Keeping a job when school starts

I’ve given you some helpful hints for finding a job during the summer, but once the school year starts you may have to decide if you want to keep your job or not.

Many jobs and/or the hours you work are seasonal. Your job may only have needed someone to fill the 8AM-12PM shift, and now that you’re back in school, you’re not going to be much help.

But for many jobs, you can continue working even once school starts. The decision is whether or not you want to. Obviously, having a job will give you money, but with school starting, you’ll also have less free time. It’s an important balance.

Free time vs. Money

Making money is a great thing, and during the school year there are countless opportunities to spend money. It’s easier to enjoy high school when you have a good amount of cash. Unfortunately, to make a decent amount of money, you have to work a decent amount of hours.

Some people got addicted to money and drop out from high school, only later to realize that actually they some kind of diploma. I know people who followed an online program and got their GED although I would not recommend this path.

In the summer, it’s not so bad because you can work 8 hours and still have a good part of your day free. But school will already take up 7 hours of your day, 5 days a week, so working a few hours after school will mean your whole day is shot. When you figure that you still have to make time for schoolwork and other things that need to be done, you can say goodbye to a lot of your free time.

If you’re like me, you go crazy when you don’t have at least an hour or two of downtime in your day. I would never have been able to manage a 4+ hour work day after school, then doing my homework.

You may also be able to work weekends instead, but be sure you’re willing to give up your weekends. Some places will schedule you for long shifts on Friday & Saturday nights — you have to decide if you’re willing to fork over your two non-school nights a week for the money you’ll make.

What it comes down to:

Here’s what to consider:

  1. The minimum amount of money you need to get by each week
  2. How many hours you need to work each week to make that amount
  3. How much free time you have after school, sports, etc, not counting work.
  4. How much free time you need to have to avoid going insane
  5. How much time you need to keep free for schoolwork.
  6. The type of hours you’ll be working: weekends, after school, etc.

In the end, you have to choose whatever can make the best balance of these.

You don’t necessarily have to quit.

If you worry that you might have too many hours, talk to your boss. Tell him/her that you might end up having to cut back on hours in the future to keep up with your life. Giving a heads up is polite and will make it easier for you to return later if needed.

Impact on school

If you plan on getting into a decent college, you should never let your work take precedence over your schoolwork. If you just aren’t able to keep up with both, it should be your job that goes. Working a job can be physically draining: after a long day’s work, you will be hard-pressed to find energy to do your homework. Make sure you have your priorities straight.

In the end, it comes down to how much of each thing you need in your life and choosing what can get you the most of each.

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