1st Journal Entry
Work is an all-encompassing facet of teenage life. Roughly one-third of 16 and 17 years old are employed in any given week during the school year, with a large majority holding a job at some point during their junior or senior years. For many teens and their parents, the benefits of working are self-evident. Part-time jobs are one of the surest ways to teach kids vital job skills; learning early how to balance school and work may help kids balance competing commitments later on. The time teens spend on the job is normally time they don’t spend on criminal activity or dangerous forms of recreation. Holding a job gives teens spending money over which they have absolute control. It gets tiring after a while to ask your parents for money all the time. It’s better having your own money. That way you can do what you want with it.
On the other hand, working in junior high and high school can bear special risks. Youth and inexperience make teenagers especially vulnerable to workplace injuries and other safety hazards. Coworkers may “educate” teens about alcohol, drugs, and other high-risk activities; extra spending money may cheer them further. And students worn out from too many hours on the job may have difficulty keeping up with homework and focusing on classroom instruction. This raises apprehension that, despite the benefits, teens could even wind up worse off in the long run, with lower-paying jobs and less prospect than if they had concentrated time and attention on school, athletics, or other after-school activities.
Minority teens are more prone than whites to hold service sector jobs; teens from low-income families are excessively likely to work in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.
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