Should You Work During High School?

by Judge Josh on August 21, 2014

Josh, I’m 17, a senior in high school. I’m taking three AP classes (Bio, Literature and Comparative Government) as well as Choir and Yearbook, which I am the business manager of. I’m not taking a ton of classes, but the ones I am taking require a lot of effort! On top of that, I’m working at a mini golf place- close by, really fun, pretty easy and I have awesome coworkers and bosses. I’m working like 25-35 hours a week at this job. People think I’m crazy for taking on this much as is…

They say “crazy”, but a future employer will say motivated!  Seriously – nice work ethic!  I might use you as an example the next time some crusty old fart from the “good old days” generation starts to complain about how “lazy these damn kids today are!”


Then I had an internship over the summer with a nutritionist (the major I am looking to go into!) that turned into a job opportunity. She hired me as her Social Media Networking Consultant. This job would be 10-15 hours a week, and a ton of work- setting up her websites, blogs, databases….the list goes on and on. So between the golf place, this job, and school, I’ll be “working” (since school is considered a “job”) 70-80 hours a week. I’ve been considering quitting the Social Networking job for the time being, because I’m getting so overwhelmed… The Networking  job is inconsistent pay- I would really only be in it to have it on my resume.

Stop right there.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then something has to give.  Remember – even though you seem to have to maturity level of someone much older, you’re still only 17.  Building a resume is important, as is gaining work experience and, of course, school – but so is having a social life and working some fun in there too.  If all of that work and school is fun to you – great.  You’ve got it licked.  But the minute you start to get (understandably) overwhelmed, it’s time to make some changes.

Is it worth it to go crazy over this job, or is it okay to say that it’s simply too much for a 17 year old to handle? Family members keep telling me to quit my mini-golf job, but I love it and it’s consistent pay ad I unfortunately am dependent on that money. What do I do?!-Meghan

To answer your question – no, it is not worth it to go crazy over this job, or any other job for that matter.  You’ll have plenty of time to hate your career when you’re older (I kid!).  Since quitting school is not an option, one of the 2 jobs either has to go, or hours have to get cut back.

My advice would be to first go to your nutritionist and see if you can still help her out, but spend less time doing so.  If you can come to that compromise with her – great.  Problem solved (if that makes you feel less overwhelmed).

If not – quit that job.  I know you like the idea of using it on a resume, but in reality, you’ll have plenty of time to build a resume down the road.   College will present you with all kinds of internship and/or employment opportunities in your field (and you already have one internship under your belt – so you’re way ahead of the curve!).  No one expects a 17 year old to have a lot of resume building work under her belt.  They expect you to work at, well…a mini golf course!

Plus – and I don’t want to take anything away from what you do at this job – although you’re working for a nutritionist, this job would be a great resume builder for someone looking to go into social media or digital marketing.   You could just as well be doing the same job for a kitchen supply company.  Sure, you’ll learn about nutrition by handling her web stuff, but it’s not like you’d be giving up a nutritionist’s assistant gig.

What do you all think?  Should Meghan can the social media job and leave a little room for her fun job, or do you have another solution?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth August 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Better to keep the job that she enjoys. It sounds like her schedule is extremely busy, so why not spend time doing things that she enjoys?
Also, as you say, college will provide plenty of resume-building opportunities, if she’s looking in the right places, which it seems like she undoubtedly will!

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Jennifer August 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I absolutely agree that the answer is obvious. Consistent, fun job with regular pay is the best option right now. You will have plenty of time later to have internships. And you definitely need to have time to enjoy life while accomplishing all that you are!

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Jon August 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm

I agree, partially. I think she should lower the hours on the consistent pay golf job. It may be fun in the meantime, but unless there is opportunities to learn more, skill-wise, it’s going to take too much time out of an already busy schedule.

I had a similar situation this past year, working two jobs while in college. The first was one I had been working on for a long time – I finished three years already, and the second was the new one, but more related to my career. I wish I had done fewer hours at the new job, and spent that time with friends, or get closer to other people you know! Enjoy your last year of high school, it’ll be more worth it

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Melanie August 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I would be reluctant to take this advice. The job market right now is extremely competitive and experience working in a mini golf place won’t really count for much (if at all). However, since it’s enjoyable and steady-paying, I would recommend talking about reducing the hours at that job to make room for a second job. At this point, Meghan wants to be a nutritionist and ideally, it would be good for her to try out that sort of work. However, given she is seventeen, those plans might easily change over time and exposure to different career paths (particularly hot ones like social media) can really open up new interests or, if not, teach her about what she definitely does not want to do. Besides adding another line to her resume, it will add new skills to her toolkit, which if need be, she can later leverage.

Now what I would do, given the job is inconsistent pay, is talk to the nutritionist and set clear, specific work hours. As a young person starting out, it’s easy to feel pressured to work long hours to resolve all of your manager’s issues ‘right this minute’. However, as a part-time worker, you really do set your hours, and if you, in advance, work out that you will be working only 15 hours (or whatever amount it is), you’ll stay busy for those hours without being pressured by the pile of work left to be done.

Good luck, Meghan! And good luck to Josh – being absent for two years has probably really harmed your viewership, but if you go back to making consistent posts, people will eventually come back.

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