Students in workforce face real challenges

A look into my first job


Emily Ramsey, Reporter

This year I began my life as part of the working world. Well, what I mean is that my parents forced me to get my first job. I thought long and hard about what I wanted this job to be, or not be was more like it, and there were so many variables that played into the decision that I would eventually make.

Primarily, my first concern was pay… How much can I make and how little can I work? The research I did was an in-depth study as to what the national minimum wage was and how that would affect my child labor and what child labor laws would effect my employment. Well , that is what I told my parents as I drug my feet to really find a job, but what I did was ask my friends that were already in the workforce what they did, how much they made, did they like it and could they get me on–and oh, and do we get a discount?

Let’s be honest, none of this sounded appealing to me at all. I made a pros and cons board (again, to convince my parents that I was really making an effort into finding the right job), and as I laid out the pros–money, discounts, free-will–the cons seemed to get a lot of attention. Cons like keeping up with school, hanging out with friends, homecoming, prom, etc.. A large part of me getting this job was for me to learn financial responsibility and “the value of a dollar.” My parents didn’t ask much from me but to pay my own phone bill, if I wanted to eat out, it would be my responsibility, clothes, going out–just the things that I was taking them for granted for.

After asking everyone I knew, I sent out my applications. I stumbled on a position as a front desk receptionist at a local high-energy barber shop. I interviewed well and was told that they didn’t hire high school people, but they would take a chance on me. I had finally gotten a job. The money is good, my parents are elated, it’s fairly easy, I’m not covered in taco dust or burger grease or some kid biting me in a daycare… I am set.

Now the cons kick in. I don’t work there three days before I have to pass on hanging out with my friends because “I have to work.” I tell myself it’s okay until two days later, it happens again. Next week’s schedule comes out and I am scheduled for 30 hours! I don’t say anything because I just started, but when am I going to get school work done? I still say to myself, it’ll be alright, just a little louder.

The weekend arrives, and I have the day off, my boyfriend wants to hang out, my best friends want to hang out, dad is grilling for family dinner, I still have school work, my dog looks at me like he has no idea who I am because he hasn’t seen me in a week, my mom wants quality mother-daughter time…

Jump ahead six months, I worked nine hours today and wasn’t really allowed to take a break. My grades have slipped a bit, the boyfriend is gone, I rarely see my best friends, and when I am home, my parents seem more surprised that I am not at work. I do enjoy working for only a few reasons but balancing it all, especially with graduation coming up, has been hard. But you know what? We can do it, and we will all get through it, one step at a time and everything truly will be alright.