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Youth Opinion : How Do You Fit a Job with Everything Else?

In a recent national survey of 2,051 teens by Teenage Research Unlimited, “having enough money” ranked second only to grades as teens’ biggest everyday worry. JACQUELINE MAJERS, an editor for the Los Angeles-based youth magazine Mouth2Mouth, talked to teens about juggling a job, studies, athletics, a social life and sleep. *

MARIO and EDWIN ESCARAY,twins, 16, North Hollywood

Employer: McDonald’s, Santa Monica Hourly rate: $4.25 Average Weekly Take-Home Pay: $100

It’s not hard work at McDonald’s--we just have to control our tempers around the customers. This is like a home away from home. Our friends are here and the managers don’t put too much pressure on us.

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Now that we know how hard it is to earn money, we don’t spend it as much. (Mario) Out of a $100 check, I give my mom half for food, bills, rent. I try to save some money for my lunch. (Edwin) I keep $25 from each paycheck for me to play around. I give my mom about $25 per week. We give most of the rest of our money to our cousin. She has a bank account and saves it for us. We’re trying to buy a car. So far we have $500.

Minimum wage is fair. When you start, how can you expect them to pay you $10 per hour?

We both have C averages, the same grades we got before we worked. We study on the bus or on break. When we get home it’s like 10 o’clock so we just go to sleep. If we didn’t have jobs, we’d be in trouble for sure.

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MIKE McMAHAN,18, Santa Ana

Employer: Digital Ear music store, Tustin

Hourly: $5.50 Take-Home Pay: $50

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I answer the phone, do my best to help people, look up stuff in the catalogues, etc. I also have to keep up the soundtrack inventory, see what’s selling, and order old stuff. Having music in the atmosphere makes working much more bearable, especially when business is slow. I play whatever I feel like listening to or current releases.

I get discounts on all the compact discs, can order anything that’s in print and get first shot at all the used CDs that come in. This place also deals with high-end stereo equipment. So my paycheck pretty much stays here. I want to get the whole CD player thing down, then start saving.

I totally take money for granted now. $100 seems like so much money. I’m not having as much time for homework and stuff, but I’m trying. School comes first, then social life, then job, mostly because I’m not working many hours.

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DION O’MALLY, 17, Los Angeles

Employer: Vons Cos., Inglewood

Hourly: $5.50 Take-Home: $120 *

I’m the person who bags the groceries. Then I have to take loads off trucks, do produce, stock selves, find prices, get carts and all that stuff. I get paid $5.50. It’s not fair, because of all the things I do. Then they take union dues out every month. But if you get in trouble with a manager, the union smoothes over things.

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This will be here until I go to college. I want to be a computer engineer. I play football so several colleges are interested, but I still have to pass the SAT.

When I get my check I cash it at the store. My mom has me save about $25. Then I put money aside to get my car fixed, about $50. The rest just barely gets me through the week. When I didn’t have a job, I liked $135 shoes; now that I’ve got to pay it’s whatever is cheap and looks nice. My job takes the pressure off my mom; I don’t ask her for money. And I’m occupied, not out on the street doing other things.

I would say work interferes with school. I fall asleep in school. I do homework, what I can, on the bus, at lunchtime, on breaks at work, whenever.

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AMANDA HOFMANN,17, Altadena

Employer: R.G. Barry Corp.

Hourly: $6.00 Take-Home: $125 *

I set up the Dearfoam Slipper displays in major department stores. I get a schedule in the mail every three months which tells me which stores I need to go to. I set my hours and send in a weekly time sheet. Everything is basically done on the honor system.

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I have a checking and savings account. I like to split my check evenly. If I need miscellaneous things, I use my checking account money. I use the savings for a rainy day or my college.

My job is so lenient it really doesn’t interfere with school. I think the $6 per hour I earn is more than what I should be getting. It’s not strenuous work.

THEA TURNBULL, 17, Redondo Beach

Employer: Baby Wright’s children’s store, Manhattan Beach

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Hourly: $5.00 Take-Home: $100 *

Before this job I had done lots of babysitting. Most families gave me $3 to $4 per hour. I worked mostly after school, not weekends as I wanted to keep those free to go out.

I had a job at a bakery for three months. I quit because I didn’t like the manager and it conflicted with my softball travel team.

By the end of the summer I needed a job more than I needed softball. (though I’m still playing for the school team.) It was time to start saving for a car and school.

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