Walking a tightrope while balancing a book on your head is a difficult act, but for the very best it is possible. This applies to everything in life, including balancing school and work. Teenagers are expected to perfect this balancing act within the first few weeks of becoming the legal working age. Students that have a job still have to maintain their GPAs while obtaining and keeping a part time job. An ideal job for a teenager includes schedule flexibility and the understanding that a teenager is a student first, while still being able to pay their bills.
Schedule flexibility is a key aspect in determining if a particular business is a good job for a teenager. Most retail and restaurants have the flexibility to account for teenage workers. These workplaces are open for longer hours so students can work after school hours and have time on the weekends before or after their shifts for their social lives. Most of these workplaces do not expect these workers to work more than 20 hours a week, although experts such as Greenburger and Steinfeld only recommend 10 hours or less during the school week (Worsnop 1990). Many teenagers will choose to stay at a workplace if they provide the availability to still complete their schoolwork, no matter if it was their choice or the choice of their parents.
In addition, workplaces need to have the understanding that a teenage worker is a student first. If they are having a hard time in one of their classes, they are most likely going to reduce their work hours to increase time studying for the class. Students are less likely to need a ton of hours; but this is not to be confused with the worker not being reliable. There is a clear difference between unreliability and unrealistic expectations put on the teenager. In recent years, there has been a lack of understanding that the teenage worker is a student first, since workplaces have been found to break child labor laws (Worsnop 1990). In personal experience, people such as myself have been part of workplaces that only glance at teenage labor laws. An old workplace of mine has kept teenagers for shifts eight hours and longer without a lunch break, nor did they notice the amount of time that the teenager has been on the clock. They also failed to notice teenage curfew and letting students to leave with enough time to get home before legal curfew.
Students still want to be able to have spending money though, so they should still work a little bit. It is a very delicate balancing act to harmonize school and work. Many extracurriculars that students can be apart of have costs. Many students take part time jobs to afford the costs of these extracurriculars on their own. Teenagers determine how much money they need for their spending and extracurriculars, and they figure out how much they need to work to afford these things. Everyone had their own individual needs, and it is up to themselves alone to decide how much or how little to work.