For many high school students working part-time is a normal aspect of their hectic lives, which needs to be fit in amongst school, study, sporting activities and family commitments.
Some senior students continue their part time work commitments into their senior HSC year.
Working part-time, be it at a department store, fast food outlet, paper run or regular babysitting can be a fulfilling experience for teenagers who are ready to take on additional commitments and responsibilities as well as enjoying the rewards of earning money.
What about everything else?
As a student, having a bit of spending money in your pocket is a good thing, however the value of the pay can easily be eroded if you fall behind in studies, are stressed about fitting in all of your work, (such as projects, assignments and assessments) or if you are getting run down.
A hint for parents and caregivers
For parents/caregivers, it is important to guide students about how to balance commitments and help them prioritise so that studying doesn't suffer.
Establishing limits on the number of hours they work in their job and being able to discuss this with the employer if there are concerns, is important.
What to consider
Before contemplating or taking a part-time job, a student and their parents/caregivers should assess the studying workloads and other regular commitments to ensure that a job isn't simply stretching them too far.
It is better to start a part time job with your eyes wide open about all of the possible situations and pressures, rather than disappointing both your employer and yourself later.
Plan and Prepare
Someone famous said 'people never plan to fail, they just fail to plan'. Planning and preparing for a part-time job means: understanding the work commitments that their employer imposes, how the additional hours at a job will affect study and other family routines; and whether they can adequately cope with the additional work.
Parents/caregivers should be actively involved in this process to guide children through this new responsibility.
Negotiating what you want
Many HSC students who work, negotiate with their employers to work less hours during their HSC year. It is important that you have an open discussion with your employer and negotiate to be given time off during exam periods or when major assessments tasks, (which are part of the HSC results) are due.
If you are upfront with your employer about your commitments from the start and can outline when such breaks from work are required, you will find that you will have more opportunity to fulfil your needs.
Students studying some Vocational Education Training (VET) courses are required to complete mandatory work placement as part of their studies and this placement should be considered as part of their studies.
As with all things, remember the key to fitting in part-time work with study, is balance.
Before you commit yourself to a part-time job, answer yes to all of these questions:
- Can I fit work in and still do all of my study and maintain my grades?
- If I work will I still have time left over for recreation?
- Will the job be flexible around my study and exam commitments?
- Have I got my parents'/caregivers' approval about getting a job?