We reckon having a job while you’re studying is one of the best things you can do for yourself. There’s the money, the experience, the life lessons and, most importantly, there’s the money. Even working a crappy job is worth it.

Still, the excitement of earning your own dosh can be pretty overpowering. It’s important to get a good idea of what actually goes on in the day-to-day of a gig you’re interested in, because no amount of money is fair compensation if you’re forced to face your fears and phobias (waking up early, actually talking to customers, following instructions etc.).

For your benefit, we’ve put our heads together to share with you the real experiences of working at various jobs.

1. Fast food

First of all, you will leave every shift caked in a layer of grease and smelling like the bottom of a fried shoe. This can be pretty frustrating when you’re still at school and dealing with pimples and puberty face already, so keep an eye on this.

You’ll also get really good at stuffing chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers in your mouth when nobody is looking, which can either be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of person you are.  You will have to do a lot of cleaning around the restaurant, and it can get crazy busy during rush periods which is going to give you a tonne of transferable skills when it comes to managing tasks in other jobs down the track. 


2. Call centre

This is a really popular job for people after they finish high school because it requires no experience or qualifications, and the pay is pretty tight. However, you’ll pretty much lose your faith in humanity while working there.

Fresh employees will be put on cold calls, which means the person on the other end is in no way expecting your call and will be more than happy to yell at you instead of hearing what you have to say.

On top of that, you have unrealistic sales targets that you have to reach or risk getting fired. There is some incredible camaraderie to be had in this kind of environment though.

 3. Retail

If you love bullshitting, then do I have the field for you! Clothing sales is definitely an acquired taste; some may love it but most will hate it. Don’t let this scare you though! If you have a knack for sales and you don’t mind occasionally getting up in someone’s space, you could score some killer commission, depending on company policy.

You’ll also get very generous staff rates, which is sick if you’re working for a brand you like.

4. Restaurant worker

If you love dirty dishes, then this will be your dream gig. Hospitality gets a bad rap, but it really does help with social skills, communication, customer service and understanding the mechanics of a business.

When you’re working at a restaurant, regardless if you’re a dishie or a waiter, you understand pretty quickly how important your position is in the functioning of the business.

There’s usually free food and the work culture is pretty sociable. Plus, once you’ve smiled through a customer literally yelling in your face, you can handle pretty much anything. Just be ready for some late nights and weekend work.


5. Tutor

If you’re a self-proclaimed smarty-pants, you could use the skills that all your friends are envious of to earn some sweet coin. Being a tutor is great because you can decide your own shifts and you have the potential to earn a lot of money in not very many hours. Being a tutor is your first taste of being your own boss.

6. Barista

Being a barista is one of the most easily transferable skills to have, especially whilst travelling. If you’re able to get your barista accreditation early, whilst in high school, you’ll have that skill for life. You’ll be picking up jobs from Melbourne to Paris in no time. Plus, if you can nail a love-heart latte art, your crush will be swept of their feet.

The only downside here is early starts and weekend work, but it could be worth the trade off if you want to stay in the hospo industry but also want your nights free.

7. Admin

Admin work could be easier to pick up if your parents lend you a hand, but if they’re willing to give you quick buck to do some office work for them, go for it.

The perk of admin is it usually requires very little experience- just don’t expect to be loving every second of it. The monotony can get pretty boring and some days you’ll probably question your existence as you print another stack of documents.

8. Cinema worker

Working at the cinema is one of the coolest teenage jobs you can get, and for good reason. It’s so diverse in terms of the types of jobs you can do on shift, from making popcorn, to cleaning cinemas, to checking cinemas, to making choc-tops.

Whilst these all sound quite inane, it’s good to have a job where you can mix around what you’re doing on shift. Plus, cheap, if not free movie tickets are a lifesaver. Again, you’re looking at late nights and weekend work but it could be worth the trade off.

9. Babysitter

Now, I don’t like kids, but I will if I’m getting paid for it. If you do happen to like kids, your first step of becoming a babysitter is complete. Again with babysitting, it’s good hours, not much work, and you can force yourself to literally get paid to do schoolwork once the kids are asleep.

The responsibility might scare you a little bit and there’s definitely going to be situations where you’ll have no idea what to do and will be forced to call another adult. Don’t let this scare you off though, kids are usually pretty easy to entertain and, if they’re old enough to own a computer/their own phone, you probably won’t need to do much anyway.

10. Paper run/letter box drop

This is a classic first job, and throws you into the deep-end in the best way possible. No, getting up early to throw paper on lawns isn’t exactly the best way to spend your Sunday morning but it does teach you about solid work ethic, gets you experience and cash-money! Cash-money is always good! 

Having a job as a teen is integral in forming person to person skills and a super easy way to build confidence, make friends and get some cash.

Take advantage of the connections you already have. Your soccer club might need people in the canteen. Your neighbour might need a night out without the kids. Your local cafe might be hiring junior. Just remember, you’ve got to start somewhere.