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Which is more important when choosing a job: salary or work-life balance?

As a high school student, I have many needs and wants throughout the school year. Obviously, I would have to financially support myself if many of my desires are a bit pricey or my parents are no longer supporting me financially (other than food, shelter, etc.) Is it better to take up a part-time job that has a high salary, but would cause me to be stressed and/or too busy for me to maintain a proper social/school life? Or is it simply better for me to have a part-time job that isn't giving me that much money, but is still allowing me to freely juggle my work, school, and social life? Please give me your input and share any experiences that you had regarding a work-life balance during your high school years. #money #salary #work-life-balance #education-management #workflow-management #financial-planning

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Chermone’s Answer

I would say first off that it is good for you to start thinking in this manner. Truth- life will only get tougher- and that is before having a family of your own to care for! At this point, it is really up to you. Just understand that whatever route you take will have consequences. The question is can you deal with the consequences? I don't want to scare you, but i do want to be forthright. Consider all of your options, possible consequences and even prepare for the "unknowns" that happen in life. Sometimes I wish I prepared more when I was younger. It's hard living paycheck to paycheck, dealing with "life" and wanting to have your "me" time. Planning is key and as long as you make a plan and do your best to stick to it, you'll be ok. If you need money to live right now, work the harder job. If you need it just for spending money, go the easier route and prepare for the future. In the end though, I think you'll be ok because you're asking the right questions and preparing yourself. Go get'em tiger!

Thanks Mr. Bunting! Seeing my situation from your perspective really shined a light on whether it would be better for me to choose money over life. I wish you the best! Karen P.

You're welcome and I wish you well! Chermone Bunting

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Rich’s Answer

This really isn't an either or question as any job can take over your life if you let it. I've seen people constantly stay at work until 11 pm and email at all hours of the night, when they really didn't need to or when they should have just established boundaries. The not-so-secret fact is everyone is busy at work and you'll always be "busy." Simply because there is always something to do. It's a matter of prioritizing (or asking your manager to prioritize) what's important--because not everything is.

And let's face it... a healthy salary is important, no matter where you are at in life. That is, up to a point. I've left miserable jobs to take less money and was completely happy because it meant I had a life. But earlier in my career I was ok working longer hours and at start ups (which can demand longer hours). Work isn't everything and you may decide that you'd rather write a novel or spend more time with family, than make a few extra bucks.

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Sherard’s Answer

The answer to your question is dependent upon your specific situation. With you being in high school, you have plenty to time to work in your lifetime. Your high school and college years are some of the best years of your life where you are developing who you are as a person. If it is more of a need for you to work at this point in your life, I would consider what job you feel most comfortable and enjoy doing. You don't want to sacrifice your grades for a part-time job. Your main focus should be on your overall GPA, and deciding what college you feel the most comfortable attending. The more that you add to your resume over the years, the more marketable that you will become and the more money you will make. I would concentrate more on life and work balance now, because you can't get this time back, but you will have more jobs and opportunity in the future and the money will be there. Enjoy your youth and find out what you are passionate about. Start to think now what could you envision yourself doing for years. If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.

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Rachel’s Answer

You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Karen,

If I am reading this correctly, you are targeting part-time work while you are in high school. I believe the answer to your question really depends on your personal situation. If you are in need of financial backing, by all means take the higher paying job. However, if the financial piece isn't as important, then I would certainly go with the low stress job. These years in high school and college are ones you can never get back and I would strongly encourage you to maintain being socially active, creating and having experiences and learning more about yourself.

Personally I didn't need a lot of money in high school, but I did need some. I umpired baseball for 3 years and it was good money and also allowed me to be flexible to see my friends and keep up with my studies. So, if you really don't overly need the money, stay as stress free as you can.



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Aparna’s Answer

Hi there! We are constantly overwhelmed by these "what if" questions. Your needs and desires are legitimate and so are your questions! I advise my students to be focused on school first- as its your passport to earning more in the future. We all live in a consumerist culture and our wants and needs are forever going to increase as we grow up. If you have these thoughts about the importance of a job that pays to keep your needs met with vs. school balance, you are really thinking well! I believe that you are interested in learning how to deal with this dilemma!

It's important to do a needs analysis first:
1. What are your immediate needs?
2. What are your long term goals?
3. What are your values on a scale of 1-10 in terms of what you want to accomplish in next 5 years?
4. Can you prioritize your needs and see what's most important and what you can do away with?
5. Is school and successful completion of education your value?

Ask yourself these questions and find answers. I am sure you will have your aha moment!

Good luck!

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Matthew’s Answer

This is a very savvy, thoughtful question for a young adult looking forward (and the answer to this question should be kept in mind when interviewing, as you might easily use the answer for one of the many interview questions posed). Certainly, there are financial obligations that we must meet, e.g., mortgage, student loans, car payments, etc. But money alone is not going to give you the sustenance to make it through each and every day of a position that you do not enjoy. Find something you are truly passionate about and give your all to it. You will discover that dedicating your life to what you love will in the end be the best course of action intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

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Kelly’s Answer

The most important consideration for in choosing a job is to think about whether you really want to do the job. A great salary with a miserable job is no fun. A fun and rewarding job wont likely feel unbalanced. In either case, negotiate the most money you can at the start of the job because it wont be easy to go back and ask for more money once you start to feel unbalanced.