School is essentially a full time job, right? I mean you’re there 5 days a week from 8:30-3:30, you take work home with you every night and work on the weekends. Unfortunately though, for some of us… school is not the only job we have. What about a job that actually contributes to society, where you work in exchange for payment or experience? The debate that happens in most families is whether or not you should have a job whilst you’re still at school, is it a distraction or does it teach you responsibility? Will it impact your marks or will it force you to be more organised and prepared so you actually do better at school?
A quick survey of the Atomi office couldn’t settle this one so we thought we’d put together a quick pros and cons list to help you make up our mind or win your argument.
1. Money (obviously)
This first pro is an obvious one and it’s what drives most people towards getting a job whilst at school. Having your own personal income means you can feel a little more independent and free, and it can make you feel like you’re achieving something other than just school, like all your hard work is paying off.
It might seem like having a job actually makes things worse for your study and productivity because you’ll have less time to spend studying. But realistically, the amount you’re going to study with or without a job is the same, the biggest difference is how much you’ll procrastinate whilst doing it. If you know that Saturdays are your only time to sit down and get a big chunk of homework done because you work Thursday night and Sunday, then you’re going to put your head down and get sh*t done. No Netflix, no Tik Tok, no YouTube to distract you. But if you know you’ve got all weekend, suddenly the lure of ‘just one episode’ or ‘I wonder what’s new in the fridge right now’ becomes all too tempting.
Having a work schedule also means you can get the most out of using a study timetable or study planner because you know the exact days and times you’ll be free to get your work done and you won’t have a choice but to stick to it.
Working actually does wonders for your productivity and organisation!
Not only will you have something to put on your resume when you graduate but you’ll also have the benefit of leaving school knowing that you have experience in something that you can actually use in your after school life. Not only does it give you work experience, having a job gives you general life experience that you’ll need for uni/work in the future. You’ll know all about managing time, expectations, work shifts and you’ll already have a Tax File Number (trust me, this comes in handy).
As you go into your senior years, time becomes more valuable and fitting a job into your already busy schedule can seem a little daunting. You’ll be forced to make decisions about work vs study or study vs going out because all of a sudden you don’t have all the time in the world to get your school work done. It may also mean missing family time, social time, sporting events and the all too underrated ‘me’ time.
It’s pretty clear that the senior years of school can be stressful and you have to decide how you want to best spend your precious time. Adding a few shifts to your week might mean that you need to study Friday nights, which is something you swore you’d never do... so it’s about what you’re willing to sacrifice for that paycheck.
School can be a high stress environment for a lot of students. There’s pressure, high expectations, and there’s always someone who is relying on you to do something (even yourself). Work is the same. You will always have expectations and responsibilities that can’t be forgotten about and if you think this might cause too much stress for you then having a job during school is simply not worth it.
A part-time job is hardly worth a daily anxiety-attack, so make sure this isn’t a major stress point for you before deciding what to do. If you feel sick thinking about trying to manage work and school, then work is not for you at this stage. To help minimise any stress you may be feeling about this, don’t hesitate to reach out to your employer in the intense periods of school (like exams). They might be willing to cut down your shifts or give you some time off to study. The conversation is worth having if not having a job is simply not an option for you.
3. So. Much. Effort.
What if you just can’t be bothered going to work because you’ve had a really tough week at school and just need the weekend to rest? Maybe you just don’t feel like getting up at 6am to do the morning shift at Maccas.
Working can be a serious drain on your energy levels, and everyone knows that this can affect your study. Don’t let work drain any hope of a solid study session, you’ve got the rest of your life to work and only one chance to do school right. So make the most of it.
It seems like a pretty even split. At the end of the day it’s about what you think you’ll be able to manage and how important having a job is to you. There are a lot of factors that should go into your decision making so talk about it with your parents, weigh up the pros and cons and make a decision you feel comfortable with. And remember, getting a job is not permanent. Yes, you’ll have to give it your best shot and you don’t want to be a flakey employee but if you get 6 months in and realise it’s just too much, then you can always leave and try again after school.