By Michael Pepin
Is it the lure of hard earned cash, or the experience and responsibility of an after-school job that drives seniors to forsake the afternoon spent with companionship and fun for flipping burgers on a grill while an irritated customer revises her order, again? Even those without pressing financial difficulties strive to get a job and provide their own cash flow with long hours of work spent in crowded restaurants or department stores.
To many, this is a form of independence and an opportunity to experience the real world.
“Instead of having to ask parents for this and that, they can choose where to spend their money and why,” said counselor Mark Clark. In fact, the majority of students who chose to pursue after school jobs are motivated by factors other than dependency. It is a way of providing the money for their own use, cash they can burn and save as they wish. However, the long hours they cash in for a paycheck are not without price.
“They have to make their entire schedule around work, and it greatly affects their personal life. They could not end up going to a game or hanging out because they weren’t able to work it out with their employer,” said Clark. With another element of juggling hamburger buns for several hours each day, student life becomes that much harder.
“Anything over 15 hours a week could be detrimental to a student’s life,” said Clark. With after-school sports, homework, the pressure of friends, personal life, and on top of all that a part-time job, schedules can go haywire like never before.
“You have to balance your time,” said Kassie Dilling, a senior who works as a hostess for Beef O’ Brady’s in her free time. She started working when she needed a way to pay for the gas in her car, and since then she has worked in her free time. However, after-school jobs do not exist solely as a method to provide cash for high school upperclassmen.
“Sometimes you run into people who just want to work for the paycheck and they don’t put in the work they need to. Being on time requires responsibility and dedication, which is essential to someone looking for a job,” said Dairy Queen manager Jermey Carroll. Many employers look for those qualities when they are considering hiring anyone, be it a high school senior or an adult seeking a part-time job for extra income.
It never comes down to what is simply written within the application sheet, or what is exposed in an interview with the employer, said Carroll. Unlike schoolwork, a person’s attitude and outlook on life and others is as important as performance and punctuality.
“It depends on how dedicated you are. If you have a good attitude you won’t fail on either side, the academic or the personal side. You have to make time for everything.”