Teens continue searching, working jobs during pandemic Students balance virtual school, extracurricular activities, jobs

After many businesses and employers closed last year, it has been hard for the unemployed to find available jobs. However, with COVID-19 restrictions lightning, many places have been able to provide students with jobs. “Due to the pandemic, a lot of people are looking for/need jobs, but they are not available,” recruiting counselor Kailee Dudiot said. “There is not really a way that you can prepare for things like this because we did not expect a pandemic to happen. All we can do is adapt and keep moving forward.” Photo Credit: Hannah Paine
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Over the last twelve months, many normal, everyday aspects of life have changed, including working and being able to find jobs. When schools and the rest of Las Vegas shut down at the beginning of the mandatory quarantine, many students weren’t worried about the consequences. However, as months progressed, a large majority of students were also laid off or were unable to apply for positions due to the decreased need. Sophomore Isabel Gomez went through the struggle of finding work, but was finally able to land a job due to her qualifications. 

“Honestly, I just wanted to have a job so I could start saving up for college,” Gomez said “That was always the plan that when I hit sophomore year, I’ll get a job and save up. I wasn’t going to let the pandemic stop me. I applied for the job and was qualified to get an interview. The interview was done on Zoom and about three days later they told me I got the job.”

Along with Gomez, senior Michayla Sumabat has been working through the pandemic at Cafe 86, and has found it easier than her initial expectations. 

“I actually haven’t faced too many struggles during my pandemic as much as other people do. The only problem I really have while working during the pandemic is having to deal with customers who refuse to wear masks,” Sumabat said. “Our store also has strict policies like no cash and no dine-in which some customers can throw a fit about. Most of the time they’ll either comply with our rules or end up leaving. It is a very stressful process, but it helps keep everyone safe.”

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Although having a job can be tough for students, the virtual school schedule has made it easier for many to balance work and school.

“I usually don’t have a whole day to myself. Nowadays, I’m doing something beneficial, whether it’s school, work, or just hobbies,” junior Kyle Peng said. “I have a lot more time for those things because of my online school schedule. The pandemic has allowed me to do more for myself, while also working on other, more important things. ”

Even though most students have been able to manage, others have been struggling to find the right balance. 

“One of the struggles that students have run into with jobs this year is finding a balance. A lot of people are stressed due to many different factors and some students are having a difficult time balancing school and work,” recruiting counselor Kailee Dudiot said. “We have seen some students slacking with their school work because they are busy at their job or are putting their job before school work because they need the money to help their family. This pandemic has caused students a lot of stress/everyone a lot of stress because of what it has changed.”

Students may have been able to figure out how to become successful in the work field, but many adults in the tourist industry have run into issues. One of those people being first-year Fashion teacher Levi Harbeson who was laid off and forced to apply for unemployment. 

Cirque had announced they were temporarily closing shows the day before, so the feel in town was just off,” Harbeson said. “At ‘MINDFREAK,’ Criss Angel held a meeting with the full company and told us he would run the show as long as possible because he believed it was just a flu and on Saturday, we had another meeting where they announced that the show was taking a two-week break to keep audiences safe. The next morning we got an email from the company saying we were all permanently laid off, so we could claim unemployment. It all happened so fast and was emotionally devastating.”

The idea of him becoming the fashion teacher was first mentioned in January, but once the pandemic hit, he was no longer sure if the job would still be offered to him. This uncertainty caused more fear once the Cirque stage went dark.

“I was very happy at ‘MINDFREAK,’ but also was ready to try something new since I love taking on new challenges,” Harbeson said. “Working at SWCTA was potentially an option for me since I was qualified and already working as a substitute, but when the pandemic started, that threw Ms. Carlson’s plan of leaving the country to intern in Europe into question so I was no longer sure. I did not know the job was officially offered to me until the end of July.”

Now, as restrictions are being decreased, businesses are reopening with more available jobs, schools are going hybrid, and more opportunities are becoming available for students to take advantage of.

“Don’t give up, so many students have just thrown in the towel and that is unacceptable. You have to keep working. Even when you’re struggling with depression, even when you’re feeling unmotivated, uncreative, or just tired. Get up, eat, exercise, and write down something you are thankful for,” Harbeson said. “The world hasn’t stopped moving because of the pandemic, and those that give up won’t be able to find the jobs and opportunities they will need to take to flourish. Everyone has the ability to succeed – but that motivation has to come from inside you.”