Summer Jobs in the Past

How many high school students nowadays have jobs? It seems like a lost art. But believe it or not, having a job used to be a popular pastime for teens in America.

In movies and TV shows from the 1980s and 1990s, one would always see young adults working at the movies or the local hangout. Take Fast Times at Ridgemont High for example, a popular movie of the 1980s. Half of the movie is shot at the mall, where the teens work. Yet now, teen employment rates have dropped significantly since the 1990s.

Teacher, parents and school administration are always pushing teens not to work, and to focus on school. Did they ever stop to think that maybe working would help prepare kids for college and the “real world” they are always talking about? Many young adults work to prepare for the stress of growing up. Working teaches teens money management as well as responsibility.

Okay, so most students do not need the extra responsibility, as some can barely handle the stress of getting good grades. Do not forget Facebook, since that seems to be of number one importance to high school students nowadays. “I had a couple friends that worked at the local ice cream place,” said assistant school administrator Bradley Rohner.

Many teens, like the RHS student above, work at popular chains such as Starbucks. -- Nursena Acar

Now, not all students need to work. Certainly it is not necessary for a 14 year old have a job, but seniors and even some juniors may benefit from employment. “When [I was a] senior, all the seniors were working,” said Rohner. It was an extremely common thing for a senior to have a job to gain money for the first year in college and for the upcoming New Year.

According to, getting a job is a character building activity. Perhaps this type of responsibility building would help a teen keep his or her grades up. Working would also help a teen learn how to function in an environment where he might not like someone he needs to interact with.

Getting a job is a personal option and is up to the student and his or her parents. But before one makes up one mind, do some research. One may like what one sees.

Related Media: RHS Students and Their Part-time Jobs

Related Media: Teen Employment Stat