Worker bees at 15

Lindsay Huck and Ali Randazzo

As soon as the bell rings, students zip up their backpacks and trample each other to promptly get to their extracurricular activity. Some go to sports practices, clubs, get help from teachers and some head to work. For freshman and sophomores, finding a job can be tricky due to child labor laws. Having a job can either lead students to success or drown them in their already overwhelming lives.

Confessions of a 15 year old workaholic–Ali Randazzo

I wish I could recap my summer with stories of sipping smoothies on the pool deck while flipping through the new issue of Teen Vogue. Unfortunately, every day around 7 a.m. my obnoxious alarm forced me to roll out of bed. My summers are filled with swim team practice, dance team, babysitting and dance class. This past summer break I decided to get a job at the Custard Station, filling up my only few hours of free time a week. I love having a job, it provides me with money, a sense of responsibility and it’s fun. Yet, the time consuming job barely fit into my hectic schedule. Next summer, when I am 16, some of my activities will change leaving work as my top priority. I caution teens with similarly hectic schedules to wait to apply for jobs until they are older due to increased job opportunities, easier transportation and necessary summer relaxation.

Also, 15-year-old workers may not get the desired job due to age restrictions. Typically, companies that have a higher age requirement will pay a higher salary due to more advanced jobs.

According to the United States Department of Labor, 14/15 year olds must be employed:

  • Outside school hours
  • Not more than 40 hours during non-school weeks
  • Not more than 18 hours per week when school is in session
  • Not more than 8 hours in any one day when school is not in session
  • Not more than 3 hours in any one day, including Fridays, when school is in session
  • Between 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. except during the summer (June 1 through Labor Day) when the evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Because 15 year olds can not drive themselves, parents are forced to schedule their days around their kid’s work schedule. If the child were to get off work early or need to stay longer, their driver would need to drop what they were doing in order to pick up the worker. If the teen had an accessible car and could drive, he/she could easily drive home which would eliminate interference in other’s schedules.

None of my friends have jobs and always plan last-minute movie nights and bonfires, all of which I was unable to attend due to my pre-planned schedule. Based on personal preference, summer is about relaxing, and this past summer was anything but.

Working with good intentions–Lindsay Huck

At the end of freshman year, after filling out a dozen applications to a variety of different places (from Mike Duffy’s to Andy’s). After going to two interviews, I got a job at a local bakery, Breadsmith. Throughout the summer, some of my days consisted of work (I couldn’t work a ton of hours due to child labor laws), and I was fine with that. If I didn’t work, I wouldn’t have been productive. Having a job has taught me to be more mature, how to be abide by my boss’ rules and how to be a team player. I think teens should consider getting a workers’ permit if they have the time to commit to the task.

Most importantly, having a job has taught me responsibility. I’ve had to come to accept my job as one of my top priorities, behind my schoolwork. On days where I had other things going besides work, it was a struggle to fit everything going on, I had to accept work was most important, and I had to revolve the rest of my schedule around my hours at the bakery.

Having a job fills up free time with an opportunity to meet new people who have similar lifestyles to you due to your obligations at work. I’ve made friends with multiple people at work who attend a variety of high schools, solely because we spend so much time working together and getting to know each other.

Getting a job as young as possible has a variety of benefits, one of the most important being making money. I’m saving my money for gas when I get my license and it’s nice to have some money to spend on things you want without badgering your parents for every cent possible. Obtaining a job has many advantages and not many downfalls if you’re willing to commit to the responsibility.