To Work or Not to Work?

Teenagers in the Workplace


Sydney Johnson

Senior, Brighton Mica, poses in his Mansfield National work attire

Sydney Johnson, Editor In Chief

When you are a teenager, your first job can be an exciting new experience.  The idea of generating your own money brings about independence and a sense of pride.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics only 25 percent of 16-to-19 year olds are employed.  That is a drop of 10 percent from five years ago.  Monetary expenses such as college tuition, transportation, and clothing have driven teenagers into the workplace at the expense of their grades and social life. “It makes it hard to study,” explained junior, Dane Howell, who works at Mooyah Burger in Mansfield.  “I’m always tired and coming home and sleeping instead of doing my homework so I have to cram it in at lunch.”

Teens who work 13 to 20 hours per week get lower grades than those that work less hours or do not work according to a study from the University of Connecticut (UCONN Advance Archives).

Lake Ridge junior, Hannah Weise, works at On the Border Mexican Restaurant in Mansfield. “It definitely affects my studying. I work long hours and it cuts down the time for studying,” she said.

However, teens that hold jobs during the school year also learn valuable lessons such as time and management skills, responsibility, and independence. “Working keeps me busy,” explained Brighton Mica, senior, who works at Mansfield National Golf Club.  “It’s a way to learn responsibility while making money for college.  It prepares you for adulthood because it teaches you to work hard, listen, and plan ahead.”

Federal Law States:

  • Children younger than 14 are restricted to delivering newspapers, working in a non-hazardous business owned by a parent, baby-sitting or doing other minor domestic chores in a private home, or performing on stage, screen or radio. They may work only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year and until 9 p.m. in the summer.
  • At 14 and 15, teens may work at non-hazardous jobs for three hours on school days, eight hours on non-school days, 18 hours during a school week and 40 hours during a non-school week.
  • At 16 and 17, teens may perform any non-hazardous job for any number of hours.
(Source: Department of Labor)

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