Teenagers with Jobs

Cass Golden September 20,2017


In Massachusetts, you can legally obtain a work permit at the age of fourteen. Most businesses won’t hire a teen that young though, however, that is around the time parents usually start urging their kids to start thinking about where they want to work. According to an article on childtrends.org, “49 percent of youth ages 16-24 were employed in any work either full -or part-time,” as of a poll in 2015. On the contrary, some parents think that their child shouldn’t have to work because it’s hard for them to balance school and extracurricular activities with work. However, I think that having a job can teach teens many valuable life lessons including how to manage their time better, responsibility, and the importance of working for what you want.

        In an interview I conducted, I asked an anonymous peer a series of questions regarding her life as a student in high school with an after school job. I began our interview with asking the person of interest where she worked, just to get a feel for the type of environment she is working in. She replied by saying she worked at Lorenzo’s, which is a local family italian restaurant. I continued with asking her how many days a week she worked. My peer also told me that her work schedule changed every week, as well as seasonally, but she usually works an average of four days a week. Now that I had a feel for how much time said person put into her job, I asked her if she is able to manage her time well and balance her school work with having a job. She feels as if she can’t find a way to balance everything, however she has been working at Lorenzo’s for almost two years, and her time management skills have improved a little since then.

        Additionally, I decided to ask the interviewee if she has become more or less responsible since she got a job, both as a person and with her money. As a person in general, she feels she has become more responsible because she’s had to learn to do things on her own and figure things out for herself, like what to do when something goes wrong at work. As far as money, she has become more of a spender since she got a job, because she has money to spend now. Although she tends to spend more than she saves, she is learning the lesson of how important working for what you want is, because now she can splurge on things she couldn’t get in the past.

        I also conducted another interview with my cousin Geena who is a little bit older. Geena is a college student at Umass Lowell, and also works at Busa Wine and Spirits. I asked her the same questions I asked in the previous interview, and got both similar and different answers which was kind of surprising. Geena only works about two days a week, due to her hectic schedule, but still told me that she was able to manage her time extremely well. Although she works less days than my previous interviewee, Geena’s college work load is much heavier than that of my previous interviewee so I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that she said she, “is thriving.” Similar to the last interviewee though, Geena reported that she feels as if she has become more responsible as a person, but has become more of a spender since she got a job as well.

        Now looking at the more logistical side of things, a report from a Brigham and Young University cites a study that states, “one would intuitively conclude that, because time and energy are finite resources, jobs would detract from studying and be harmful to a student’s GPA. Most studies conclude that this is only the case when the student’s number of hours worked per week exceeds 20 hours. In fact, students who work fewer than 15-20 hours often report higher GPAs than those who do not work at all (Dundes).” With this said, it proves the point that having a job can be more beneficial to students than if they don’t have one. Not only can it help improve their GPAs, but it teaches students valuable life lessons like time management. Both of the people I interviewed stated that they were doing better than they had in the past with managing their time, because they were kind of forced to figure out how to balance everything since they had so much on their plate.

        Still focusing on this statistic and how it correlates with the results of my interviews, I found evidence of it to be true through what the interviewees said. In the first interview the anonymous person said although they have improved their time management skills, they were still having some trouble finding time to finish school work on days that they worked. Keep in mind that this person also worked about four days a week. On the other hand, in the other interview Geena said she has been doing extremely well managing her time and getting her school work done, while she only works 2 days a week for 8 hours. So it backs up the report from the University that having a job, but working fewer hours is the best option for managing time as well as doing better in school as a student.

Above: Lorenzo’s Restaurant in Middleboro, MA.