Working 5 to 9: Teens can learn valuable lessons from working jobs


Sami Porter

Sophomore Sami Porter currently works at Hollister at Oak Park Mall.

Sami Porter, Contributor

It’s a normal, sunny Saturday as I pull into the parking garage of the mall. As I step into the building, I can hear people talking and see them shopping around.

I step onto the fake porch setup covered in fairy lights and promotional posters for Hollister. I can already hear the pop music coming from inside. 

When I get up to the register, I greet my coworkers and clock in for another shift. I put my things in the back and prepare for another day at work.

I got my first job when I was 15. I couldn’t wait to work and earn my own money. Being a teenager and having a job can be tough, but it is more rewarding than anything in my experience. 

During the year and seven months, I have worked three jobs, which all helped improve my money management and saving skills. I have also grown in my people skills and customer service. I have learned so many important skills for my future from working. Every teen should work a job, even if it’s only a summer job.

I have always been mature and ambitious for my age, so searching for a job as soon as I turned 15 was no problem for me. My very first job was a server at Spin Pizza in Prairie Village, Kansas. 

Looking back, that job was very demanding and food service is a challenging job, but I learned so much. Working there was my first time developing customer service and learning time management. It also helped me realize how much food service employees do.

In the end, food service helped me develop as a person, but I’m much happier working in clothes and retail. My second job was at a thrift store near my dad’s house, Plato’s Closet. I enjoyed working there, but I left because I felt that I was doing more work than I was getting paid for. 

I am currently working at Hollister and I love my job. I get along with all of my coworkers and can even say I’ve made friends with some of them. It is easier than food service and it has flexible hours, so it’s perfect for me as a student. I have learned a lot from both the work and from my managers. 

From my last two jobs, I have learned about retail and sales and the fashion industry. My jobs have taught me so much, and it is vital for people to work as teenagers and develop these skills early in life. I am much more prepared for my future thanks to my jobs and experiences as a working teen.