16 Things That Suck About Having A Job While You’re In High School

I want to be real with you guys: getting a job in high school can really suck. Some people choose to work, but for a lot of students, a part time job is forced upon them, whether it’s because they need money to support themselves or because their parents feel it’s an important part of ~growing up.~ It’s even worse when you’re the only one of your friends who’s working – missing parties or hang out sessions to deal with cranky customers is never ideal.

Movies and TV shows tend to romanticize part-time jobs, but my experience was nothing like those stories. I wanted to dance on the roof with my friends like in Empire Records, but that never happened. Even Good Burger looked appealing, but somehow, my jobs were never as hilarious. So, what gives? Where was my tight knit community of minimum-wage earning ride or dies? Movies have been known to be unrealistic about love, but lying to me about gainful employment was definitely crossing some kind of line.

To be honest, there are a lot of positive things about having a job while you’re in high school – it’s just that you have so much else going on that working on top of all of that can be super overwhelming. Aren’t these supposed to be your carefree, wild years? Where in that equation did it say to work six hour shifts after school? While it’s worth it in the end – hello paycheck! – here are the 16 worst things about having a job in high school: 

1) During your interview, you have to bullshit some lie about how folding clothes and helping people is your true life’s passion.

If it is, that’s cool, but for the rest of us, we have to pretend that we find this job relevant to our ultimate career path and most of the time, that involves lying.


2) You aren’t qualified for much in the way of getting a cool job, so it feels like you have to pick the lesser of a few evils.

Applying for jobs gives you a sense of “Okay, I can tolerate doing this for a while without wanting to die, sure, let’s do that.”


3) You leave your house right when the sun comes up and don’t come back until nighttime.

You literally don’t get a break and that zaps all your energy to do anything else.


4) You can’t hang on most weekends.

Because of work! Thanks, weekend shifts. Yes, you’re in high school, so your employer is likely to sense your weekend free time and chomp down hard on it.


5) When you actually have free time, you just want to rest or do your homework.

Which is lame, of course, but when else are you going to do it?


6) For jobs in the service industry or retail, you’ll sometimes have to serve your classmates…

This is embarrassing in a whole other level.


7) … this includes people you used to be friends with, your bullies, really everyone will come in to your job.

This is both humbling and awful. I can’t decide what’s worse: them taking advantage of knowing you and being shitty customers or them full-on pretending to not know who you are when you’re at work.


8) You try to apply with a friend to make your job more bearable, but get scheduled on completely different shifts.

Happened to me.


9) Your money leaves as quickly as you earn it.

Chances are if you need to have a job in high school, you got it for a reason: savings goals, paying for your own bills, filling your gas tank. It sometimes feels like you’re lighting your paycheck on fire and you would give anything to have parental financial support, but alas.


10) You’re overly paranoid about getting fired.

Yes, your job is annoying, but you need it! Did you take a lunch break that was too long? Did you tweet something about hating your job by accident?


11) Serving clients and customers is humbling and will change how you go to the mall or restaurants.

Everyone who works in some form of customer service becomes your comrade, so when your friends complain about bad service when you go out to eat, you’re always the one sticking up for your server and advocating for a better tip.


12) It full on ruins restaurants and malls.

If you work in a mall, you no longer enjoy going to the mall. If you work in a restaurant, it’s hard to relax when you go out to eat. You no longer get fast food if you work in fast food because you know how much your co-workers cough all over the fries.


13) Your co-workers care way more than you do.

This is especially true if you work with college grads and other adults. Spoiler alert, everybody: yes, jobs are that hard to come by sometimes. Not everybody has the same goals as you do. Your awful high school job is just as important as what you really want your career to be, so that means you’ll have to deal with managers and co-workers who REALLY care.


14) Your manager expects for you to care way more than you do.

You can’t just tell them, “I’m here to get paid, I’m not really invested in selling graphic tees and pushing the jeans sale and making me care feels like you’re force feeding me garbage HELP.”


15) The occasional existential dread of “is this what work feels like… for the rest of my life.”


It doesn’t have to suck, but taking in the fact that you will possibly be employed and working somehow for the rest of your life until you tire is a tad overwhelming.


16) The double-edged sensation of being thankful for your job and hating that you need one.

Complaining feels shitty, but so does working. You’re lucky to be there and you just want a break sometimes. It’s a paradox.

What do you think is the worst thing about having a job while in high school? Let us know in the comments. 

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.


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