Woman Reflects on Working for Minimum Wage While in High School

A TikTok user’s recollection of his high school work experience sparked debate after it went viral on the platform.

In a video with over 2.1 million views, TikTok user Haylee (@hailbango) asks, “Was anyone an extremely hard worker for their minimum wage job in high school? Like such a good extra worker that your manager would put you with the laziest, most incompetent colleague every week just because she knew you’d feel like you had to take over for them if they weren’t doing their job? »

“Me too,” she concludes.

@hailbango #fyp ♬ original sound – tatyanna

Although the data on youth work is mixed, some evidence suggests that young people put in more hours at work than their older counterparts.

A 2015 survey of 1,000 office workers in the UK found that “people aged 16 to 24 worked an average of seven hours and 22 minutes overtime per week”, two hours more per week than people over 55 years old.

Additionally, Haylee’s comment about feeling “compelled to take over” may indicate feelings of guilt or shame that may be common among younger workers and newcomers to the workforce. According to an article written by Julie Riggott for USC News, “the culprits are good workers.”

“Highly guilt-prone people…are valuable work partners because the concern with letting others down pushes them to do at least their fair share of the job,” Riggott writes.

On Haylee’s TikTok video, users said her experience was common.

“Single-handedly keeping a business alive at 17,” reads one of the top comments.

“And then being hated for trying to talk about them without taking over,” said a second.

Others shared specific stories from their workplaces.

“My manager even told me I was his favorite because I actually work but I get paid like everyone else and that makes me sad,” one commentator recalled.

“When I was working 40 hours a week in [high school] at Taco Bell, I scrubbed the walls with bleach and cleaned everything spotlessly for $7.75,” said another. “I wish they had paid more.”

“When it was snowing and business was slow, the manager fired everyone but me,” said a third. “My ‘reward’ for being the best employee at McDonald’s.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Haylee via an Instagram direct message.

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*First published: November 12, 2022, 9:56 a.m. CST

Braden Bell

Braden Bjella is a cultural writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazines, and more.

Braden Bell

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