COMBINING SCHOOL AND WORK: EFFECTS OF WORK PATTERNS ON ACADEMIC AND CAREER OUTCOMES
Skorikov, V.B. and Hamamoto, D.N., University of Hawaii - Hilo, USA
The results of extensive research in the effects of working on high school and college students have been extremely inconsistent. A possible explanation is that the nature of work experience rather than working as such is an important factor of a student-worker behavior and outcomes, because only some patterns of work provide youth with an opportunity to explore themselves and their occupational options. Intermittent work patterns characterized by frequently changing jobs kept over shorter periods of time can be particularly helpful as a means of self- and occupational exploration and developing an understanding of the instrumentality of education. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that combining intermittent work with schooling benefits students academically and career-wise as compared to assuming persistent work responsibilities or not working at all. The study was conducted on a highly diverse sample of 288 traditional college students (18-25 years old) through an anonymous survey. The survey comprised questions about students' educational and work history as well as psychometrically sound measures of school attitudes, career indecision, life-satisfaction and self- esteem. Overall, the results confirm our hypothesis. We found that-as compared to continuous work pattern or not working-intermittent work was associated with higher GPA, lower career indecision, better attitude toward schooling and understanding of its instrumentality, and higher self-esteem. College and high school work experiences appear to have compensatory rather than additive effects on academic and career advancement. Educational implications are discussed.