Time management. Teamwork. Discipline.
These are just some of the many skills you can gain by taking on a job while still in high school. When most people think of the benefits of a job, they think about the money you can get from working. While that is definitely a plus, there are many other benefits that having a job in high school brings to those that choose to work.
Working during the school year is one of the best ways that you can build your professional skills, earn some money on the side, and investigate potential careers. The most important of these reasons is investigating potential careers, so let's start with that.
Investigating Your Career
Many high schoolers, by virtue of being young, have no idea what they are going to pursue in the future. A large number of us spend most of our time in school and on homework, and not much on thinking about our futures. A lot of us tend to believe that wherever we end up will be best for us, and tend not to insert ourselves into the process.
In other words, we let ourselves go wherever the world takes us. As a result, we end up declaring our major in university without too much research. Oftentimes, we may choose wrong and end up in a major, and later on, a job that is less than ideal for us.
To avoid this, teenagers should work in high school to get a feel of their favorite aspects of the corporate world to understand their interests better. In doing so, they can make the most of their college experience and dictate what they want to do during college, rather than let it dictate them. Taking charge of your own career is important, as if you fail to do so, it's possible that you enter a field which doesn't excite you.
This can lead to a life of work which you aren't passionate about. Since you're going to spend a third of your life at work, you want to be working in a field that interests you so that you don't doom yourself to a boring life. OK, that might be a little extreme, but the bottom line is that you want to have a job you're interested in. Speaking of future jobs, another benefit of having a job in high school is that you can build professional skills that will help you in the future.
One of the things that having a job in high school can help with is building your professional skills. Many times, when students come out of college and enter the workforce, they do not possess very many professional skills and struggle to acclimate to the workforce. Professional skills (also called "soft skills") include things like collaboration, time management, decision making, critical thinking, etc.
These skills are all needed to be effective in the workplace, whether it be through interactions with your coworkers, your ability to handle conflict, and your overall ability to do work. You can think of these as "meta-skills," which are skills that allow you to implement your other skills in the most efficient manner. The best way to learn them is in the real world.
Collaboration and decision making, for example, aren't things that you can learn through an online course. The only way to learn them is to be put on a team, assigned tasks, and apply them to the best of your capability. This is where having a job in high school comes in.
By having any job, whether it be at a fast food company or as an intern at a financial firm, you will be forced to work with other people, manage time, make decisions, etc. You will be put through situations which will help you develop these professional skills for your future career. By having gone through these situations already, you will already possess the professional skills that you need, instead of struggling to build them when you enter the workforce for the first time after college.
The third, and most basic of the reasons, is to earn money on the side. This is most pertinent for teens who are planning to continue their education in college. College is expensive, and unless you are one of the lucky few who receive scholarships or have parents who are paying for it, you will have to finance the entire experience yourself.
The most common way people do this is through incurring debt on themselves, which haunts them for decades to come. We've all heard the student loan nightmare stories, and we all collectively dread the day when it will be us. However, by getting a job in high school, we can reduce the amount of money we take on loan from banks, and thus reduce our debt.
While you won't be earning much as a high schooler, even a fast food job will help you out to a good extent. Here in California, most fast food places pay around $15.50 an hour. If we assume that as a part-time high schooler, you work 25 hours a week, you will have earned $20,150 after one year working there. That goes a long way in financing your college experience! Just make sure not to spend any of it....
Overall, having a job in high school provides you with a lot of benefits that will help you in the future, whether it be through helping you explore future careers, building your professional skills, or just making you money. Regardless of the type of job you choose, you will definitely benefit.