I’ve had a job since I was 14 (yes, that is legal). My first job was working at a cute little bookstore in my hometown. I worked maybe two shifts a week, which were usually spent behind the counter reading the newest book that sparked my interest. It was an easy job; I mean, who doesn’t love to get paid to read. At 15, I started bussing and eventually waiting tables at a 100-year-old diner just a few blocks from my house. The clientele was all older and they taught me so much. Even today I work part time during the school year and full-time during the summer. Now to many of you this may sound awful, but it’s truly a blessing in disguise.
Working at a young age gives you the ability to talk to adults. I learned very quickly that older generations don’t really appreciate their waitress coming up to them and greeting them with a “hey guys.” It increased my vocabulary and took away any fear I had of talking to adults. For years when I went out to dinner with my friends they would make me be the one who talked to the server and point out when our order was messed up. My ability to talk to adults helped me land multiple jobs, have adult friends and has given me confidence.
Working teaches you responsibility. When I first got a job, all I was focused on was buying a car, but after I did that, I spent a lot of money on stupid stuff. I would go out to dinner with my friends all the time, drink incessant amounts of Starbucks (I was an OG gold card member, something I’m a little too proud of) and buy the stupidest articles of clothing (Hollister V-necks in every color). Then tax day rolled around and my mother informed me I had made over $7,000 in the last year. My bank account was sitting at around $500. That was a pretty big eye-opener. Ever since then I’ve made a real effort to balance my spending, saving most of my money but still leaving room for the splurges a girl really needs.
Working is a privilege. This is something that I had to learn the hard way. I would ask people to cover for me all the time. I’d come into work after sleepless nights not at all ready to do my job. Then shockingly, they wouldn’t schedule me very often. It didn’t take me long to figure out why. While I didn’t lose my job, it was still a tough lesson to learn. You and your employer have a mutually beneficial relationship. They get what they need done and you get paid, but if the relationship stops benefiting one side then things will change; that’s just the way it is. Don’t take your job for granted no matter how much you may think you hate it because it can always be taken away from you.
Working taught me the joy of time off. You don’t realize how lucky you are to have time to relax, sleep in or spend time with your friends until you can’t do those things because you have to work. In high school, I would have to plan ahead if there was something I wanted to do with my friends. When I got that time off, it made it special and exciting. As an adult, most of us will have full-time jobs, which change everything. Even in our free time we will have responsibilities. So, for now, I will enjoy my time off as much as humanly possible.
Having a job teaches you a lot of life lessons. It forces you to be responsible, plan ahead and be prepared. So go out and get a job, you'll be surprised how much you learn.