Employers need to respect students time


You know what bugs me - it's that working students today don't earn the respect they deserve and don't have the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Being a student and having the experience of a part-time job all at the same time wasn't all I thought it would be. The money, the responsibility, the sense of accomplishment was everything that kept me working. But one thing that I couldn't stand more than anything in the world was my employer's undermining of my ability to keep up with them while working.

Now, understand, I was a full-time student and apparently, in their minds, a full- time employee. I started before the big holiday rush and I thought I had it all under control until the holiday rush was over and my hours launched to 20 to 25 hours a week. Whoa! My paychecks were looking nice, but I wasn't. Working a 20- to 25-hour week and going to school full time wore me out. I wasn't myself and I couldn't think straight. My grades were bombing and I was losing my sanity. I was going crazy.

I asked a number of times that they reduce my hours. It went OK for a couple weeks, but as soon as they reduced them, they jacked them back up. I had enough, and I told myself it was time to take a stand for my rights as a working student. I went to my store manager and complained about my supervisor's disrespect for my request to lower my hours.

Businesses today need to realize the stress teens go through, trying to maintain themselves in school and trying to build a positive work ethic while on their way to a successful future.

Yeah, I know that getting a job is a big responsibility and when we go to apply for one we need to have the realization that it'll be just another thing to maintain in our lives, but, honestly, when do we get a chance? If they didn't want to deal with an emotional, social, hardworking, typical teen, then why did they hire us in the first place?

When I was working, I felt like I got no respect. They had me working almost every day during the week, closing by myself at 10 p.m., and dealing with difficult customers that came in and decided to take their frustration from their days out on me. I have enough of that already, thank you.

Give working teens a break, that's all I ask, because in the end we're the ones bringing the business and money in. They train us, and we take it from there.

I'd like to see them work the sales floor all by themselves at the end of a long day at school. Then come and tell me how it went and I'll laugh in their face, because that's how they made me feel - like I had no room to say what's right for me and no room to be a part of what they call a 'team.'

Working students today deserve the right to maintain their sanity while building real-life experience.

Soapboxes are guest opinions from our readers, and anyone is welcome to write one. Abigail Compton is a student at Beaverton High School.