There are several high school students that work to help support their families, and do not have a choice. These students often work long hours at less than desirable jobs. These hardworking kids often get a bad reputation at school for sleeping in class, or maybe having a short fuse. Well, I would think that most of us would be high strung if we were forced to sacrifice so much time at such a young age. These students often struggle with their grades. This is unfortunate, because under normal circumstances these students would perform well. However, working long hours prevents these students from doing any out of class practice, and ussually impacts their homework average. In addition, these students have difficulties prioritizing their goals, because of outside pressures. Work becomes more important than school when their families are struggling to cover bills.
Many students are fortunate to have the luxury of attending high school without having to work in order to pay for living expenses. However, once they are able to drive they feel the need to take on more responsibilities. I do not think this is a bad thing at all; it will provide them some early insight on how to manage money, how to interact with co-workers and employers, and serve as a general introduction into the real world. For these students working part-time, I would advise them to keep their priorities straight. Yes, it is great to earn spending moeny in high school, but without working hard to gain scholarships that spending money will barely make a dent into college tuition. While I think that working part time jobs in high school will help provide much needed work experience before students are officially on their own, I also think that school should remain the top priority. Students should be able to participate in extra-curricular activities and maintain decent grades while working. If a student is unable to do this, it may be better to wait until the summer time to work.
I worked off and on through my high school years and found that it was quite rewarding. I was able to make steady income as a busboy and eventually a server in high school. I learned the importance of saving money, building credit, also, and enjoyed spending my own money as well. There was a certain new freedom involved in having the ability to spend money without having to ask for it from Mom and Dad. In addition to the financial benefits, I also learned a little about real world expectations. I learned about the importance of promptness, appearance, and work ethic. Although, it made the days seem busy, and the class work a little more tedious, I enjoyed the challenge. I think it helped me develop character and maturity at an earlier age. Impressing the ladies with fancy dates was also a benefit that I enjoyed, however fruitless those dates may have been.
All in all I think the experience is worthwhile. In fact, it may lead to other jobs, or at least allow you to build references and contacts to help you in the future. It seems a bit sad that people in their twenties sometimes apply for a job for the very first time. However, if a job begins directly impacting academic success, I would suggest finding a new job, or simply waiting until the summer. Education should be taken seriously and not placed on the back burner, for a few extra bucks.