10 Things a Part-Time Job Will Teach Your Teen (That They Can’t Learn in School)

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: 10 Things a Part-Time Job Will Teach Your Teen (That They Can’t Learn in School)

Written By: Katy M. Clark

I recently attended Senior Night for my daughter’s team. Sitting in the bleachers listening while each graduating senior was honored, I couldn’t help but be impressed by their long list of accomplishments.

The first senior honored played multiple varsity sports, participated in student government, and was an active member of numerous clubs. Another senior lettered in more than one sport along with being in the marching band, and the honor society. Throughout the evening, it wasn’t just one or two seniors who wowed the crowd with all their accolades… it was many.

When we got home, my daughter, who’s a junior, mentioned that she felt dejected. When I asked why, she said quietly. “Mom, my list of high school activities is shorter than most of those seniors tonight.” 

She told me she felt that her accomplishments in high school didn’t measure up because she only played one sport, not two or three, and had tried just a few clubs.

That’s when I reminded her that she’s been working a part-time job throughout high school.

This job is truly her “thing” – something she dedicates time and effort to, that she enjoys, and that she balances along with schoolwork and her favorite sport.

Little does my daughter realize that her part-time job is teaching her so many valuable lessons – lessons that not only should be front and center of her list of accomplishments in high school but also that she should be incredibly proud of. 

Holding down a part-time job in high school is a huge achievement for ANY teen – whether they work out of necessity, to earn extra spending money, or because it’s a job that aligns with their long-term goals – it’s something they should be proud of.

10 Things a Part-Time Job Will Teach Your Teen

(That They Can’t Learn in School)


Teens garner amazing benefits and skills from working a part-time job. Here are just a few things a part-time job teaches teens:

10 Things a Part-Time Job Will Teach Your Teen

#1 Independence

One of the most important (but bittersweet!) things a part-time job will teach your teen is autonomy. They’re in charge of all aspects of their employment – from keeping up with their shifts to communicating with supervisors. We parents are out of the loop, in a good way! There’s no app on our phones like we have with their sports teams that keeps us apprised of every practice and game and no teacher’s website so we can stay on top of their grades. Our teens work independently from us, growing into young adults gently pulling away. As they should!

#2 Teamwork

Having a part-time job encourages and teaches teamwork, much like playing a sport. Your teen will learn how to get along with their co-workers, work alongside them, and trust them as they all work together to achieve the workplace’s goals. They’ll also learn to get a handle on conflict resolution (because, let’s face it, there’s always that one employee who stirs up trouble). Whether it’s coordinating efforts to take out the trash, keeping the french fries flowing for drive-thru orders, or cleaning the bathrooms, your teen will learn the value of working collaboratively with others. 

#3 Valuable Communication Skills

Whether your teen is a chatterbox or a quiet introverted kid who keeps to himself, a part-time job will require them to speak up in a thoughtful, respectful manner. Whether they’re asking for next Friday off, asking for a small raise, dealing with an internal situation with a fellow employee, or handling a customer complaint, they’ll learn how to manage situations and problems with respect, composure, professionalism, and poise – a skill they’ll use the rest of their lives. 

#4 Responsibility

One of the biggest benefits a part-time job teaches teens is that they learn how to be responsible and manage their time. They now have a boss, co-workers, and customers counting on them. They have to set their alarm, wake up at a certain time, and make sure they’re at their job ready to work rain or shine.

They have to put effort into learning the job’s requirements AND doing their job right (or they’ll learn pretty quickly what it feels like to get fired). And, they have to figure out how to juggle other commitments in their lives, including school, sports, and extracurriculars with their job. 

#5 Employment Skills

Preparing, searching, and interviewing for a job teaches teens valuable employment skills, including how to create a resume, write a compelling cover letter, and how to best present themselves during an interview. They’ll also learn how to line up references – teachers, coaches, etc. who will vouch for their character and work ethic. Then there’s updating their resume to reflect their new skills. And, if they move on to another job, they’ll master professionalism when giving notice. 

#6 The Opportunity to Explore Different Career Paths

Working during high school gives your teen the chance to try different jobs and discover what they’re passionate about. Being in the service industry, for instance, will help them identify whether they enjoy (or despise) working with the general public. The restaurant business might make them realize that restaurant management might just be their thing. They can also check out jobs like landscaping, painting, office work, computer coding, or other jobs to discern what they might enjoy. No matter the industry, a part-time job can also ignite a passion in some teens to follow their entrepreneurial spirit and launch their own businesses.

#7 Earning and Managing Money

Let’s be honest, when they earn that first paycheck, it’s exhilarating! The thought of being able to make money by doing a task or providing a service motivates them to work harder, so they can make more money. (If only they could get paid for going to school!) In addition, they’ll develop a plethora of money management skills including how to master direct deposit for their paychecks, understanding taxes, and the different kinds taken out at the state and national level. They can also learn about interest and the value of putting aside a portion of each paycheck into a savings account with a higher interest rate, (hopefully using it to their advantage toward saving for a future goal like a car).

#8 Appreciation for What It Takes to Earn a Buck

After all the effort your teen put into earning that paycheck, you better believe they’ll appreciate the value of a dollar. They now understand exactly how hard they have to work to earn an hour’s pay. It’s also eye-opening as they consider how far their paycheck goes (and how far it doesn’t go!) toward their wants and needs, whether they want a new vinyl or a tank of gas.

The hidden benefit of it all is that they suddenly appreciate YOU more knowing how hard you have to work to earn money for the family!

#9 Finding Joy & Purpose In Their Job

This is a big benefit for many teens who genuinely enjoy working. Indeed, many teens find a job a welcome reprieve from the stress of school. They discover a sense of purpose and feel successful executing job duties versus trying to achieve good grades in subjects they don’t relate to or feel passionate about.

#10 Beating Boredom

Teens don’t have nearly as much time to be bored when they have to head to a job after school or on the weekend and then come home to tackle homework and chores. Working a job also means that they won’t have as much free time to spend scrolling through their phones, which I know many parents consider a huge bonus! 

When my daughter’s Senior Night celebration rolls around next year, I’ll remind her that working a part-time job is a huge accomplishment for her and ALL teens. 

After all, a part-time job will teach your teen valuable skills and prepare them for their amazing future ahead… and that’s something they should be truly proud of!


About Katy M. Clark:

Katy is a writer and mom of two who embraces her imperfections on her blog Experienced Bad Mom. Follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

If you enjoyed reading, “10 Things a Part-Time Job Will Teach Your Teen (That They Can’t Learn in School),” check out these other posts!

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