Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Teen Wants To Drop-Out, Learn Lessons From The "School Of Life"

Dear Tazi:

I hate school.  It's boring and I think I could learn a lot more in the School of Life than I am in my local high school.  I will be 16 in January - old enough to drop-out.  My parents have told me if I do that, I can find a new place to live.  I don't think they would actually kick me out, but it is a risk I am willing to take.  What really has me angry is my father.  He owns his own company - a warehouse and shipping place - but he has told me that he doesn't hire people without a high school diploma, a GED, or a good reason for not having either - no exceptions, not even for me.  I don't think this is very fair.  First, my parents tell me I can find another place to live if I leave school, then they won't offer me a job to help me make it until I can find something on my own.  it's like they are forcing me to stay in school.

My Mom is crazy about you, Tazi.  She is always reading your column.  Do you think you can convince her to either ease up or get my father to give me a job?  Without a job, I have to stay in school.

Hates School

Dear Hates School:

At sixteen years old, it is not uncommon to hate school.  Many of your peers also think school is boring and that nothing they are learning has anything to do with them.  Many of these students drop-out; some do well for themselves because they have a strong work ethic and generally were holding down a job before leaving school, others discover that dropping out was a big mistake.  Right now, the choice is yours to make - which group do you want to join?

Your comment that you could learn more from the "School of Life" shows a woeful amount of ignorance as to what the School of Life is really like.  Currently, you cannot handle a six-hour workday which requires you to attend 180 days a year, with weekends off; one week vacations every six to eight weeks; and three months off during the summer.  The School of Life may require you to work weekends; days as long as 12-hours, little to no vacation time your first year on the job; no summers off; and low-pay for work harder than you are doing right now.

I suggest that, for a moment, you look at your situation from an employer's point of view.  If you cannot handle school because it is "boring", what is going to happen if you do not like some aspect of your job?  Will you leave it for another to handle?  Would you be open to learning new skills to advance within the company, or is learning something that does not apply to your immediate living situation just not your thing?  These are questions that may go unspoken, but that a Hiring Manager is asking him/herself.  

I like your father's attitude - many employers are not willing to give a chance to someone without a high school diploma or a GED, even though the potential employee may have had extenuating circumstances as to why they were unable to complete their high school education.  This is something you will quickly discover if you drop out of high school (most states do not allow you to sit for your GED tests until you are 18).

Since you seem so gung-ho about working, I suggest you ask your parents for a compromise: You will stay in school and ask if your father will hire you to work after-school and/or weekends.  This will give you the opportunity to finish your high school education while learning valuable lessons in the School of Life you seek to attend.  If the experience of others has taught me anything, it is that you will soon discover how important an education really is.

If by the start of the next school year you still want to drop out and work full-time, your parents should honor this decision.  They do not, however, have to support your decision - I suggest that you save every dime you make, develop a standout work ethic and plenty of professional references so you can find a full-time job on your own in order to become self-supporting.  If I were you, I would not doubt your parents threat to kick you out of the house - it sounds to me as though your education is more important to them than it is to you.  I am not certain of the laws in your state (or what your state is), but generally it is unlawful to kick an underage youth out of the house.  However, you cease to be a youth on your 18th birthday.  Just saying...


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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