Should You Get a Job at a Young Age?


Molly Neuzil, Staff-Writer

I’ve noticed that many people in my year have either been looking for a job or already have a job after school, it had me wondering if having a job interfered with their school life. Before interviewing DHS students about having jobs, I researched different state laws on children under 18 getting jobs. Did you know that in 35 out of 50 states you can begin working at the age of 14? Due to child labor laws, minors under the age of 14 are prohibited from working in nonagricultural occupations. Minors under 16 have a restricted amount of hours and types of work they can perform. Children under 18 are prohibited from working in any hazardous occupation. I’ve asked 4 other DHS students how they feel about their jobs and how they feel about getting a job. I interviewed two students with jobs, Kamora Henry and Ava Reber, and two students without jobs, Sydney McCabe and Tatum Tylke. 

I started by asking Kamora Henry her thoughts about getting her job, and how she feels about her job and school-life balance. Kamora had this to say: “ My job doesn’t affect me at school much because my schedule is fixed around my school hours. So it’s all good.” She continued to talk about how she felt about her job. I asked if her getting a job was something that she felt pressured about or if it was something she did willfully, and she responded by telling me that “I wanted a job, but yes, my Mom and Dad said it’s a good idea since I don’t do sports.” I asked her how she felt about getting her job, and she told me, “Getting my job wasn’t that bad at all. I like having responsibilities and being independent so getting a job made me happy, and it was comforting.” 

I  also spoke to Sydney McCabe, who doesn’t have a job. I asked her opinions on potentially getting a job in the future and if she felt pressured to get a job.  Sydney said,  “ I feel pressured, but my parents have different feelings about it. My mom thinks I’m too young but my dad constantly asks me about getting a job, along with him my brother always says I should get a job.” Continuing the interview, I asked if she was nervous about getting a job in the future, and she told me, “ I am nervous, no matter what the job is. I’m scared of having a lot on my plate considering the limited time in a day.”  I asked her opinion on if she would think a work schedule would affect a school schedule. She told me, “ I am a person who overachieves and will take on as much as possible, and want to excel at everything can be overwhelming. I think that still managing a social life too would mean my mental state would go down. So yes, it would affect my school life and the little time I already have.” I proceeded to ask her if she wanted a job in the near future. She replied, “ I don’t want a job soon because I’m only 14, that means I’m still a kid, just because I’m in high school doesn’t mean I’m automatically an adult, so why would I have to take on adult responsibilities? I do think there is a certain level of respect and responsibilities that older teenagers have, like a job, but as a freshman, I don’t think I should take them on right now.” After, she opened up to me about her family, her anxieties over a job, and her opinion on freshmen having jobs.

I asked Tatum Tylke the same questions as I asked the same questions that I asked Sydney McCabe, knowing her answers and opinions would be different. I asked her if she felt pressured to get a job, and she responded, “I’m not sure if I feel pressured about getting a job. Honestly, I am taking classes for babysitting in the winter, but I’m not worried about it because that’s a good job to have an easy schedule with. I continued asking her questions, like if she was nervous about getting a job in the future, she told me, “ I am nervous. I’ve met parents who want me to babysit their kids, and I have anxieties that I won’t meet their expectations.” It seems that she and Sydney have the same anxieties about getting a job, and meeting expectations. I asked Tatum if she thought a work schedule would affect her school schedule, “I think that a work schedule will mess up my after-school life. I play golf throughout all seasons. In the summer, fall, and spring I practice, and the golf season is in the fall.” telling me that because of her sports, she thinks a job would mess-up everything. I asked her if she would want a job soon, and she responded, by telling me she would want a job soon. It seems to me that a job schedule wouldn’t be a good fit for her right now, despite her taking babysitting lessons in the winter. 

I spoke to a former DHS student, Ava Reber. I asked her how she felt about getting a job while she was still in high school at Dover. Ava says, “When I first got my job, I was excited to make my own money and not depend on others. I had a sense of responsibility but not too much since I was still young. No one else dictated where my money went and it was a big sense of freedom too.” She felt good with all of the responsibilities and freedoms that came with her getting a job. I asked her why she wanted a job, “I wanted a job so I could earn my own money because it feels different earning it rather than just taking it from someone, and I felt bad borrowing money from others that I couldn’t pay back.” I asked her if her having a job when she was in high school affected her school life, and she said, “It affected my school work in different ways; I had to learn to manage my time way better, and it made me fall a bit behind. I had no time to do it either since I was at school from 7 pm to 2:35 pm the would work from 3 pm to 10 pm. It affected it more negatively than positively I would say because I was just burnt out the entirety of that job and school.” Finally, I asked her if getting a job was something she felt pressured to do, or if it was something she wanted to do on her own, “No, I didn’t have anyone pressuring me, I had encouragement though, I willingly got my job.”

After all of my interviews, I’ve learned that having an after-school job can give you little time after school for things like homework if you don’t plan your schedule accordingly. Also, getting a job can be so scary for some people who have the feeling to excel at everything they do or play a sport that they play throughout all seasons. It could also be a good thing for those who like the responsibility and freedom of having a job. It seems as if having a high school all depends on setting your work schedule around the school so you’d still have time to do things like homework or any projects.