5 Tips For Having A Job In High School

A teenager works to serve food. Teens can do lots of work to make extra money — even during the school year. This image is part of the public domain.

by Itzel Rivera

My name is Itzel and I am currently employed at a deli. My job is to clean the salad bar that the restaurant has and to keep all the items in it stocked for the customers to enjoy. I am also in charge of the drink station and the ice cream machine. I have been working at the deli since the beginning of August. 

Apart from working at the deli, I also have a seasonal job at Monterrey Security. I mainly work in the summer because that’s when I am usually free for most of the time. Last summer I worked as an usher and helped people going to venues, like Soldier Field or Toyota Park, find their seats or scan their tickets and sometimes I would help security check bags or have people go through metal detectors.  

My junior year of high school, I worked as a cashier at a Marianos grocery store. I only worked that job for the first semester of high school but left by my second semester. I also worked at a carnival called La Fiesta Del Sol. It was a fun job since there were times where I got to get a wristband ticket where I could go on the rides at the carnival — but I also got a bad sunburn.

Because I have worked many different jobs while still in high school, I know how to stay employed not only as a teen but as a high schooler. School can be difficult and although there have been times where I was close to failing classes because of work, I managed to persevere. Here are some tips for anyone just starting out in the wide world of employment. 

1. Save your money

As much fun as it is to buy food or clothes or anything else, it’s way better to save your money. Think about the future! What if your favorite artist is coming to play a concert near you? Or, in time, you can even buy yourself your own car and work more because you have a car — which means more money.

One way I saved money easily is when I got my paycheck, I always put away my hundreds and left the rest for me to spend on whatever I wanted. So if your paycheck is $140. Save the $100 and use the $40 for yourself. It helped me save up enough to buy myself a car and still be able to spend freely from time to time.


2. Find a job near you

If you’re still young, it’s always best to find a job close to home. Possibly close to school, too, but home is way better since you might be able to work more often and not have to worry about having a long ride home.

I once worked close to my school which wasn’t as much fun as I thought it’d be. I always had a long bus ride home at the end of the day, and I was constantly annoyed by the neighborhood since it just reminded me of school.


3. Stand up for yourself

Because you’re new, most jobs will take advantage of you — whether that’s dealing with money or making you work more hours than you should or possibly having managers who treat you badly. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you might not even know why.

Once you start working, you’ll start to realize that more people start to take advantage of you. You’re working just as hard as any adult, and people just like to mess with the younger ones because they’re new. You have to know you have rights too and you can use them.


4. Talk to people

This was actually really scary for me since I am never the type of person to say hi first, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to improve on. Making friends at work makes it so much better, since you won’t be reminded about having to actually do your job. It feels less like a job since you’re talking to someone, and you can possibly become friends with them. 


5. Have a schedule

As much as it is annoying to schedule your week or day, it’s helpful and keeps you on task. You won’t feel so stressed because you forgot what you had to do or where you had to go. It makes it easier for yourself to see when you have free time to do whatever you want.

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