What High School Students Need to Know About Making Money

Are jobs for high school students worth the money? Should you focus all of your attention on your studies and getting into a top college? The answer is included in here…

My youngest brother Adrian made $55 the other day. He cut some hair and then helped his friend wash a car. He’s in grade 11 and has already started making money. This is exactly how I got started in the world of personal finance as teenager.

When I was in high school I worked a lot. I worked like crazy during the summer and held a part-time job during the school year. I worked at many jobs. I got fired from many jobs. I always managed to rebound and find new work. I pretty much always had a job in high school.

What I’m getting at is that I think all high school students should work. There are many jobs for high school students out there and today I’m going to jump into some of the best/worst ones.

Did you work much in high school? I would love to hear your response. Let’s get started!

What are the best jobs for high school students?

The best jobs in high school are the ones that force you to get out there and interact with others. I believe that every single one of us is a bit nervous at this point in life. We’re not sure of what life has to offer yet. We’re not totally secure with ourselves yet. We have to get out there and grow. I recently wrote about how one of the best jobs for students is anything sales-related because it does exactly this. Working in sales forced me to work on my speaking skills and to become comfortable with approaching strangers (very beneficial for the future).

If you’re looking for jobs for high school students, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite student jobs that I held in high school:

  • Go-kart attendant. You ever play Mario Kart? The work was as boring as it gets. The benefit was that I got to ride around for a long time after my shift. You ever try go-karting in the rain?
  • Grocery store, produce department. I stocked the produce goods. It was simple work that forced me to learn about various vegetables. Not that I eat more vegetables because of the job now.
  • Soccer referee. This was a fun part-time high school job for many reasons. It was a great excuse to be around soccer and to stay in shape. The pay was pretty good. I could earn $45 an evening or $100 a day if I did a tournament. Plus, some of the games were pretty exciting to watch. I won’t mention the time where I refereed my brother’s game.

On a side note, summer internships for high school students are also available if you look. Most students will blame their school for an insufficient program. While this is true to a degree, you can always find something.

Most high schools are now offering co-op terms. My brother is doing this right now. He attends two classes in-school and then goes to the barbershop in the afternoon for three hours where he learns how to run a business and become a better barber.

What were my least favorite student job opportunities?

There are many student job opportunities around. The problem revolves around finding a job that you actually like. I worked pretty much every single job possible as a student. I was always a greed kid. The problem with this is that I found many jobs that I didn’t like.

My least favorite jobs in high school were:

  1. Lawn care (sometimes). I say sometimes because I had great days cutting grass. I had one client that was immobile and paid me to water his grass. I would literally sit there for hours and watch the grass get watered. Then I had other elderly clients that would just pay me to mow the lawn and chat for hours after. The bad days were when I got stuck with a miserable elderly client that just wanted to blame someone for their problems. Even worse, I had one lady that would give me the worst jobs possible and then take forever to pay because she forgot to go to the bank.
  2. Retail sales associate. I don’t think the job was the problem. I was the problem. I was always late. I became friends with most of the co-workers. My best friend at the time worked there. I didn’t have time for any of that of that actual work stuff. I believe I lasted less than three months.

Will after school jobs impact grades?

Working shouldn’t affect your grades because you won’t be working that much. Most part-time jobs in high school won’t give you that many hours. I spent way too much time watching tv and hanging out with friends aimlessly. I sometimes wonder if I would’ve been better off if I worked more or got more involved with extracurricular stuff at school.

The good news is that if you can master time management and learn how to turn Facebook off in high school, you’ll be set for the rest of your life. Creating systems that force you to work hard is a skill worth mastering in your teens.

“Success key: Design your life to minimize reliance on willpower.” — BJ Fogg

What would I do if I could go back to high school again?

I would try to do what my youngest brother is doing right now. I would focus on learning a skill and becoming the best at it. I would find a way to become self-employed in the future. Through building your skills up, you could also better determine if college is really right for you. I’ve met far too many students that are in school just because they were told to go by their parents and don’t even know what they want to study.

I would also work physically demanding jobs like I did. The low pay, stress, and the feeling of being totally drained after a shift motivated me to get serious about my studies and get a degree.

I would be totally grateful if you guys could pass this article along to a high school student in your life. We all need some guidance.

What are the best jobs for high school students in your opinion? Are there any after school jobs you really hated?

3 thoughts on “What High School Students Need to Know About Making Money”

  1. In NYC, we had work study programs that gave us credit toward graduation, essentially taking the place of classes, if we had valid part-time employment. I had a job at McDonalds so I would leave school early and go to work in the place of taking some electives. Personally, I think that is a great place for high school students to work (or someplace similar). It teaches the importance of being a part of a team as well as encouraging improvement in their skills for advancement opportunities, as the crew leaders and assistant managers were all high school and college-aged.

    I definitely agree with your idea to get into manual labor too. After graduation, I went to work for my uncle’s construction company. I got up at 4 in the morning, hung doors, framed drywall, and any other task they told me to do, and got home around 5:30 every day for a week. That was the one and only week I ever worked there, as I was wiped each night and it reinforced in my mind that the decision to get an education in order to use my mind rather than my hands was the right choice.

    1. That’s a funny story Eric. I’ve worked construction before as well, and I can assure you that it motivated me to get things into gear and hit the books for once. The worst part about the manual labor was the low pay that we received. I was sad to realize that I had to work an hour to afford my food at lunch.

      I like that idea in high school. As I mentioned, my youngest brother is doing this now. At noon he goes to the barbershop and learns how to cut hair. He gets two credits for this. It sure beats taking two arbitrary classes in my opinion.

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