Underage and Over-scheduled: The Great Resignation’s Effect on Teens


Meadow Riggins

From left to right: Natalie Amstutz, Meadow Riggins, Kaitlyn Clark pose at Your Pie, their workplace.

Katie Notch, Staff Writer

The bell rings, and people sprint out the door, eager to indulge in whatever shenanigans they have planned. Many others go home and suit up for their work shift.  

In the early stages of the pandemic, after millions of people were laid off, budget and wage cuts ensued and companies temporarily stopped hiring for positions lost. Economists predicted workers would struggle to get their former positions back, according to The Harvard Gazette. 

Yet in August 2021, when more job positions were offered, a significant portion of the unemployed people rejected them. Others decided to quit their current jobs. This nationwide exodus became known as the Great Resignation.  

When older workers left, predominantly due to underpayment, many adolescent employees were forced to overextend themselves to keep business up and running. 

Take former Zaxby’s employee and sophomore Samantha Reiman.  

Reiman worked at the fast-food restaurant for about three months before quitting. She said she would work “front of house” (register, drive-thru, etc.) on Saturdays and Sundays, ten hours each day with one 15-minute break.  

“My hours changed constantly,” said Reiman. “My work hours increased after two weeks of working there.”  

Only she and one other employee, also a teen, juggled the demands of the job. Although oftentimes, she would be the only one working front of house, excluding the cooks.  

“It was insane, especially when I was working alone,” Reiman said.

The short-staffed environment led managers to schedule adolescents for additional and longer shifts. Social life, studying and free time were limited for these students.  

“It absolutely affected my school performance. I had no time to catch up on any work with all the hours I was working,” Reiman said. “When you focus on how well your job performance is, but you’re also missing a study session for your next math assessment, it gets unenjoyable really fast.” 

The Georgia Department of Labor said by state and federal law, “minors under the age of 16 are prohibited to work for more than three hours on school days, eight hours on non-school days, 18 hours on a school week and 40 hours on a non-school week.” 

Natalie Amstutz, sophomore and current employee for Your Pie since August 2021, said she dances 15 to 20 hours a week on top of four six-hour work shifts, which “drastically affects her performance in school.”  

“My homework is neglected pretty often or left to the last minute because I’m exhausted and don’t have time,” said Amstutz.  

Having too many shifts not only negatively impacted her life outside work, but it also ruined her experience in the work environment, said senior Hannah Bowen. She worked at Chick-fil-A for about six months prior to quitting in August 2021. 

“I did everything from serving, to drive-thru and cashier,” said Bowen, “basically everything front of house.”  

Bowen said that during the school year, she would “usually work 20 hours per week, and four shifts weekly.” During the summer months she would work maybe five to 10 hours more.

Bowen also said breaks were only given when one would work “six hours or more, then you are allowed a 21-minute break.”  

“They would under schedule us during [the] night and over-schedule during lunch,” she said. 

Economics teacher Jeremy Fulk said this issue will have long-term effects on the country. 

“I think one of the main things that drives the poverty rate and the dropout rate in America up is people, and specifically the youth of the nation, who are forced to decide between school and work,” he said.