There are loads of pros and cons to getting a job in high school. Sure, the money is sweet, but so are after-school naps. Learning valuable people skills sounds swell, but so does stretching out that innocence of childhood for as long as possible. Heaps of people in your life will focus on the pros and push you to get a job, and we’re totally on board with that, but we just want to make sure you consider what it’s actually like having a job, and some of the worst bits of the whole thing.

1. Finding a balance

This is probably the biggest thing to worry about. When you’re dedicating 4-20 hours of your week to The Grind™ it can be hard to fit in sport and study and sitting on your bedroom floor with friends and Cheezels and Netflix. It’ll be stressful, too, trying to find time for everything. Eventually though, you’ll work it out and become a pro at balancing everything.

2. The work

Let’s face it – none of us will be doing anything we’re particularly passionate about for our high school jobs. We’ll be making burgers, stocking shelves, or if we’re lucky, working for a retail store. The jobs that people are willing to give out to high school kids aren’t the greatest in the world. Luckily, we’re still able to pick up some pretty valuable skills from our high school gigs, so it’s not all bad. 

3. The pay

The minimum wage in Australia is $18.29 per hour. Unfortunately for you, this is the figure for those aged 21 years and older; for anyone younger than 16, you can be paid as low as $6.73/h. At 16 the minimum wage is $8.70/h, at 17 it’s $10.57/h, and at 18 it’s $12.49/h. This means that you can be getting paid less than someone else that’s doing the exact same job as you, and the both of you will still be getting paid fuck all. But hey, somethings gotta fund your first car and all those Maccas feeds.

4. Freeloaders

It’s common knowledge that when you’ve made it, many ‘friends’ and distant family members will come crawling out the woodwork expecting a hand out. Or at least that’s what vaguely intimidating movies about shady entrepreneurs and gangsters has taught me. On a smaller scale, getting a job in high school means some of your friends will just expect you to shout them Maccas or a movie ticket. Bloody infuriating, the lot of them.

But in the end?

At the end of the day, all these complaints seem trivial when you consider how much better it is earning your own damn money. It’ll be tough finding a work-life-study balance when you’re young, but it’s tough even when you’re an adult and getting a job early will mean you have a head start in learning how to manage your time to fit in the fun stuff. The work is less than ideal, but a lot of the time you’ll be having more fun with your workmates than you would at the library studying. You won’t be getting paid much, but you’ll get more than your jobless friends. The freeloaders are annoying, but you know they’d do the same for you.

All in all, while working your ass off is never ideal, the perks definitely outweigh the worst bits.

jo transclem

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