Part Time Jobs: Why they’re fundamental in shaping a teen’s character


Eleventh grader Krysta Schawb is hard at work taking customers’ carts out to their cars, stacking shelves, packing bags and helping out in any way she can. She enjoys her time at work where she is able to learn fundamental life skills such as teamwork, communication, and the right way to treat superiors. Photo Credit: Rachel Sandstrom

Rachel Sandstrom

For high school students, having a job is one of the most rewarding and important activities they can do for themselves. There is only so much a high school education can teach students. Yes, school teaches kids how to work well with others, respect their peers and superiors and a whole lot of useless anecdotes such as the pythagorean theorem or the centripetal force formula, but after this, the learning stops. What a job does is it takes these skills and enhances them and teaches young adults extra life skills they may not have been taught in school.


In my opinion, one of the most important lessons a job can teach young adults is how to manage their money. This is something schools should teach, but sadly the public school system fails in that category. By getting a paycheck every two weeks, teens are forced to manage this money and act responsibly. As they continue to work, they will realize how hard they worked for that money and that they should watch how fast it is spent, and what it is spent on. They’ll start putting a little money in savings every time they get paid and think twice about their next investment. 


In addition to a job teaching teens how to act responsibly with money, a job teaches them the life long skill of communication. It gives teens important “real world” experience of communicating  with customers, co-workers and their superiors. Young adults can build their communication skills at a first job such as being a host at a restaurant or stacking shelves at a store in order to prepare for a higher level job outside of high school. Working as a teen, you have to be able to communicate with customers and a job can teach you how to do this respectfully and politely in order to showcase the company’s good customer service. 


By having coworkers, as a fellow employee you are forced to learn how to communicate with them which will come in handy when communicating with future coworkers. You don’t want your coworkers to dislike you, you want to be able to form good relationships so you can ask for help when needed down the road. A job as a teen can help you build this foundation.


When working as a teen, you will have people who are above you such as managers or any type of boss that tells you what to do. You must be able to treat them with respect and acknowledge their superiority over you. 


Junior Krysta Schawb who works at Trader Joe’s talks a bit about how having a job has taught her how to treat superiors, “Having a job has forced me to expand my capabilities regarding interactions with superiors and just a general population of coworkers that are in a different age range.”


A job teaches young adults the right way to treat their superiors which is an extremely important skill to have because there will always be someone above you no matter where you are in your life. The sooner you realize that, the easier life will be, and what better way than working as a teen can help you understand that right from the get go. Teens already have learned a bit about how to treat their superiors from parents and teachers, but in the working world, you get fired if you refuse to do so. Now there’s an incentive to respect them which you may not have had before with just parents and teachers.


Check out this article for more benefits on having a job as a teen and some tips on choosing the right job for you if you’re wondering where to start.