Worker bees: Edina hornets earn extra cash through local jobs

Alexis Yi, print editor

For many high schoolers, taking on a job is a step towards independence. Many studies, however, including a recent 2019 research effort by the Brookings Institution, have revealed that the number of teenage employees was declining even before the pandemic. A recent 2021 study by policy research institution Mathematica has shown that the pandemic has exacerbated this trend. At Edina High School, though, some students still take on jobs during the school year or summer break for some extra cash and spending money.

Senior Rachel Owens Pierre has worked throughout high school, and this summer she plans to work two jobs: one as a program leader for the Edina Parks and Recreation summer children’s programs and another as a sales associate at Clothes Mentor, a consignment chain. She’s worked for Parks and Recreation for three years now, a position she enjoys because of the children she interacts with, but the Clothes Mentor job is a new one she’s taken on to help save up for college. 

“In past years, I’ve just done jobs in order to get some extra spending money, so I can go out with friends and shop,” Owens Pierre said. “I usually wouldn’t work two jobs. But I’m just doing that because I really want to save up for college. So I can pretty much do the same thing where I just have extra spending money . . . [without] worrying about texting my parents constantly being like, ‘Is it okay if I buy this?’”

Freshman Nina Berke will be a lifeguard this summer at the Edina Community Center. A member of the swim team, Berke had to undergo intensive training first to get certified as a lifeguard. This will be her first official job, although she’s also had babysitting experience in the past. “I gravitate more towards jobs that are outside, because I like being outside [and] more active,” Berke said. “I just want to meet people. Just make some friends.”

It’s also not easy juggling a job with school life, which can be unpredictable and inconsistent.  “There’s different school stuff . . . events that you can’t anticipate months in advance,’” Owens Pierre said. “I found it really difficult junior year. I was super overwhelmed with school and working 15-20 hours a week. I think most students can only handle one day a week with a full course load and other activities.”

Since many teenagers typically take on entry-level jobs, their pay is often around the minimum wage level. “I do think [my pay] is a little low,” Berke said. “But I also understand that I’m 15, so I don’t expect to be getting paid like a lot. But it’s a little low, especially since I had to pay to get certified . . . and also, I feel like lifeguarding [is] a serious job.” Because of her age, the lifeguarding position was one of the only positions available to Berke. She plans to continue lifeguarding throughout high school.

For students currently looking for jobs, Owens Pierre gives this advice: “Think more about what you want, [rather] than what your job wants from you,” she said. “It’s really good to set your own limitations before you get caught up and maybe overschedule yourself. And try to find something that’s fun.”