4 Rules for Kids Working Part-Time Jobs in High School

If your kid is going to work while in high school, there are a few ironclad rules for him to follow.

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  1. Don’t work more than 15 hours a week during school, including weekends. More than that, and your kid’s grades will likely start to suffer. Research shows that students who work more than about 15 hours per week are much less likely to obtain a college degree — and more likely to drop out of high school. If your kid wants to work more, there’s always the summer.
  2. Put school first. This might sound obvious, but when, say, your kid’s supervisor at the supermarket insists he work crazy hours during finals week just to make sure all the shifts get covered, he isn’t factoring in your kid’s academic future. Kids sometimes aren’t used to advocating for themselves with adults, so it’s up to you to check in with your kid and make sure that work isn’t interfering with important tests or school activities.
  3. Save for college. If your kid is earning enough to buy clothes, electronics, video games — you name it — he’s making enough to save some money for college, too. And that’s what he needs to do. Besides, spending all that money now results in what University of Michigan researcher Jerald G. Bachman has dubbed “premature affluence.” Kids can get an inflated view of the lifestyle they’ll be able to afford when they’re older and paying for everything (not just the extras) themselves.
  4. Use your job as a credential. Encourage your kid to consider asking his boss for a college recommendation if he thinks he has made a significant contribution on the job. Some colleges value real-world experience, and a reference that includes specifics — say, your kid completely automated the shoe store’s inventory or developed a new customer service survey that led to increased sales — can be a boon.

The following is an excerpt from Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not). Buy it here.

My new book is out February 7!