Working for a Living

Many high school students have emersed themselves into the reality of the real world and maybe you should too.


Emily Gierczynski working at the Soergels Bakery.

First jobs can be pretty scary but also teach valuable life skills. Reality sets in and it’s basically the first time teenagers are exposed to the working world. It’s one step closer to having more responsibility. One step closer to adulthood. One step closer to spending your own money rather than your parent’s. One step closer to the future.

1 in 4 high school students ages 16 or older have a job. From working the Soergels’ Fall Festival, babysitting, mowing lawns, lifeguarding, working at Chick-fil-a, to opening an Etsy shop, many North Allegheny Intermediate students have jobs. Over half of the students surveyed reported that it is not hard to juggle school and work, with an average of working 12 hours a week.

So what is the appeal of working? According to NAI students, meeting and interacting with new people, earning money, having creative freedom, and even scanning items at the cash register are just some of the fun aspects of having a job. 

Madison Cieszynski, an NAI student who works at Brusters, shared her input on having a job. She said her favorite part of her job is seeing the people she works with. 

What are most NAI highschoolers, like Madison, using their money for? Out of the 18 students surveyed, 68.4% of students said they are going to use the money they earn as pocket money or college money. Other students said they will put their money towards both and some are donating to a charity. 

Another NAI student, Sarah Sharar, who works as a lifeguard at the YMCA, said her favorite part of her job was having breaks so she could get homework done. She was not nervous for her interview and was very confident.

Some students though, might be nervous about going to a job interview. Having proper etiquette for a job interview can help tremendously in the long run. Here are just a few:

  1. Be on time
    1. Make sure to be on time, which actually means be early. This allows you to give yourself a few minutes to gather your thoughts and calm your nerves
  2. Stay calm
    1. It is super important to calm your nerves. During a job interview, your body language says a lot about you.
  3. Make eye contact
    1. When you make eye contact with someone it shows that you really care and understand what the other person is saying.
  4. Practice
    1. Be sure to practice answering many different interview questions that are commonly asked so you are prepared.  There are many websites that provide practice interview questions.
  5. Dress for success
    1. Looking sharp and making a good first impression on the outside can help in the long run. Make sure to look the part when going to a job interview by wearing formal wear and not casual clothes.

Having a job can be really beneficial and fun. It gives highschoolers a chance to earn some money on the side. Whether you choose to spend your money or save it, it is good to get experience in the working world, as well as dealing with people. Working as a high school student allows you to meet many new people, deal with different personalities, have better time management skills, and gives you insight on what you might want to do for a living as a full-time job. So whether you are on the fence about getting a job or preparing for your first interview, hopefully these tips and tricks convince you to expose yourself to the working world.