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High School Workers: Minimum Pay for Maximum Effort

Most teenagers have part-time jobs, but it seems as these jobs are taking more of a toll then they're supposed to

High school students make up a big percentage of workers during a big worker shortage. These students usually go to school then rush to their part-time job right after the final bell rings. Most part-time jobs for teenagers are minimum pay for maximum effort. For a 7 hour school day, work after school itself can be extremely stressful, but a lot of Buffalo High School students have been mistreated at their place of employment.

Majority of students with jobs at Buffalo High School have been mistreated at their place of work. Some people have been treated poorly by customers and some by their own co-workers. 

A 17 year old student is an assistant manager at her job. She works food service, which is an average job for most teenagers, but she does more than what you’d expect. Her work days start at 4:00 p.m. most weekdays right after school. Being a manager at 17 is already stressful but for her it’s even worse because she is trying to balance work and school.

“Most of the time, I’m on track or only a day behind, but sometimes I fall more behind because of the stress.” 

She said she works by herself and closes her store once or twice a week. She has worried about simply taking the trash out because she fears an angry customer is waiting for her to come out. She is expected to do everything while she closes. Basically, she said she feels like she is working a full-time job for part-time pay. 

“[It’s expected] that the store is clean, both drive thru and in store customers are tended to in a timely manner, and inventory is done,” she said. 

Inventory itself can take up over two hours of her shifts, so that with everything else is very overwhelming. She said that she often doesn’t get off work until 11 p.m. after working seven-hour shifts.

This isn’t the case for just this one student. Many other students at Buffalo High School have jobs and have had a negative experience at their place of work. 

In an anonymous survey, students said how they were mistreated.

“I’ve been yelled at by multiple customers for things that I have no control over,” one student said.

They said there’s nothing they can ever do about it. Customers tend to assume they’re always right, but is it worth bringing down an already stressed teenager? 

Another person said that their boss told them, “I pay you too much for you to be sad” after they showed emotions at work following the death of a close family member. 

 The Pew Research Center found that 70% percent of teenagers think anxiety and depression is a big issue. That would be over 1,200 students at Buffalo High School.

“My boss was kind of crazy & she would yell at me for not following rules that she made up,” one student reported. “One time I asked a question & she said, ‘What do you think?’ and  then I made a guess and she said, ‘Good girl!’ but not in a nice way.” 

For this particular student, it made them not want to work as hard as they knew they could. 

Twenty-percent of surveyed students talked about how they were sexually harassed or assaulted at work. 

“I was sexually harassed by a coworker. I tried to laugh it off but I was finally fed up,” one other student said. 

This is a regular occurrence for them and they still work there.

“The guys at my work would constantly sexualize me,” another student said. “This one guy was obsessed with me and said he loved me everyday. He even came to my house one time, when I told him to leave me alone his friends tried to jump me.” 

They said that they told their managers and they did nothing.

Over 15,000 cases of sexual harassment are shown to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission every year. It’s very frowned upon to talk about it, especially in the workplace. These students expressed how management did nothing. Companies don’t want to ruin their reputation, but is it worth it at the expense of these poorly treated workers?

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