Let’s be straight; your high school job isn’t going to be the love of your life. Back in high school, I heard constant cries of ‘I’m so tired but I’ve got work tonight,’ alongside a facial expression usually reserved for when you’ve just received your fifth assignment for the week.

As someone who valued their free time, it seemed there was little reason for me to begin my working life. Why would I give up hours of my precious youth, putting my destiny at the beck-and-call of some faceless manager, to flip burgers for a few bucks a week?

Yeah, there probably are a lot of things you’d rather do. You could watch Netflix, breathe fresh air again, spend time with friends, spend time alone or even start on that assignment you’ve been meaning to do for the past three weeks.

But if you don’t already have one, you should definitely get a job before you leave high school.

Getting a job can be hard, but we’ve got your sorted when it comes to writing a resume and nailing your first day as well as what do once you’ve actually landed a gig (like sorting out your super or TFN). You might not have any experience in the working world, but even things like captaining a sports team, volunteering or those other extracurriculars you do mean you have a tonne of skills that are employers are looking for.

Plus, working in high school usually only means a couple of shifts a week, which you can cut back on if you’ve got exams or assignments coming up, so you don’t need to stress about being on the grind 9-5. You’ll get the benefits of having a little cash flow into your bank account each week, as well as the pride that comes with self-sufficiency.

It’s true that there are sacrifices and the fruits of your labour won’t always taste sweet. We’re not going to sugar coat it, high school jobs can be pretty crappy sometimes. But in the long term, it’s one of the smartest choices you can make.

Still not keen? Take it from me. I began applying for my first job a few months after finishing high school. Not only did it take me until after uni started to get an interview, it took me months to get my first shift. As an 18-year-old, younger workers were prioritised over me due to their lower wages but also their higher level of experience, making it tougher for me to earn the cash I badly needed.

My advice? Get ahead of the game and start picking up a few hours of work a week. It can seem tough in Year 12 to juggle everything alongside a job but it is possible– even if you’re just doing holiday shifts. And it’ll definitely be worth it in the long run.

By Aidan Beard