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Voices. A Forum for Community Issues | Youth Platform

Is Working Good for Teens?

April 01, 2000

Does employment during the teenage years interfere with childhood and the fun teens should be having, or does it teach responsibility and the importance of money? HELEN KIM spoke with employed teens and with an employer.

BENJAMIN NGUYEN

17, Calabasas High School senior, works at Taco Bell

Ibenefit from working because it gives me job experience, more responsibility and money. I gain a lot of experience regarding how businesses work, how to run a [cash] register and how to prepare restaurant food. I haven't seen many people my age who say that their work has been a burden on their academic career. My job can be a stress-reliever and also provide income. A job can only interfere with school if the hours are inconvenient for the student or if the employer forces the student to work too many hours.

I think that the teenage years are a good time to work because it teaches teens responsibility and how to manage money. I'm less dependent on my parents.

KADY DORNER

17, El Camino Real High School senior, works for a dog groomer and at a home for disabled children

Iwork at a dog grooming shop and with handicapped children. My work gives me a feeling of self-worth. When I started working, it was just to get some extra cash, but then I began to get really serious about my jobs.

I'm gradually learning how to budget my money and I hope to learn more. I work anywhere from 30 hours to 45 hours a week--probably too many hours. There are a lot of things that I would like to be doing now that I'm a senior in high school. I want to travel and visit colleges.

I benefit a lot from working with children. I bring happiness to their lives. From being employed, I learn how to deal with employers and with the general public. I learn to talk with all different kinds of people.

Having a job both enriches and adds stress to my life. Sometimes when I have a hectic schedule at school, my job can get overwhelming. But working pretty much brings happiness to my life. For me, working is my social life.

Teens can learn about budgeting money, working with employers and business-related fields. I think teenage employment is good preparation for the years to come.

NARY ZAHAF

18, Van Nuys High School senior, works at a shoe store

Ineed money because I want to buy a car. I don't like asking my parents for money all the time; I'd rather earn it myself. And I also think the experience is good. I work about 21 hours a week. My fellow employees and I have to work as a team. I've definitely realized the importance of money.

Most of my friends aren't ready for a job. Having a job would take away too much time from the other activities that they are involved in.

COLIN TRAUBERMAN

General manager, Mi Piace restaurant, Calabasas

Mi Piace currently has no employees who are high-school students, but we had four last summer. The high-school employees dealt with guests, handled money and prepared coffee and other beverages. They were conscientious, eager and enthusiastic.

It's good for students to get some outside experience in the business world. Also, teenage employees get to interact with the public.

From my perspective, it's a little harder on us to hire employees who are still in high school. I have to train people who are totally inexperienced. Plus teenage workers can't be put in areas that involve serving alcohol.

School is very important. But it does help to get out into the world and experience something other than school.

However, work can definitely interfere with schooling. It's unfortunate that teens who work sometimes must sacrifice their social lives.

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