High school employment builds character

Sydney Jezik, News Editor

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Any modern high school student with a notion of the current job climate . . . so most high schoolers, of course . . . will know that employment is right now on a downturn. Nearly every place, it seems, is short-staffed. Target and McDonalds have begun offering ludicrously high starting wages (a whole $15 an hour!). Students who have jobs (unless they work at Culver’s) are likely aware that their own workplace is understaffed, and have been prompted by their boss to tell their friends to apply. And their parents may say something similar: something along the lines of “back in my day, everyone had a job in high school, it’s good for building character, just like the way we walked uphill both ways to school too . . .” 

And they are absolutely right. Not about the walking thing, though. But about the fact that employment throughout high school certainly builds character. This undeniable fact leads to the conclusion that all students should definitely be employed, regardless of inclination, mental capacity or existing workload.

Many students feel no desire to be employed. Strangely, hard physical labor for several hours is unappealing after mental and physical work at school for eight hours. Slackers, I say. Personal interest should not factor into the need for teens to be employed. Work is supposed to be miserable, and this savvy lesson ought to be learned while still young . . . just so no one’s holding out hope for the future. Besides, what would those students do, anyway? Go home? Go to sleep? Eat a balanced meal? Interact with family and friends? That’s horrible. With fondness does the author remember the day her mother told her to get a job. Unsuspecting, the young sixteen-year-old trotted down to a local restaurant and received a job that meant an end to her lazy nights full of studying and sufficient amounts of sleep. In brief, unemployed students need to pick up their feet and march down to the closest local place of work and apply for a job.

What if students just can’t handle it? As high school progresses, many students experience the phenomenon known as “burning out.” This occurs when a student has simply been too busy with things they don’t entirely enjoy — for example, eight hours of school a day, consisting of mostly mandatory classes that have never and will never appeal to their target audience. After such a mental inundation many teenagers have little headspace for anything else. This is where we refer to the recent Instagram mental headspace meme for a circumvention of this problem. If it’s laughable to consider one’s own mental health at times of crisis, it’s a riot to imagine allowing a student to take a break once in a while.

Then, of course, most students don’t have enough on their plates. Eight classes, plus one online one, plus two hours of sports after school, then that academic club you’re in. Why don’t you get paid on top of that? After all, you’re only young once. Please, come home late at night, don’t study for that important test the next day, don’t hang out with friends ever. A youthful body is meant for youthful jobs, like taking out the trash at that restaurant. No, the author isn’t bitter . . . definitely not . . . just speaking to a common truth: school became so students could be, and students are so students can work.

If you’re interested, my workplace is hiring.