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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

As Prices Rise It’s Time To Be Wise

Gen Z starts to enter the Workforce and they have to be conscious of their hard earned money

   It’s mid-summer and after doing hours of community service, senior Reyna Mapa completes a customer’s order of 10 cups of ice cream, without receiving a single tip. Servers like Mapa make under Florida’s minimum wage and tips are a heavy source of her income. She felt that her labor was not being valued enough.

   As Gen Z enters the workforce, the stats are not in their best interest. Even though prices have risen dramatically, the federal minimum wage has stayed the same at $7.25 since 2009 according to CNBC. It’s important for new workers to be conscious of their spending.

   Take gas for example. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the 1990s the price for gas was $1 or $2.35 in today’s currency. In 2023, the price has risen to about $3.49 a gallon.

   Senior Ramy Asfoor works at Outback Steak House as a busser, and his new financial freedom comes with the harsh reality of expenses.

   “Everything is really expensive right now and it’s kind of like, wow, this is the world I live in, kind of like an epiphany,” Asfoor said. 

   According to the Department of Labor, employers in Florida must pay their tipped employees, such as Asfoor, $7.98. This is significantly less than the Florida minimum wage of $11. Though Asfoor’s pay is lower than other jobs, he recommends the tip-related industry to new workers because they have the ability to make a lot more than if they worked in other starter jobs.

   “[I recommend] a tip-related job, like a restaurant because the ceiling of how much you can make is a lot higher than most plain jobs like retail,” Asfoor said. 

   According to Asfoor, working in the service industry has increased his empathy toward others who live off of tips. 

   “I tip a lot more just solely based on having the same experience as the people in this industry,” Asfoor said.  

   While pay is a big factor for many when choosing a job, the ability to gain life experiences and knowledge may also influence where Gen Z wants to work. Mapa was able to expand her knowledge of college applications through her fellow co-workers at Jeremiah’s.

   “[I] learned a lot about what their [my colleagues’] schools were like, what the college applying process is and different tips about what I could do to strengthen my resume,” Mapa said. 

   With inflation growing 6 percent according to Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation Calculator, Mapa also learned the value of budgeting her money.

   “I gave myself a budget every week of how much I can spend and know how much I’m making in that week,” Mapa said. 

   According to Mapa, with the money she budgeted over the summer, she was able to explore the stock market and invest in tech companies and residential areas.

   Summer jobs not only allow students to dip their toes into the workforce, but they can now use it for their scholarships. Scholarships like Bright Futures allow kids to work 100 paid hours instead of doing 100 hours of community service. 

   “You can work and make money, and also be able to raise more hours to put in your Bright Futures so you know you don’t have to volunteer anymore if that’s not your interest,” Mapa said. 

   Even though working in high school can help young adults grow, balance is crucial. Asfoor, who works throughout the school year while also doing varsity weightlifting knows the importance of discussing hours with his employer. 

   “So you just have to communicate with your employer,” Asfoor said. “Have the time to do your sport, but school on top of a sport and job can be stressful at times, but it’s honestly just managing your time and knowing when you need to take a day off to focus on something school-related or sports related.” 

   Having a job can be beneficial for high schoolers because it strengthens a college application, and jobs help students qualify for Bright Futures and make memorable experiences. It makes students realize it’s important to know their self-worth when applying.

   “I’d say get a job that you know the salary you make is worth it and you know your own worth as well,” Asfoor said. 

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