Do I Regret Or Recommend Starting Work Young? Pros & Cons Of Work vs. Studying

Why hello there, my favourite internet addicts – welcome back to the abyss that is my virtual home. How are you doing this fine day?

I was both shocked and confused by how much you guys enjoyed my Top 10 Things My First Jobs Taught Me post. That being said, I have been working for the past few years (and unfortunately, as my rich husband seems to be taking his time to sweep me off my feet, in all likelihood I will be working for the next few decades too) – so I have a lot of thoughts to share with you guys, if that’s what you’re interested in.

Today’s post is somewhat of a similar vein. As you guys already know, I’ve been working in Digital Marketing since I was 17 (in an apprenticeship, then a full time job, then my part-time role now) – which is considered quite young to start working full time in the UK. In this post, I’m going to be talking about whether I recommend starting in on the career ladder earlier . . . or whether I regret trading my youth in and missing all the parties.

Let’s get on with the show.

PRO: The amount of opportunities in my personal life

First and foremost, I can wholeheartedly say that absolutely none of the amazing things that have happened to me would have been possible without me working. That’s an absolute fact.

And while, yes, this is largely due to the money – a lot of the reason links into my next point . . .

PRO: Personal growth, maturity and responsibility. Oh, and the confidence.

In my post about the life lessons work has taught me, I touched on how working helped me to take responsibility of my own life and grow the fuck up. I cannot reiterate how important this has been for me; working made me grow up into a person I like and am proud of.

It forced me to reassess my life and priorities and it also just helped to me to realise that I am capable, I am hard-working and I can make shit happen. Even if I’d have had all the money to have all the experiences I have now while I was in college, I’ll be honest here: I don’t think I would have done any of it. I’d have been held back by my friends, or by laziness, or just by the person I was (ie: a child.).

Also, and this one is actually a really lovely benefit, I feel like I get along a lot better and am regarded a lot more highly by my family and parents because they can see “wow, our Mia ISN’T just a lazy waster, we’re so glad”.

PRO: The amount of professional opportunities

I’ve been incredibly lucky in my professional life and I would genuinely attribute this to my early getting in and the extra experience.

PRO: Money.

Okay, please, this should have been the top of the damn list. Not only is having money a-m-a-z-i-n-g, the industry I am in doesn’t really need a degree (Digital Marketing) and the pay increases as your experience level does.

PRO: Quality of life massively improved

I know this is a large concern for people – especially those coming from student life to the working world – but working, for me, meant my quality of life improved exponentially. If I wanted to go to a concert, or the theatre, or even on holiday, I could!

(The reason this on the “starting work early” pros is because, as a young person living at home, I’m fortunate enough to not need to pay bills or rent and so my income is purely mine to spend. Of course, when you’re older and living on your own your wages will be going on . . . well, on surviving. Ugh.)

PRO: Sense of purpose and meaning

A massive benefit of working is that, for me at least, I felt like I had so much more purpose. A large thing I struggled with at school was that, while I was pretty academic, it was all bloody pointless. I think education is fabulous, I really do, but what I was studying ended up being pretty far-removed from anything particularly useful and I just ended up feeling like it was a massive waste of time.

PRO: The world massively opens up

This leads on nicely from my previous point: the world is suddenly your oyster. When you’re in school, as much as you may deny it, you still feel like a kid. (I’ve been working for years and I still feel like a damn kid – just one who knows how to pretend to be an adult.) Suggesting things to do can feel a bit like “oh I can’t do that; oh we’re too young for that; oh my parents won’t allow that” – well, when you work, it’s like you’re a Pokemon that evolves to “just adulty enough to do those things you wanted to do, but were a wee bit afraid of”.

PRO: Development of professional and personal skillset

My last significant benefit is how much working adds to your skillset. A prime example of this? Last year, I sold my old website for £8k and, in the space of year, I’ve built a new website that’s actually more successful than my first one! (Thanks for that, by the way, babies.) Both of these things are due to skills I learnt about content marketing that I developed from my first job.

However, while there are a lot of benefits to getting onto the career ladder early . . . don’t get it twisted, there are just as many drawbacks.

CON: Not being able to “relate” to my friends

The first and foremost con of working young is all of a sudden there is a big, fat wall between you and your friends. You can’t see them because you’re always at work (and tired afterwards), you can’t really relate to their problems (because petty school drama becomes pretty meaningless once you start working) and they can’t relate to you anymore. As you can imagine, this can cause some pretty big rifts in your friendship – and can make you feel pretty isolated.

CON: Missing out on a LOT of “youth-related” activities

Leading on from the first point . . . you end up missing out on a LOT. If you’re got the FOMO, you’re fucked. (Soz.) Parties? Can’t, you’ve got work tomorrow. Trip to the beach? Can’t, you’re at work. Fancy coming to this random apartment party tonight? Rinse and repeat your first answers.

One of the biggest benefits of being young is all the parties and the freedom. Going to work really cuts the two of those off at the knees.

CON: Work can be kind of boring

Sad but true. School can be boring, but you’re with people your own age, there are summer holidays and you’re only in a classroom for a few hours before moving onto something else. At work, you’re normally with people twice your age, the days can be super repetitive, you’re stuck in the same place AND you’re doing longer hours. None of which is any fun.

CON: Hard to meet new people

A big con is that, unless you’re working for a company with a young workforce, working all the time makes it so damn hard to meet new people. This is something I didn’t consider, thinking “oh, I have my college and school friends!” – not considering that half of those people would fuck off to uni (the bastards. Hope you’re all doing great, though.).

CON: No breaks!

One of the biggest adjustment periods, for me, was the jumping straight into having no days off! No summer holidays – not even a quick one-week term-time break. The bloody horror!

Overall . . .

All in all, I can wholeheartedly say that starting my career early was the best choice for me. I genuinely don’t think any other route would have taken me to where I am today and I can quite honestly say I don’t want to be anywhere else. At one point, I was really looking into uni (ie earlier this year when I took a whole month off work to build a portfolio) . . . but ultimately I realised it was somewhat pointless for me right now.

Okay, kids, I think here is a good place to end this post! (You know . . . at the end.) I hope you took something useful from this! When did you start working; what has your experience been? Let me know your thoughts down below!


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69 thoughts on “Do I Regret Or Recommend Starting Work Young? Pros & Cons Of Work vs. Studying”

  1. Honestly, loved this. You’re so driven and hard-working and girl, my favourite saying: I’m gonna become the rich man I wanted to marry hahaha xx

  2. This post was so helpful. I honestly am a bit stuck at the moment; I’m doing my A Levels in September, although I’m not 100% sure I want to (but I’m going to anyway because I feel like I should), but I definitely want to get a job on the side, and I’m not sure uni is for me – I would much rather just go into work. Honestly, the whole actually having money really appeals to me rn😂

    1. Thanks girl, I’m glad it could help! And fair enough, they’re useful to have in the future so it’s worth getting them 🙂 and honestly, it sounds stupid but having money massively changes your life for the better

        1. girllll, don’t worry you’ll be doing it all soon! also your blog is looking AMAZING! I’m at work so could only take a cheeky quick read of your last post, but when I get home I’m having a catch up read!

        2. Wooow I agree with every single one of these, I started full time work at 17 too and for me it was the only path I ever considered because like you, I was super academic at school but didn’t know what to do with it and just thought…what’s it all for? With cons, I definitely agree about no breaks (so annoying to watch my friends and brother get 6-8 weeks off every Summer and a month of every other term). It’s also difficult to meet new people (everyone I work with is like, old and married with kids) as oppose to university where I’d meet hundreds of people my age, also agree that you miss out on a lot of youth related stuff and can’t relate to friends, I ended up losing a few because of it actually, it felt like I’d grown up and they just…hadn’t. They were still involved with petty school drama which to me, is just ridiculous. Great post as always girly xx

          1. Thank you so much girly! And oh my god YES, that was literally me it just felt so… pointless. Like (for me at least) going to uni was more a vanity thing to show “yes I’m smart enough to go to university”. The breaks are a total bitch, I have to admit. That was the good thing about apprenticeships I got small KIND OF breaks where we’d have to do classes from home for a week or go into the centre once every few months. PREACH on that, I miss being surrounded by potential friends tbh and yes yes yes, especially when my friends used to complain about how hard their lives were ….. but they’d be calling me from their beds because they were bunking school, or on a week holiday. Thanks for reading lovely xx

        3. A lot of people. like myself, will work for a half century. It will be min wage, and it will more then likely be a job you dislike. BUT that being said I have fb friends who I would say are in a great industry BUT they post shit about their jobs all the time. I at least like my job a lot, even if its only $19/hr. The company I work for has four plants in four different provinces and the one thing they mentioned at our last skpe meeting is attendance. So even though I have not called in sick in the last 3yrs, we have employees that not only dislike their job, but money is not enough of an incentive to actually show up (we have peps that will reg call in sick three days of a 5 day work period lol)

          I think working young is great and I deal with a lot of15,16, 17 yr old students (here in SK CANADA 15 is legal to start a job) And every time I tell them that if they dont get an education they’ll be stuck in a job like mine!! I’ve had the pleasure of working with some fine young people in the 14yrs I’ve been with this compnay

        4. Ow I loved this post! It’s very interesting to know your point of view about this! 🙂 Since I’m still studying five years after high-school, I have no idea what it’s like to have a real job and to work! 🙂 Thank you for sharing that!

          1. A great post, I like the ones that provide insight to others when they make their choices. Do you consider or think about going to college at this stage? It is a great enticing experience to use what you have developed so far to formulate it into theoretical form, this will help providing future options. As a submissive male, I have slaved for girls that worked immediately after school and University students, the ones that worked immediately were more confident in dealing with me knew exactly what they want.

          2. Ok. I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a job and this post was definitely a sign! Great composition, I loved reading this post so much, it helped me understand so much more, thank you!

            1. I started work early – I guess – I mean, I dropped out of college and took a computer job back when computer jobs were few and far between (because computers were still new). Getting in on the ground floor made a HUGE difference in my career because I was always learning new things and I worked my way up to really high management. Then, I jumped off and just started programming again (my absolute favorite work!) What I was surprised to find, is that I went to a company where a lot of people started really, really young and they are already retiring. Retiring like in their 50’s – with a pension, since they already have like 30 years of work. We were always taught that college was really important – but nowadays, you can get certified in something for WAY less and get a high paying job and not have $100,000 in student loan debts. Hopefully the current generation will follow your lead.

            2. LOVE this! Also you are the British version Kate and I am the American Mia ;p in the states everyone goes directly to college and I did not (I am taking classes now…But it has been a LONGGG process) I started working because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do (i.e. everyone was talking me OUT of my passions) and didn’t want to waste time nor money at a four year school if I was eventually going to switch careers (which I have done multiple times) I don’t regret it. And girl I relate to ALL of your pros and cons. They are right on! Thanks for posting this! <3

              1. Why thank you, my lovely! And honestly I think you are most definitely right – you are American Mia and I am British Kate (and as I love you and your life, I take this as the highest compliment!). Oh god, I hate that! Fortunately, my family are really supportive of everything and very creative people so I’ve always felt very supported! Thank you for reading girly! (And for the lovely comment!) <3

            3. I left school at 16 also & I really believe this is the reason I am not friends with my school friends anymore. Like you said it puts up this huge barrier and I just wasn’t involved in their day to day life anymore, out of sight out of mind. I went back to school at 18 to do my A Levels and then go to Uni because I wanted to give education another go (I got 1 GCSE) and better myself but I’m glad I did it when I was older. Xx

              1. Yes, yes, yes! I massively feel that, I ended up kind of fading away from a lot of my school friends. Good for you, girl – you took the time to decide if it was what you really wanted and went for it! xx

              2. This is a great post! I started working at 17 whilst I was at college and I think it taught me just as much as school did at the time. I think going travelling straight out of college gave me some of the same feelings as you’ve described here too – I had to grow up fast, I was resonsible for earning enough to pay for myself and suddenly I couldn’t relate to my old friends. You’ve done amazingly in your working life already! xx

              3. I think it’s a great thing to start working young. I did and I don’t regret it at all- even seeing all my friends go through college partying, I’m still glad I wasn’t part of that scene cause I don’t have years of student loan debt ahead of me. Instead, I’m saving up for a house with the man of my dreams and we’re gonna be able to afford something lovely because we both have awesome jobs (:

                1. Definitely agree with that – the debt kind of cancels out the benefits for me, I can still party (just not on week nights LOL) without having to get 50k in debt. And ooooh that’s lovely! x

              4. Coyote from Orion

                Glad I moved with the flow when the river took me away early.
                You can do even more reading in your own time on your own terms… in any state of mind too.

                1. I love this post so much because what really seeps through is your continuous work ethic and love for what you do. I feel like nowadays, uni can be almost expected of young adults but a lot of people don’t seem to realize that there are so many other options out there – everyone just has to find one that suits them and that they enjoy. I feel like you really found your own path and I am so proud of you for that! You took life into your own hands – that’s a big step at 16/17! xxx

                  1. Thank you so so much, Fiona <3 And absolutely, it can massively feel like something you just "should" do and, while I absolutely love education and think it can be brilliant, I don't think it HAS to be for everyone xxx

                2. I love this post, I finished school and went straight into work and it was one of the best decisions I ever made, it helps yu grow so much as a person, thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂 xxx

                3. I really admire you for working that young and I am happy that you think it was a good decision for you, the worst thing is regret honestly!! I still haven’t worked in a full-time job [only part-time and on a few projects cause I majored in filmmaking] so I still don’t know how I feel towards it but I can’t wait really. I really want to work for a beauty company :p that’s like my goal that I really hope to achieve!!

                  1. Absolutely! I think all paths can be great as long as they work for you and you don’t regret your choices 🙂 Good luck with that girl, I’m sure any beauty company would be happy to have you – especially with your blog xxx

                4. Love this post and I’m sure it’s really helpful to young people out there. I totally agree with you although I didn’t actually started working at young age, but I started living away from my parents when I was 17. And I can relate to most of the pros. If I can turn back time, I wish I did the same as you instead of wasting my time in college only to found out I didn’t even got a job that’s related to any of my major subjects lol

                  1. Thank you girly and that’s exactly what I wanted! Just a little post that people deciding between work and staying in school could look at 🙂 And ahhh I’m sure you had fun and got something out of going to college though! x

                5. I really recommend starting work young as well. Unfortunately I got my first real job (one where my mom isn’t my easy going boss) at the age of 20 and although it was easy, it would have been better to start young and save up more money for my future bills.

                  That’s one thing I kinda do regret is going to school for so long even if it was doing nothing for me, I really think working would have taught me more like you say. And now that I had to move back and live with my mom, it’s def true that working sooner would have prepared me so that I wouldn’t need to move back home.
                  Also, 16 is such a young age to start work so it’s really impressive. Glad you have good things to say about it and could share with us!

                  1. Fair enough girly! I think there are definitely a lot of benefits to working young (like the saving you mentioned although I haven’t been saving at all…. naughty Mia x_x ) but I’m sure you had a good time at school! xx

                6. I LMAO at “my rich husband seems to be taking his time to sweep me off my feet…” This was an awesome post by the way, very in-depth and gives me a lot of perspective. For most people I know, they all just want to stay ‘kids’, going to school for as long as they can and having no ‘responsibilities’. I think it really depends on the individual? And the pros that you see as pros are sometimes cons for others which is why I have so much respect for that. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS. YOU’RE SO COOL.

                  1. Hehe, gotta start off with a laugh if we’re talking about *shudders* work 😉 Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it! And YESS – I don’t blame people for that (sometimes I’m tempted to go back to it while I still can lool) but I just think it makes the inevitable crash to reality harder ;-; THANKS FOR READING GIRL!

                  2. This was my dream-to drop out of school at 16 after 10th grade and get to working on my dream business.But I was too scared of the risk.After reading this, I regret not making the decision.You’re SO inspiring, it’s unrealLove this!

                  3. I’m glad that you don’t regret dropping out of school and that it was the best choice for you. You’re so hard working and I’m sure you’ll excel in whatever you do in the future xx

                    1. I was the only one of my friends who didn’t go on to uni, and even though I knew it wasn’t for me, I kept going back and forth over it. I found I became more much mature as well. And I did struggle to relate to them. Some were constantly wanting to party and trying to find money for alcohol, while I was staying in more and spending my money on clothes and savings.
                      I’m glad with my decision now and I’m happy you have found what you want to be doing, and you’ve worked hard to get there. Wonderful post girl! xxx

                      1. It sounds we had a similar experience… you do kind of end up splitting into completely different worlds! I’m glad you’re happy with your decision; at the end of the day, that’s all that matters 🙂 Thank you lovely!xxxx

                    2. I had my first part-time job at 16 and have worked part-time on and off since then, alongside college and University. I loved being able to save up for University so I could rely less on my parents for money and also it meant I had money for when I wanted to buy CDS and DVDs (oh the old days) without having to wait for my birthday or Christmas. I however have never worked full-time so cannot offer an opinion on that, but I imagine it to be better than ‘working’ 6-7 days a week as I do currently with University and my part-time job. xx

                    3. I just graduated some months ago and have to look for a job. This post was really useful ❤️ I felt so many times during my studies that it was pointless. I would love to do meaningful work. Also money is great because it gives you so much freedom. I can understand you that it may be more difficult to make new friends and meet new people at work. At college it’s so easy. Also the long breaks lile Summer holidays are so great. I definitely gonna miss them. I truly believe that education is great but at work in the real life you learn and practice so much more. I’m proud of how far you have become ❤️

                    4. Pingback: It’s Okay to Change Your Mind About University – Alys Journals

                    5. I wish this was me, but I didn’t really have that option. I feel like it would have been better because I want to do the exact same thing you’re doing, and it’s even better because you’ve had such a massive head start

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