Working, By Avery Amende

I have five tables waiting for their checks, three tables that continuously ask how long until their food comes, one table that can’t get over the fact that we’re out of Dr. Pepper, and another table that makes the world shake with the atrocity that is their six-year old brat. And there’s still three hours before closing time.
Working is just fantastic, isn’t it? With the kind and understanding customers and the oh-so high paying jobs that are given to incredibly skillful high school students––ha, I wish.
Working is something most of the world has to do eventually. Whether an individual works towards getting a better paying job or a more enjoyable job, the end goal includes a form of income in return for some sort of duty. Because of this, learning to work when you’re young can be very beneficial.
I think that working, especially volunteer work (without payment), is a valuable experience for teenagers, as crazy as that sounds.
There is controversy over whether students should begin work as soon as legally possible or if they should wait until they have to––because most people have to work for a large part of their lives after high school. The legal working age is over 14 in Montana, with restricted work hours through age 15––not counting things like being a camp counselor, volunteering, etc.
I don’t know about other parents, but mine promoted the idea of volunteering in the community and working part-time even at an early age. Bozeman High School seems to support working students as well––with its requirements of community service hours for the gold/silver/blue card system. There is also the option to be a part-time student and work for half the day if a student so desires.
To be quite frank, I think that all teenagers, if possible, should work at some point in their teen years. That could mean part-time, full-time, only during summers, only during the school year, solely volunteer work, or anything that requires working to benefit someone else. I think that working can be absolutely terrible, painfully long, and ultimately unenjoyable, but it can help build character and responsibility in students that is hard to find in anything less work-centered.
Jobs that promote doing work for the benefit of someone other than oneself, is something anyone could benefit from because it teaches selflessness over selfishness in most cases. Seeing past the desires an individual has in their selfish spectrum can be such a good thing because it broadens the individual’s view of society as a whole. One cannot fully understand and be successful in a society when they are unsure of how to benefit it––which can be taught by working even by jobs considered foolish.
Working makes you more open-minded. Without experiencing something from another perspective, it is easy to get wrapped up in doing something a certain way or seeing something in a certain light without looking at alternative ways. Therefore, by doing something at work that is different from something one might do in their spare time, they are opening their minds to new things. That’s not to say that those who do not seek other understandings aren’t capable of doing so, but when someone can empathize humanistically, it allows for much more societal prosperity in the end.
Working teaches you to adapt and be flexible, and to let go of things that are out of your control. Typically teenagers work under a boss/manager or some type of leader that ultimately decides the things they must do to fulfil their job. This teaches them that they do not always get to do the things they want and that they must follow rules and abide by the tasks another person gives them. This can benefit youth when they are older, because they will be more willing to do jobs without questioning the loss of control they will feel.
I think the qualities we want our society to have can flourish when teenagers learn to work, because it teaches them to look at the bigger picture. It’s important to learn that one cannot always have and do everything they desire, but it is of course always worth it to try hard. It’s just about impossible to have control over everything, and I believe working can teach youth to work their hardest––but know that they can’t make everything happen the way they want it to because of environmental factors.
From working as a waitress, I have gained a lot of respect for waitstaff at restaurants I go to as a customer. Without experiencing rude customers and bossy co-workers, it is unlikely that I would feel the respect I do for others in positions similar to the one I held. Because of my experiences, my eyes have been opened to things I wouldn’t have noticed before working––like how tipping well does have an impact, for example. Or how when other people do not pull their own weight, it impacts others.
Working sucks, I know. Very few people like it until they find a job they enjoy, and that doesn’t typically happen until after more schooling. However, I think the experience of working can teach young people to deal with realistic problems and work through things they will most likely encounter later on in life.

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