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Working in High School

Working in High School

Working in High School

The four parts of the high school work experience, through my experienced (though maybe biased) eyes:

1. The People

If you’re lucky, the people you work with will be nice. I have found the people to be incredibly nice in all of my places of work, but I also know that that is not always the case. The same rules of courtesy apply for people you meet in school. In fact, the rules apply for almost every facet of the meeting-new-people experience anywhere in the world. Be nice to them, and unless they are horrible people (or just having a bad day), they will be nice to you. Even if they’re not, be nice to them still, because you don’t always know people the way you think you do.

2. The Work

You will find that the work depends on the job, though that may be a given. High school jobs tend to be restaurant, fast food, or supermarket jobs, and from what I can tell, and all these involve customer service. This means that there will be a time when a person walks through the doors of your working establishment and infuriates you beyond the point of reason, and you will not be allowed to tell them off or get angry. It is frustrating, I know. The other aspects of work may be tedious, even boring, but remember that they are paying you to grit your teeth and smile, even in that tedium and boredom. In other words, do your job well. It doesn’t matter what job you’re doing; if you can't do your best in that job, you may as well not have a job.

3. The Money

Generally, given that you are an inexperienced high school student with no degree or diploma to speak of, you will be working for minimum wage or slightly above. If you factor taxes into that equation, you might be earning close to nothing, at least in the sense that you probably couldn’t live on your salary alone. In any case, you may feel like you are extravagantly rich at the moment you receive your first paycheck, and decide to spend your money on things such as going out, shopping, or the occasional ice cream binge. If you decide to do that, your bank account will deplete rapidly, and you will be right back where you started. Try to visit the bank only when depositing money.

4. The Time (or lack thereof)

This is self explanatory. On one hand, working is an excellent way to consider how other people make their livings (and also, in many cases, to appreciate customer service) and to begin earning money of your own. On the other, academia is still a very important part of your life, and quite possibly the most important. Working may take up a great deal of your life. You’d best keep your working hours below fifteen per week, especially if you engage in other school activities.

There you have it: some tips on working in high school. Enjoy yourselves. Be kind to people. Buy yourself something nice (but just this one time).


Sherty Huang is currently a junior from Massachusetts, who enjoys her fleeting leisure time and wishes she was supplied more of it. She likes playing the piano, Alice Hoffman, traveling excessively, and eating at fancy restaurants (though she does not get to do much of that). Her other interests include marathoning Asian dramas in three days, writing (or typing) about her life, and shopping. However, much of her precious time is spent studying for history and physics, at which she is exceptionally bad. After this year, she hopes to spend a great deal of time in southern China before the tidal wave of college stress begins to hit. Following high school, there is no telling what life may bring.


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