Should students have a part-time job? This is an important question to consider as a student or the parent of a student, mainly because high school today differs from what it used to be. “High school has become more intense,” said Lauren Bauer, who studied this. She found that teens are less likely to work part-time while in school and less likely to work over the summer. “We have increasing demands on what high schoolers need to be doing and how much time that takes.” Not just academically but socially. At the same time, ‘side hustles’ have become a more common way to earn income. For example, selling trainers or social media.
As long as there is balance the evidence still suggests that there are many advantages to having a part-time job. For some students, especially those from traditionally underserved communities, a part-time job is necessary to help save for college. But for all taking up a part-time job might be a good idea beyond the financial benefits. Many of these are also possible by volunteering.
Advantages of Part-Time Jobs
Part-time jobs are good for students for the following reasons:
- Better time management skills. Students who take up part-time jobs manage their time better than those who don’t. For a similar reason for those who have time-intensive hobbies and sports. The extra time part-time job holders have to put in to keep their jobs forces them to develop better ways to manage time efficiently. The need to balance work and school helps prevent procrastination. Working students know that they simply have to do their schoolwork on schedule. Otherwise, they might struggle to find another time to squeeze it in. The saying, if you want something done, give it to a busy person, is true as they have perfected time management. Being on time or shifts or balancing commitments is. This is a key skill for students to go to college with.
- Builds self-confidence and character. Every job demands certain obligations from the employee. These demands require skill, determination, commitment, and motivation. This is why working students come to view their work as a reflection of their capability. Most jobs for students are in the service industries. In shops or cafes. Learning to approach strangers and talk around adults can do much to develop these skills in even the quietest child. In turn, this makes them self-confident. Whatever your child does as they get older, the importance of being able to have difficult conversations can not be overestimated.
- Early work experience. Some students are fortunate enough to take part-time jobs that align with whatever they want to major in. As a result, they get to pick up some introductory skills and industry knowledge, making their resumes look impressive. This also applies to students whose part-time jobs don’t align with their majors. As above these skills are transferable. That early work experience shows that the candidate can fit into a structured environment, collaborate and contribute. Even if at the bottom of the pile it helps your child understand the world of work.
- Networking. Holding a part-time job allows students to expand their network. This network can consist of connections, mentors, friends, and references. Each can contribute to the student’s life in different ways. Through connectors and referrals, students can access opportunities they might not otherwise have access to. On the other hand, they get support, coaching, and guidance from mentors and friends.
- Budgeting and money management. For many students, the first time they earn their own money is when they take up a part-time job. This teaches them the value of hard work and a deeper appreciation for money. Budgeting, prioritization, and discipline become important. This reduces the chances of being in debt as an adult. Here we discuss teaching the value of time and money to your child.
Things to Consider Before Taking Up a Part-Time Job.
Before your child takes on a part-time job, there are some considerations to make. Below are a few vital considerations:
- Schoolwork. Education should take precedence in your child’s list of considerations. First, they need to consider how many hours they spend on average per week attending classes and doing schoolwork. Then consider how many hours they’re willing to commit to the part-time job without suffering a burn-out. This will help your teen achieve a balance that works.
- Paycheck. For most students, a paycheck is one of the motivations behind taking a part-time job. Some want to pay for their car, improve their spending power, or save for college. Before taking a part-time job, your teen needs to consider if the paycheck can substantially help them achieve their objective. If their paycheck as a part-timer won’t help them achieve their goal, then they might need to reconsider. As a parent, you may need to help them choose a different part-time job.
- Experience. It’s crucial to consider work experience before choosing a place to work part-time. Is it nearby or in an area that you are uncomfortable with? Are they going to be able to get there safely?
How Many Hours Is Appropriate?
As established earlier in the article, high school has become much more demanding. So it’s normal to want your teen to avoid the increased hassle of a part-time job and just focus on getting good grades. This is by no means a wrong decision. You’re simply prioritizing.
Thankfully, you can help your teen learn some of the lessons that come with holding a part-time job. You can teach skills like time and money management. “Give the child some responsibility in terms of making financial decisions,” advises Shelly-Ann Eweka, a certified financial planner and wealth management director at financial services firm TIAA. For instance, “give them a budget for back-to-school shopping so they can decide between a fancy pair of sneakers or new clothes,” Eweka says.
On the flip side, there needs to be a balance if your teen insists on taking a part-time job. While it does have some pros, holding a part-time job also has cons. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), a study of more than 12,000 students in grades eight through 12 found that their grades decline as students work more hours.
This begs the question then: what maximum number of hours should students commit to their part-time jobs? “The students who seem to do best are those who are able to get and hold a job by the time they are seniors in high school, but who do not work more than 15 hours per week, on average,” says Jerald Bachman, a Research Professor at the University of Michigan.