Maintaining the balance of work and school for teen supervisors

Caya Craig, Social Media Manager

With the school year starting off and students slowly beginning to adapt from their summer schedules to school mode, businesses are beginning to hire new employees and promote their current staff. Especially in small communities like Grosse Pointe, teenagers are the main target for new hires and often supervisory positions.

According to Charlotte Harper ’22, being a supervisor at Coldstone means she is in charge of the inner workings of the business and all the staff that work below her. Without her authority, there would be no sense of order and things would not run as smoothly.

“Having a supervisory role definitely affects my work,” Harper said. “I now realize all the things that I didn’t before, like if no one does the work that needs to be done, the store will be in shambles. It never really affected me before when I was just a crewmember, but since I’m in charge now my views have changed.”

According to Libby Shefferly ’23, working underneath fellow students and friends is what sparks the enjoyment of her job at Coldstone. She believes having a younger person in charge helps create an easygoing environment that any young staff can thrive in.

“Coldstone is a great place for a first job, especially for teens,” Shefferly said. “I have so many friends that work there and it definitely lessens the stress levels to not have such an overbearing authority figure there all the time. Closing with girls my age who are in charge is so fun because criticism is easier to take from someone who I’m close with. They really know me.”

Working alongside the friendly faces of people you see everyday in school can create a strong dynamic in the workplace. Because of this, Shefferly believes that certain corporations tend to hire younger staff because of how well they can work together as a team.

“Corporations like Coldstone tend to have younger staff and even supervisors because teenagers can generally do the job just as well, or even better than an adult,” Shefferly said. Another reason is that high schoolers usually work part-time, so (corporations) can pay less.”

However, Harper believes that hiring teens still in school is not a strategic move, but a last resort. Due to understaffing and not being able to hire adults full-time, teenagers working part-time is the best option for the company to stay afloat, she said.

“I think corporations are putting high schoolers in higher ranking positions because there is no one else to do the work,” Harper said. “At least at my job, we are very understaffed and my boss tries to hire anyone she can if she sees them as a good fit.”

Ultimately, Harper believes that working a part time job as a high school student is extremely beneficial. Being in charge and just working in general gives you important skills that will be useful in the future. But, having to deal with the stress of school, sports and work is a difficult task for teenagers.

“I think younger people being in higher positions is beneficial,” Harper said. “I’m making more money and it is giving me good experience for later in life. However, I think for the owners of these corporations it might be harder and more stressful. Teenagers tend to have a busy schedule, so most people have to work around that. For the high schoolers that are planning to go to college, it’s even worse. There’s an expiration date on (teen) workers and the boss is always worrying about who to hire next.”