Summer jobs can benefit students in many ways, giving them skills that will help them in their future careers and boost their future income. Stahancyk has learned some important lessons from working at an early age. “I’ve learned about commitment and the importance of hard work,” she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every year a person works in their teens, their income raises 14-16 percent in their 20s”(youthfirstinc.org). Students also see improvements in their grades while working during their high school years. Some studies indicate that students who balance 10-15 hours of work per week during the school year earn higher grades than students who do not work (youthfirstinc.org).
Some of the highest paying high school jobs are babysitter, lifeguard, and restaurant server (money.usnews.com). There are many opportunities for students to work besides these three. The problem arises where students aren’t able to work. They may not be able to work because they can’t drive themselves anywhere or don’t have transportation in general. Some students are pressured to work very hard in school and are left with little free time.
CNBC says, “In 1979, nearly 60% of American teenagers were employed, an all-time high. Today, just over one-third, or 35%, of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are part of the workforce.”
So why is there a downfall in the teen workforce? This is due to school growing more difficult and the addition of more graduation requirements over the years. Yet during the summer, many students still take advantage of their free time to earn some money. Earning money now can help students manage their finances better in their adult life.
Stahancyk and Bracher have been working during the summers since middle school, both on farms. Bracher works for his family farm and Stahancyk works for local farmer Jeff Newtson, who is also her former track and cross country coach.
Stahancyk, unlike Bracher, is not sure that her summer job will have an impact on her future career. “In my case, probably not,” she said. “I am going into the medical field so I’m not sure how that will play into the medical field.”
Bracher on the other hand, works for his family's farm which gives him the skills and knowledge he needs to help him run the farm someday. Bracher said “Everything I do is my favorite, there is not a job I don’t like.” Bracher already has plans on working on the farm after high school.
While working during the summer is a great experience, punching a clock during the school year itself can be stressful. It is important to make sure if students are working during the school year, to make sure their grades don’t suffer. And if they aren’t working during their high school years, it is nothing bad and they shouldn’t be ashamed.
Students have their whole adult lives to work, but starting now can help them get ahead.