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With more money comes great responsibility: High school jobs can help teach financial accountability

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With more money comes great responsibility: High school jobs can help teach financial accountability

Matthew Mapa, Focus Editor

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   While other teenagers spend their Saturdays and Sundays binge-watching shows on Netflix and playing Fortnite until ungodly hours, junior Cecelia Arney spends her weekends working 10 hours at the McDonald’s on Orlando Avenue.

   Besides the additional income, Arney says she also gains greater financial awareness compared to other teenagers. Many are fortunate enough to buy things without worrying about where the money comes from.

   “It’s hard for a lot of high school students to conceptualize the value of things they spend their money on because they’re not necessarily looking at dollar amounts if someone else is buying [things] for them,” Arney said.

   Thanks to online shopping and apps like Uber Eats and Amazon, it is easier than ever for teen consumers to make purchases. Because of this, teenagers are more likely to spend money without a second thought.

   “Making it easier to spend money causes a lot of people to spend more money than they might otherwise do, and that can either make you more aware of how you make these transactions or can get you into financial trouble a lot faster,” Upper School Dean of Students Kelly Aull said.

   Repetition of these bad money habits can lead to even more compulsory spending.

   “In college, you’re dealing with tuition money, room and board [and] rent,” Aull said. “Those are large sums of money that come with serious consequences when you miss a payment.”

   Thankfully, high school student employment can provide a much-needed solution. Teens with jobs actually have to work for their money, thereby teaching them how much a dollar is really worth.

   “In my head, instead of a dollar amount, it’s an hour amount,” Arney said.

   Working a job also forces students to interact with complete strangers, which can be a challenge.

   “There’s lots of alarms that go off behind you in the kitchen, and there’s lot of yelling that the customer can’t necessarily hear,” Arney said. “I couldn’t hear [a customer], so I had to ask them to repeat several times, and they screamed in my face that I needed hearing aids and left. I [took] it as constructive criticism.”

   Holding a job also fosters greater responsibility. Spanish teacher Nicole Garcia, who held two jobs in high school, said that employment also empowers teenagers by affording them a greater accountability for their actions.

   “When your parents say clean your room, sometimes you can get away with [ignoring them], but when you’re at a job and you’re getting paid, you need to make sure you get your job done,” Garcia said.

   Garcia and Arney both recommend getting a job in high school, although Arney cautions against stretching oneself too thin.

   “I wouldn’t recommend doing so with the detriment of your GPA and other extracurricular activities, but if you have free time, especially over a summer [or] break, it helps with personal responsibility and hard work,” Arney said. “It’s something that builds skills that will really help you later.”

   Garcia enjoyed the sense of accomplishment from having her own money.

   “It’s a different feeling spending your own money than spending your parents’ money,” Garcia said. “It’s nice to know you earned it and that you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor.”


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About the Contributor
Matthew Mapa, FOCUS Editor

Matthew Mapa is a sophomore entering his second year on staff as FOCUS Editor. Whether he is on Facebook figuring out how to run a social media account...

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With more money comes great responsibility: High school jobs can help teach financial accountability