Teen jobs offer insight into adulthood


Illustration by Hyun Park

Carolina Rodriguez, asst. opinions editor

Turning sixteen meant many things to me. It meant stepping away from my fifteen-year-old self and embarking on my journey to adulthood. It meant having the freedom to drive by myself, allowing me to take responsibility for my timing and plans. But most importantly, it meant I could get a job.

This past summer I applied to be a greeter at Buffalo Wild Wings. Although I don’t work there anymore, I don’t regret a second of it. It was probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Each time I clocked into the restaurant to start another day of greeting and bringing food to customers, I acknowledged that it was a new responsibility I’d been given; a new part of my life that I was in charge of.

In our daily lives as students, we take many required classes and don’t have much room to explore our interests. Thus, encouraging independence is crucial, as it helps teens think freely and decide for themselves.

Working offers teens more freedom because we can take charge of the times we work and the shifts we cover. Aside from the manager assigning tasks, it’s the employee’s decision as to what they do with their job.

I, for one, would perform small tasks to help out and make things run smoother, such as refilling ranch and veggies or cleaning a table off whenever a waiter was too busy. Even though these tasks were minimal, they helped me build a sense of independence through the freedom to decide.

Independence is a key virtue that will positively help us out after graduation, as we start our lives beyond high school. Having a job can help us get the push that we need in order to be independent and begin thinking for ourselves.

Working also helped me develop a good work ethic. Earning money and having my work acknowledged always motivated me to do more.

When I was first hired, my biggest challenge was taking orders. Sometimes customers were impatient and quite rude, which put even more pressure on me.

But after I got my first paycheck, all the snarls and headaches were worth it. I wanted to strive for more.

A good work ethic is a skill that will not only benefit teens in life after high school, but in high school life as well.

Time management skills come along with a good work ethic, which is crucial to high school, with the daily piles of assignments we receive. Staying organized in school will help the motivational aspect of working and thus encourage students to work harder for the future they want.

Although the hours were long and some days were more stressful than others, in the end, I walked away with not only money in my pocket but also with valuable skills to use in the future.

Having this foundation of life skills is vital in order to ease the transition into adulthood. From this, we can be the most successful version of ourselves that we can be and thrive beyond high school.