Dear Just ask Julia,
I am 16 years old, I would like to work and earn some money for things I like to do, such as going to the movies, hanging out with my friends and buying clothes and shoes. My parents give me money every week for snacks and little purchases but I feel like I need more in order to do the things I want to do. I also am in school and studying. What can I do?
Dear More Money,
Work and school share an unpredictable relationship. Think of the playground ride the ‘Seesaw’ - with work on one side and school on the other. For example, when school and schoolwork become intense, the seesaw goes down to the ground because you need to focus more time and effort on the schoolwork. In turn, the work goes up on the seesaw meaning, your employment should become lighter. So, how do you balance the Seesaw? Let us start with work. Work is sometimes described as attaining employment to earn money. The main reason you want to work is to pay for things you like to do. If you really feel that you have to get a job for money make sure that the job is not too demanding of you or your time, that way it does not take a toll on your schoolwork. Your schoolwork should be your number one priority since this is your gateway to possibly a better life, better job, and a higher paycheque.
Here are some steps to initiate discussion with your parents. Firstly, talk with your parents or guardian to see how they feel about you working for money. Discuss concerns, safety, job duties, hours and days working. Second, offer a plan to your parents for example, if your schoolwork starts to decline then you will stop working or any other arrangements that fit your needs at the time. Thirdly, discuss with your boss your schedule and your reason for working. Most bosses are able to work with your schedule and understand that your schoolwork is just as, if not more important. Finally, give it a trial run to see if you can handle working and going to school at the same time. If work becomes too demanding or too stressful then you need to take a step back and assess where your priorities lie.
Here are some jobs you may consider where you can earn money and keep the schoolwork consistent:
- Babysitting, where you can watch over the children and at children’s bedtime, you can then study in the time that they are sleeping.
- Work in a family or friend’s business, where you are able to assist customers and when there is down time, you can study.
- A receptionist at a professional office where you answer the phones, make appointments and in between take some extra time to study.
- Gardening or yard work usually is more demanding physically but has fewer hours or work and can offer you a chance to become physically active and enjoy the outdoors.