Working as a teenage student

Finding balance between work, school, and a social life


Colby Ringstaff, Reporter

I have had a job for about two years now and I’ve learned a lot from it. I work at Outback Steakhouse as a delivery driver. I am always on the road delivering food to different houses within a 12-mile radius. The farther the deliveries are from the restaurant, the more compensation I get from the restaurant on my next check. I also claim a certain percentage of tips at the end of each shift depending on how long I have been at work.

The most I have ever worked was at the beginning of quarantine when all restaurants were only able to serve food through takeaway. During that time, I worked about 50 hours a week, and it was extremely miserable. I worked six back-to-back doubles and one night shift; I felt extremely worn out by the end of the week. The amount of driving I did in that week added up to be around 600 miles. Yes, I made a decent amount of money after all is done but looking back on it, working 50 hours and/or more hours as a teenager is ridiculous.

I had to constantly tell people I could not hang out or go anywhere because I was at work. Even my parents started to say they missed me because I was rarely home unless it was the end of the day. Working overtime as a teenager can be very boring and isolating.

Teenage students have their entire lives to work. When teenagers are working long hours, especially if they don’t financially need to, they are missing out on loads of memories and fun times with their friends. All jobs are different; therefore, each job comes with a different amount of workload. So to know how much work is too much is really up to the person’s discretion. I prefer anywhere from 25 – 30 hours every week to keep the balance between doing schoolwork and being with friends and family. Students should try to aim for part-time hours and not full-time hours because let’s face it, we are in high school. No one my age is meant  to work full-time hours.

I am currently working 20 hour weeks since the start of the in-person/hybrid schedule. As long as I am not working endless hours trying to make more money, I should be able to easily balance everything out. I recommend all working teenagers to try and find what hours would make their lives more balanced between work, school, family, and friends.