A run-down on student jobs


Aileen Hu

There are many online resources that are meant to help students find jobs. Indeed.com is a popular job-search website, and Amador’s college and career center provides an updated document of local jobs for students as well.

Students typically begin working part-time or finding summer jobs during high school. As people grow more independent, they look for ways to build experience, which can be found in both working a job and in the process of searching and applying for one.

Caterina Gonzalez (‘24) is a student at Amador who enjoys participating in her community and often does volunteer work, but recently, she applied for and was accepted to work part-time as a hostess at Chiles.

“I had actually always wanted to get a job, but since I was still fourteen-fifteen at the time, I just put it in the back of my mind for a bit. [Then this year], I had started searching for a job for about a week or two before I got …my first paying job just a little over a month ago,” said Gonzalez.

When it comes to finding a job, it is important to consider both personal preferences and job availability. Gonzalez already had a general idea of what she was searching for, so she was able to target the positions that she had taken more interest in.

I was mostly just looking for a job in a restaurant …I knew restaurants were often looking for people to hire, and I just wanted something more casual so that I don’t end up adding too much stress on myself,” said Gonzalez.

On the other hand, there are also many students who want to work at a part-time or summer job but are unsure of where to start. The internet is always a useful resource, but asking others for advice and suggestions can be just as helpful, especially in local areas. 

The system of connections that run through a community proved to be a handy tool for Ys Nguyen (‘23), who preferred using more reliable sources of information.

“While searching for jobs, I used some websites, such as indeed.com and other similar sites, but practically all the places I’d applied to using that website never got back to me, so in the end, I just asked my friend, who was already working at a retail place, and she suggested I apply for the place she was working at, too. I did, and now I work there part-time,” said Nguyen.

Asking around and researching what types of high school jobs are out there can be intimidating, but Nguyen also figured that sometimes all it takes is to try and apply to several different jobs before deciding on preferences. She emphasized that remaining open to all possible opportunities has proven to be an important skill that is especially useful during job searches and applications.

“[I was told that] that I should just apply to every single job ever, because you don’t know if you’re going to be rejected or not, so you can’t be picky. I applied to about five jobs and … I decided to just take whatever job I can get,” said Nguyen.

Amador Valley’s college and career center also prepared a list of possible jobs for high school students. The list is constantly updated with new information and provides other opportunities such as for volunteering and internships as well. Shirley Fukuda (‘25) is one of the many students who took advantage of this support the school provides. 

My friend showed me this document, which I think was created by the school district, and it had places that hired high school students for certain jobs and positions. …[Since] I was interested in more of a cashier job, it helped me narrow down on some of the jobs I wanted,” said Fukuda.

Working with other people in new environments helps students accumulate valuable real-life experience. Managing time between work and school, communicating with strangers, and building new relationships are all key life lessons for future success. Fukuda had learned many valuable lessons during the time she began working and created several new bonds as well.

“Having a job has taught me a lot about teamwork. Since when the store gets busy, I have to split up the work— meaning I have to trust my coworkers and they have to trust me … [It] taught me about what it’s like to have a good team and support behind me,” said Fukuda.

Other than improving people’s life skills, working a part-time job also helps students develop their personal characteristics. Tom Li (‘22), who has worked at Happy Lemon for three years, was able to quickly adapt to the communication skills necessary for working with customers. He reflects that these abilities will definitely be of help in his future careers.

“I learned to be really patient with people after working for a while. A lot of the time, it can get really frustrating with certain customers, but learning how to deal with them professionally and making sure to resolve conflicts were some of the big lessons I’d learned,” said Li.

Furthermore, work experiences also introduce people to others in their community. Meeting new people, and learning how to get along with them has helped Li expand his social bubble and cherish more of the little things in life. 

“I think my most memorable experiences are when we do team bonding, like going bowling, and getting dinner together as coworkers. I really appreciate the friends that I made at work,” said Li.

Some believe having a job in high school is like getting a head start in interacting with the real world. These experiences help people grow and also learn more about themselves— there are many, including Nguyen, who may even come to love something they had hesitated to do before.

“Before I started working, I wanted to choose a job where I could just work in the back and not have to talk to anyone, but I found that it’s kind of difficult to find a job like that. [Now], I’ve learned to enjoy interacting with others [and] it always makes me happy when I can help people,” said Nguyen.