Balancing a job, schoolwork, daunting college applications, planning for after high school, and maintaining a social life can become difficult quickly. Some students choose to work in order to help out their family or save for college; others want a way to manage their time or gain experience in the workforce. The following interviews are from M-A seniors offering their experiences with jobs and advice for younger students wondering about the advantages and difficulties of working in High School.
Katherine Garibay- shift lead at Bare Bowls
"As a shift lead you have to be on top of all of the employees, and make sure that they’re doing the right thing. We have to be really quick, because on weekdays, business is slow, but on weekends, it’s really bad, we have door dashers who are really tough on us — you have to learn to manage being relaxed, and not get annoyed. Being the young shift lead, it’s really difficult to have to tell coworkers what to do. I’ve learned how to save my money, as half of my paycheck goes into savings. That savings account is literally the best thing I’ve ever had. I just really love my job.”
Karina Cervantes Arteaga- Bare Bowls
“I blend & top açaí bowl (smoothie bowls), but we also serve fresh coffee & salads. Depending on what days and time I work, I have different tasks. If I’m closing I have to clean everything and make sure everything is in order for the next day. Meanwhile, when I open I start the morning with blending bins of our two top favorite flavors to make it easier for us throughout the day. I wanted to learn some responsibility when it comes to money. Also, it helped my dad stress a lot less because he didn’t have to worry about giving or saving me money for things that I need or want. I also love having my own money that I work hard for. It makes me feel much more independent when it comes to buying things. Working with food has definitely helped me learn to practice patience toward myself and others. You also meet lots of new people and create a bigger network, as my boss has written me many recommendations for college applications. I recommend finding a job that is willing to work around your time, as my job does. I also recommend not to over work yourself or you’ll definitely start losing track of time in school and even your social life. I try to limit myself to work only one day of the weekends because I like to make sure I do have a day off of school and work to worry about myself and my self care."
Katie Derrough- Alex and Ani
"I work at Alex and Ani, a jewelry store at the Stanford Mall. I started working my junior year, once I was 16 and therefore eligible to legally work. Sometimes it can be hard to balance school and my job, especially because I have to request my work schedule way in advance, but I can’t always predict how much homework I’ll have. Sometimes I have a shift that I’ve had scheduled for a month, but I’ll end up having a huge math test the next day that wasn’t expected. However, it’s definitely helped me manage my time and sleep a lot better. I love keeping myself busy, and I try to work at least 12 hours during the week combined with volunteering 10 hours a week. I’ve learned a lot in my job, so much about making conversation with strangers in a professional manner, I’ve learned how to manage money, especially since I’m earning it I realize sometimes that working for eight hours is equivalent to one pair of shoes I want, and it really puts budgeting into perspective. I’ve also learned a lot about the retail industry as a whole, and things like how important organization is for inventory checks, because one misplaced item can cause a huge price loss. I’ve also definitely learned a lot of patience, because some times are much more busy than others, like around the holidays I might sell around $2000 worth of merchandise, but on the 4th of July I might have no sales.”
Edwin Cabrera- Abercrombie & Fitch
"I usually always go to work after school. I do get out kind of late. On Fridays, I get off at 11:00 sometimes, but I still have to manage to do homework afterwards. I try to have a steadier schedule for homework and stay up late to finish homework."
Haley Abarca- Bianchini’s Market
“I bag people’s groceries, and do little, tiny tasks here and there. I have to face the shelves, which basically means organizing them, lock up the back when it’s time to get locked up, bring in the carts whether or not it’s raining, and restock the grocery bags once they’re gone at night. I usually close the store so I do things like filling up the bags, taking out the trash cans, bring in produce from the outside, and cover the rest of the produce that stays outside overnight. Given that it’s our senior year and we’re working on scholarships, and trying to bring in money for college, I know that I need the job, but it is hard to prioritize my schoolwork, and also try to find ways to get money for college. I think learning how to manage my schoolwork and my job is going to be very beneficial, especially since I am going to college and I’m going to have to get a job. Learning how to manage my time so that I’m able to get everything done is nice. My favorite part of work is that my mom works at the same store."
Miranda Mueller- Starbucks
I started working at the Starbucks on Sharon Park Drive and Sand Hill Road over the summer, in June. I found that working there over the summer helped me create a schedule amid the unstructured nature of summer. But as the school year started, it definitely became more difficult. I should have reduced the number of hours and days I worked, but tried to keep up a grueling schedule of working 30-45 hours a week— way too much, considering I was also trying to tutor kids, work a secondary job at a Palo Alto nonprofit, and finish up college applications while maintaining decent grades in four AP classes. As a result, my parents chose to revoke my work permit at the end of October. I turned eighteen in December, and returned to Starbucks in January. Currently, I only work Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and during breaks, and work weekdays at the Palo Alto nonprofit. Working has definitely taught me a lot. My job is not mandated by any dire financial circumstances; my parents would be able to subsidize my cost of living regardless if I were not able to [earn money]. Many other students at MA do not face such a fortuitous decision. I thought that incidents at Starbucks would not affect me once I punched out. But like school, simply walking through a door does not erase emotion and history. They manifest in different ways: swollen feet, an aching back, homework, and friendships. The most distressing events replay in my mind on a repeat. A disgruntled customer threatening to call the district manager, frustrated at the miscommunication between us, accidentally shaking an open container of soy milk and coating myself in a layer of sticky discomfort, and other routine humiliations suffered remind me of the displeasing aspects of this job.”
Jake Miranda- Stanford Dining Halls
"I work on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 to 9:30. They’re very flexible for students and will accommodate you with your hours most of the time. On a typical day at work, I carry foods, drinks, and clean. An important skill from working a job is learning how to be able to do things on your own without someone holding your hand. If they tell you you need to do something, just find a way to do it yourself.”