By CHEY ZENG ’21
According to an article by Drew Desilver at the Pew Research Center, data shows nearly 35 percent of American high school students have part-time jobs. In comparison, the percentage of Chinese students who have part time jobs is extremely small, likely not even half of America’s rate. But why? Despite their larger population, Chinese students seem like they don’t like jobs or don’t need a job.
One of the reasons is the timetable. For example, EHS students get out of school at 2:30, and then go to their clubs, do their homework or attend social activities, so they still have a lot of time to do what they like, and because of that, some of them will choose jobs—to earn money for themselves. However, Chinese students usually get off school around 5:00. If they are seniors, some students will get off school at 6:00 pm , and with tons of homework, they have no time to get a job. Another reason is parents. GaoKao, a Chinese version of the SAT, is highly important for all Chinese students, so it is natural for parents to focus more on the academics than entry-level work experience. For parents, getting a job means losing time to “unnecessary things,” splitting free time in half, having less study time, being tired, and living an imbalanced life. Of course, parents will have reservations about their child getting a part time job—after all, as parents like to say, “study first, you will earn money when you’ve graduated.”
Due to this situation, if Chinese students want to earn money, they prefer to start an online business. It is very common to sell things online. Usually they will sell their goods such as clothes, makeup, books, food, even electronic devices on WeChat, a Chinese social app. All you need to have is a mobile phone and a WeChat account. It is effective and convenient because you don’t need to take a long ride to go to a physical store. Instead, you can make money easily, and it is easy to make adjustments to your settings. If students have a lot of homework and only have a little time on the phone, they can still earn money. WeChat businesses, in short, save them time.
In Chinese parents’ words, a part-time job’s disadvantages exceed its advantages. In my opinion, everything has two sides. Part-time jobs let us grow up. They can improve our social skills. For example, if you work at McDonald’s, you have to face tons of customers everyday, and you have to learn how to talk to these patrons politely and properly. However, the biggest advantage of part time jobs is that they let you be more independent. In my experience, when I’m spending my own money, I will be more comfortable than spending my parents’ money, because I earned it, I know how hard it comes, and I know how to spend it properly as well. Part time jobs help you adapt to society quickly when you are out of school. But as I mentioned before, everything has two sides. The disadvantage of getting a job might be the imbalance of your time, which is also parents’ concern. It is tiring enough when you get off school, and you have to finish your homework, your housework and anything else, then go to work. And trust me, you will be extremely tired when you are off work and only want to lay on the bed and do nothing. Gradually, you will lose your balance of study, work, and life.
In conclusion, getting a job has a good side, and also a bad side, depending on how you deal with it. Getting a job is also a sign of maturity, which means we need to take the outcomes of our choices, good or bad. A job can help you a lot if you are doing it right, whether for Chinese students or American students.