On the Right Track

Working a part-time job, even if it's not your dream, can help you gain many important skills for your future. 

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Working part-time isn’t just about making money; it’s about learning skills that can shape your life.

Here are five reasons to get a job that have nothing to do with money, from Renee Ward, founder of the online career site Teens4Hire:

  • You develop workplace skills you’ll need as an adult. Punching a time clock teaches you to respect a schedule. Dealing with difficult co-workers or demanding customers can help you learn patience and diplomacy. Getting hired and keeping a job require you to meet an employer’s expectations.

  • You get an inside look at the working world and exposure to different types of tasks and responsibilities, so you can figure out what sort of occupation might—or might not—appeal to you as a career choice.

  • You build self-confidence. Entering the working world is a great way to prove that you can handle more responsibility.

  • You are exposed to new experiences. Whatever the job is (working at a fast-food restaurant, taking tickets at a movie theater, baby-sitting, mowing lawns, or tutoring students), you’ll have contact with people (customers, fellow employees, supervisors) you wouldn’t if you weren’t working.

  • You can boost your GPA. Studies have shown that teens who work a moderate amount—10 to 15 hours a week during the school year—earn higher grades than those who don’t work.

Money Talks

Of course, the main reason to work is to earn money. Many jobs pay minimum wage, which is the lowest amount of money you can earn according to the law. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Eighteen states have a minimum wage higher than the federal amount. For more information about the minimum wage, go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, http://www.dol.gov/

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