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  • Writer's pictureNATALIE WEBER '17

High School Employment

Deciding whether or not a high school job is for you can be a tough decision. One may ask, "Do I have enough time?" "Will my grades be affected?" "What will I get out of a job?"

However, there are a multitude of benefits that come along with a job.

Studies show that students who work are more confident and possess better time-management skills than students who are not employed. In addition to offering a paycheck and independence, a part-time job can provide both training and experience. Also, college admissions find high school employment to be a highly impressive attribute.

When choosing a job, there are a several different categories that we can choose between. Here are a few to get you thinking.

1. Animal Shelter Worker

If you love animals, working at an animal shelter could be a great part-time job for you. Shelters hire minimum-wage employees to spend time with the animals and clean out their cages. If you are at all thinking about becoming a veterinarian, this part-time job provides you with hands-on experience, working closely with animals.

2. Entertainment

If you want a nontraditional high school job, look towards the entertainment field. These jobs include things such as Skyzone employees, laser tag workers, or amusement park worker (Kings Island). These jobs require lively people in order to provide quality entertainment and energy towards children of all ages. Also, for certain jobs, you must be particularly responsible in handling machinery- such as at Skyzone.

I interviewed Darla Ditmer (‘17) for more information on her job at Skyzone.

The Light: Where do you work and how long have you been there?

Darla: I work at Skyzone, an indoor trampoline park, in Springdale, Ohio. I've been working there since November.

The Light: Why did you decide to get a job?

Darla: I decided to get this job because first, my mom was bothering me to get one. Second, it looked like it would be an easy job. And third, I wanted to have my own income.

The Light: Was there a particularly funny moment that stands out to you?

Darla: A funny moment would have to be when I got pizza thrown at me. We serve Larosas so this lady ordered it and then came back and said it was gross. She was showing me it was gross by tearing it apart. I said "I'm sorry ma'am I can’t do anything about that". (We don't give refunds). I admit it was a bit gross and a few hours old. She said some bad things and then threw it at me.

The Light: was there a moment where you learned a particularly valuable lesson about people or life as a whole?

Darla: A valuable lesson I have learned at this job is that the customer is not always right, but it’s our job to make them feel like they are.

3. Babysitting

Babysitting a sibling or a younger neighbor is a rite of passage for many teens. Babysitters usually work Friday and Saturday evenings, leaving the week open for completing homework and participating in school-related activities. Most parents will pay a babysitter on average of $10-$15 an hour, making a solid amount for one night a week.

4. Grocery Store Employee

Grocery stores hire students throughout the year. There are many different jobs at a grocery store; workers can be a bagger, cashier, stocker, etc. Part-time employees can expect to make minimum wage working at a grocery store. Some perks of working for a grocery store include flexible shifts, merchandise discounts, and schedule flexibility.

5. Camp Counselor

Being a camp counselor requires tremendous patience when working with young children. You have to have at least a week of your summer free in order to work these weekly camps. Camps love hiring past campers, usually teens. These jobs usually offer very little pay, however, the memories and experience taken away make it a great opportunity.

I decided to ask Chemistry teacher Mr. Vogel about his high school job as a camp counselor.

The Light: Where did you work and for how long?

Mr. Vogel: I worked as a counselor at Camp Timberlane, a sleep away camp for boys in Wisconsin, for three summers. I had previously been a camper there for two summers, and naturally many of us came back as counselors. I was there for the full summer each time, including a 1-week orientation and preparation workshop and two 4-week sessions. I was responsible for a cabin of 10-12 boys with a team of 2 or 3 other counselors and also ran activities including archery, riflery, pottery, arts and crafts, tennis, and disc sports.

The Light: Why did you decide to get a job?

Mr. Vogel: For me, it was a natural progression from being in the oldest set of campers to wanting to come back as a counselor. I didn't even really consider it to be a 'job' in that sense, just a way to spend a summer. I did know it would be a challenge though, so I wasn't deluding myself there.

The Light: Was there a particularly funny moment that stands out to you?

Mr. Vogel: One of my best friends, Louis, was a counselor in the same cabin with me my second year. After one of his nights off, he came back to tell the kids and other counselors the story of a surly woman he had met at the laundromat named Saus McMuff. That's what we did on our nights off, by the way. Laundry needed to get done, and there wasn't much to do in the town of population 2,000 next to the camp. The story naturally included many details I can't pass on in polite company, but let's say it was very entertaining. It was later when only the counselors were awake that I learned that "Saus McMuff" was really just a Sausage McMuffin Louis ordered, but when he saw it ring up on the cash register as Saus McMuff, he decided that was a great name for a townie (local person) and decided to create a story to fit. Needless to say, no one was surprised when Louis started the camp's theatre program the next year.

The Light: Was there a moment where you learned a particularly valuable lesson about people or life as a whole?

Mr. Vogel: My first year as a counselor, I had to deal with a very difficult situation. Another very good friend, Dan, was a counselor in my cabin along with two others. For both Dan and me, it was our first year after being campers, and Dan wasn't ready to give up his camper ways. He shunned any responsibilities in favor of fun, something that simultaneous made life harder for us other three counselors and also made him very popular with the campers. Dan also had a horrible feud with one of the other counselors and did all he could to turn the kids against him. He put me in the middle of the mess he created, and in the end I had to choose between doing my job as a counselor and keeping a friendship. Considering it was hardly a friendship worth keeping at that point, I think I made the right choice. That summer taught me about how people can change (or not change) in different circumstances, but real friends will change with you rather than trying to hold you back. Also, it's important to keep track of your priorities in difficult situations.

6. Restaurant Staff

Being a member of a wait staff teaches patience, customer service, money management, food handling, some food preparation, and multi-tasking skills that can pay off after high school. Being a waiter is a very popular job for teenagers both during the school year, and in the summer. It’s a job that offers scheduling flexibility and a solid number of shifts each week. The tips can be good, and employees typically receive discounted or free meals during their shifts.

7. Retail Job

Most high school retail jobs entail standing behind a counter and ringing up clothes and magazines. Stores often hire students looking for after-school employment. Retail jobs offer all sorts of perks, including merchandise discounts, relatively light schedules (such as Snooty Fox), working alongside other students, and a fun, fast-paced work environment. The downsides include earning minimum wage, working on weekends, and dealing with unhappy customers. Students will learn responsibility, money management, and how to effectively deal with customers.

I interviewed junior Margot Koenig about her job in retail. I asked her the same questions as Darla and Mr. Vogel.

Margot: I work at the Snooty Fox in Hyde Park and have been working there since October of 2015. I decided to get a job because after the tennis season was over I had time after school and on the weekends to work. I also was tired of asking my parents for money or living off of $20 from babysitting. I wanted to get a taste of the real world even if it was just from a local consignment shop. I wanted to be able to work and communicate with varieties of people from different parts of the city of all different ages and backgrounds. Having a job is an important thing to be able to put on my resume, but I have and will continue to gain work, time management and people skills. Snooty Fox is often times filled with a large percent of people who do not particularly care what others think about them so it is not uncommon for funny moments to occur. A specific moment that my co-workers, the customers and eventually I, after I got over the embarrassment, thought was funny was when I answered my first phone call. It was towards the end of the night and many customers were trying to purchase their clothes and the phone started ringing. Everyone was busy so I decided to answer it. When the employees answer the phone we are supposed to say "Snooty Fox Hyde Park, this is [enter name]" but instead I answered "Snooty Fox Hyde Park, this is Fox." The woman on the phone, my coworkers and the employees at the registers all burst out in laughter. I was horrified. A moment at Snooty Fox when I learned something particularly valuable about people was when I was having a rough day. It was a Monday night and I was very tired. The customers seemed cranky that day except for one. Her hair was in a very messy bun seeming to hold itself together, her clothes were old and stained and she was paying with only change pulled from her back pocket. There were obvious bruises up and down her arms. This woman was the only customer of the day who had noticeable manners and was very grateful for my help. It taught me that I am not aware of other's situations or issues; however, one's own problems should not drain out the kindness and politeness he or she should show towards others.

8. Tutor

Parents pay good money to have their kids tutored, so take advantage of your knowing how to help their kids succeed. Whether it’s tutoring an elementary school student with his or her reading or preparing an 8th grader for the HSPT, tutoring is big business right now. Private tutors can expect to earn more than babysitters, and can set their own schedule with their clients. In order to be a tutor, you have to really enjoy helping others learn.

9. Fast food

In order to work at a fast food restaurant, a student needs to adjust to a fast paced, busy environment. These jobs usually offer minimum wage and include restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Papa John’s, etc. Working at these places improves people skills as well as seeing what it is like to work in a deadline-oriented environment. Fast food restaurants are very flexible with scheduling and often prefer hiring high schoolers.

In fact, I work at a fast food restaurant. Drive west for 15 miles from SUA on U.S. 50 and you will come across the Saylor Park McDonald’s. Anyone who has heard me talk about my job knows that I love it and that I have endless humorous stories. I started out making minimum wage ($8.10/hr) but I have already been placed on one of the management teams as well have gotten a raise after only working there for 2 months. They have been very flexible and with a tough second semester I am only working from 9am-3pm every Sunday.

Teenagers have different motives for finding a part-time job while in high school. Some of these jobs may not bring in much money, but the work experiences are valuable in other ways, too. In just a few hours a week, teens learn about responsibility, money management, people skills, working as a team, and they also learn what type of job they will want as a career. If you can find the time to work, socialize, participate in clubs/ sports, and finish your SUA homework load, having a job can be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

To find a job for you go to:

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