provide teenagers with numerous benefits and valuable lessons. Upperclassmen should get jobs since teen employment can promote money management skills and advance other necessary qualities such as accountability, communication, cooperation and time-management. 

I did not have the most wonderful first part-time job experience at the Starbucks drive-through. However, after reflecting, I’m ultimately thankful for the experience as I’m more equipped to handle similar situations in the future. I was able to experience an intense work environment with picky, rude customers now rather than later. 

Most high schoolers, especially upperclassmen, have the resources to acquire a job. Many stores in the food service industry hire employees starting at 16 years old, and many high schoolers obtain their driver’s licenses at this age, so they can manage their own transportation to and from their jobs. 

When teens begin the job-search process, many of them are immediately exposed to aspects of professionalism, especially depending on where they apply to work. Students must do their own research on what businesses are hiring, fill out applications and submit resumes, and contact supervisors and managers. The hiring process is a learning experience in itself: learning about possible interview questions and how to answer them is a crucial part of the job experience. 

On top of this, the inherent nature of customer service jobs helps to teach students accountability, responsibility and interpersonal skills. For instance, having to develop the “customer is always right” mentality can be easier said than done, but by interacting with challenging customers, teens can develop patience and communication skills. I’ve had my fair share of “Karens,” and while frustrating, I think these experiences have taught me how to maintain my composure in stressful situations.

Student employees must also take on a new load of responsibilities, as well as a new perspective on discipline. This will help to improve their reliability and efficiency. For example, employees cannot skip work just because they don’t feel like going, and if they’re sick, then it is their responsibility to find someone to cover for them. They will realize that their absence at one shift will make everything more grueling for the rest of the staff that day, meaning they will be held accountable for their decisions.

Additionally, jobs allow teens to be responsible for their own money. As teenagers learn how challenging it is to make money, they will be more aware of their spending habits and become more appreciative of what they choose to buy. 

Many high schoolers may be hesitant to get a job since they think they don’t have the time in their schedule or because they are more focused on excelling in school and athletics. While balancing all of these obligations is challenging, it only pushes us to improve our time-management skills. 

When I was overscheduled at work due to our store being understaffed, I struggled to balance everything. However, many employers are accommodating to high school students, and finding a flexible job with an appropriate number of hours per week can provide teens with the perfect balance between school and work. 

Additionally, many students fail to realize how sheltered their school environment is, as many grow used to the school bubble and don’t have experiences outside of it. Being thrown into a work environment with adults, many of whom have been working full-time for years, is a jarring experience, but it exposes us to the struggles of maintaining a job. 

Ultimately, upperclassmen should have a job before graduation and before they have to live as adults in the real-world. Maintaining a job while keeping up grades and athletics can be strenuous, but the benefits for the future are undeniable.