Why work?


Laura Heckenlaible

My “all about me” sign that hangs in the entryway of one of my jobs. This sheet helps those who walk in get to know who I am as a person outside of work.

Laura Heckenlaible, Perspectives Editor

As a junior in high school who has two jobs and is constantly working, I am always asked “why?” To people’s dismay, I don’t do it solely for the paycheck or how it would look on a transcript. So, why do I work and is working really as bad as it’s made out to be?

When I started high school, the main concern that loomed over my head was the question as to how I was going to afford major factors like college as well as wants like money for clothes and activities with friends. It was hard to imagine I would ever have a balance between the two. 

My nerves eased slightly when I got my first job. I had heard all the horror stories about first-time employment: the crazy coworkers, terrible hours and embarrassing moments that made many quit within the first month. I was lucky enough to get connected with my first job through a friend who also worked there. I am not going to lie and say that my work has always been easy. Still to this day I mess up and embarrass myself a little. With every job, there will be a learning period. At the beginning of a new job, it will take time to adjust and get used to the new environment. It is scary to not know what to do all the time but instead of giving in, I stuck to it, and here I am almost two years later still at my first job. There have been many times that I have wanted to just go home and lay in my bed, but I toughed it out and continued to go back the next day. In the long run, the benefits outweigh any doubt. 

Having a job doesn’t have one set advantage. Working provides multiple benefits. Some days you’re just working for the paycheck and that’s okay, but other days, at least for myself, I work for an escape. When I’m at my job I don’t worry about the mounds of homework or struggles in my own life. I’m able to put all my energy into those around me and any tasks I am given. I am fortunate enough to have found a place where I feel accepted as a coworker. I am still employed at my first job because the second I walk in I’m greeted with big smiles and wonderful people. 

To reap the total benefits from a job, you must find a place you enjoy and are willing to go to multiple times a week. Having a job allows for a safe space and a place where younger generations can connect with people their age as well as those younger and older. 

As I prepped to begin my junior year this past summer, I began looking for another job. I am heavily involved with cross country and track during the school year thus making it difficult for me to work during the week at my first job. At the start of my junior year, I started a second job where I mainly work on weekends. 

I started working two jobs for a more obvious benefit. I knew what I wanted for my future. This meant that I needed to start becoming serious about saving money for a future institution. Having even just one job helps with necessary finances all teens will have to begin paying when high school ends. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, data has shown an increase of 14-15% for those in their 20s if they had worked a job as a teen. Whether the earned money is used for tuition or just necessities, a job is an essential part of teaching responsibility and successful money management. 

After only working a few shifts at my second job, I knew that I had found another place that I loved. Not only did I have one job that I looked forward to going to but I was lucky enough to find two. In no way do you need to go out and get as many jobs as humanly possible. Find what works for you and your schedule. Do not forget to take time to rest and do the things you love. Teens can have a social life and a job. So, go to that football game or concert but also apply for that job and sign up for the long shifts. Being employed as a teen is not only good for mental health as it allows an escape from reality but it is also extremely important for ensuring a prosperous future as life continues and growth takes place. 

So, why do I work two jobs and why do I do so much? It is true, sometimes I miss big school events and I do have to nap for a solid four hours after a shift, but for me, I have found a second and third home. Working is a hobby of mine. I love the feeling of getting ready early in the morning for an eight a.m. shift. I cherish the moments when I have a wholesome interaction with a customer and as odd as it may sound I kinda like the achiness in my feet after a long shift, because it tells me I did the most while still having a good time. At the end of the day, the paycheck is just a bonus.