Behind The Counters

How students are able to balance their school and work life


Lydia Hamby

Some students work for their passions, some work for the money and others work for the people. Three students share their work experience stories.

Lydia Hamby, Reporter

Work and school, school and work. The basis of working students’ daily life. Students who can’t make an allowance often decide to get a job to make their money’s worth. At the earliest age of 14, students decide to start working through the process of getting a workers permit. Some work for their passions, some work for the money, and some work for the people. 

Natalie Hoffman

Natalie Hoffman (11), Kohl’s Employee

Natalie Hoffman is a junior at Liberty and an employee at Kohl’s. She describes her experience at Kohl’s as stress-free. However, with the holiday season here, Hoffman says her job may become more stressful. Hoffman’s closing hours are pretty average, only taking about half an hour to clean up the dressing rooms and her department. Along with taking several AP classes, she says sometimes it can be quite stressful standing behind the registers at Kohl’s instead of using that time to study. She says Kohl’s is pretty flexible and will work around students’ schedules when needed. Making sure your employer works around your schedule is big importance through the work of teenagers. You must manage not only your work life but your school life as well. Hoffman describes the weekends as a little chaotic, the floors being destroyed faster with the wave of customers during the weekend. 

Ben Janssen

Ben Janssen (10), Dierbergs Courtesy Clerk Employee

Ben Janssen is a courtesy clerk at Dierbergs and describes his job as a way to make things for customers easier. Janssen describes the pay at Dierbergs as pretty average, but the people he’s surrounded by make up for it. Before the new Lake St. Louis Dierbergs had opened for customers in November, Janssen had been working at the Wentzville Dierbergs. He said back at the Wentzville store, he was close with a lot of people but at the new store some of the people are older and there aren’t many young people. Janssen says Dierbergs was a good starting job, with decent starting pay, and it was somewhere close to home. Janssen said a pretty funny experience was when there was a customer checking out, it came to the last item in their cart which was a watermelon. After the cashier had rung it up and was about to hand it to Janssen to put into the customer’s cart, the cashier had dropped the watermelon on the floor and it exploded everywhere. That’s one way to buy a watermelon!

Lillian Nelson

Lillian Nelson (10), Sugarfire Volleyball Referee

Lillian Nelson, a sophomore, has a passion for volleyball. She has decided to go further within her hobby and work as a volleyball referee at Sugarfire. Lily says she played volleyball for about two years until she began reffing. She began reffing in the 7th grade. Sugarfire isn’t just a barbecue restaurant, but it also serves as a place for teams to play volleyball. Many teens who enjoy hobbies such as basketball, soccer, and even volleyball take part in sports refereeing jobs. Nelson says that with knowing how the game of volleyball works, it is nice to know that she gets paid for doing what she loves. This isn’t Nelson’s first job; she previously worked at J and A’s and St. Pats for volleyball where she got paid $16 and got between the range of $10, $14, and $16. With being a 15-year-old, Nelson says she really enjoys working and enjoys getting paid. She says she mainly works on Saturday nights from 5:30-11:30.

Advice For Teens Looking For Work

If you’re a teenager looking for work, some recommendations include looking for somewhere that is close to you meaning if you live within five minutes of a fast food place definitely look further into that before driving 15 minutes out versus driving five minutes to a local gas station near you.