Overworked and understaffed: South students in the workforce

Boone Law, Staff Writer

“Now hiring: inquire with management” reads signs at businesses all over Bloomington. America’s entry-level jobs, where most teenagers find employment, are severely understaffed. Students at South have had to pick up their workload to compensate.

Sophomore Elly Axsom’s job at Dairy Queen has changed dramatically since the business became understaffed. 

About half of the students at Dairy Queen are high school students who have to balance schoolwork and their job. Employees have duties to “work the drive-thru window, make ice cream, and keep the place clean and stocked,” said Axsom.

Axsom works about 20 hours a week, and since she doesn’t have much help, she’s had to work even harder when she is there. 

“It used to be that three people were working at all times, but now it’s usually two, sometimes even one person working at a time running the whole place.”
“The problem isn’t that we are understaffed, the employees are just not working enough,” said Axsom. There’s a core group of about six employees who work way more than the other employees.

“I think people don’t want to work as much; the pandemic has drained everyone’s energy and killed their work ethic,” Axsom said.

Senior Joy Seo works at Bell Trace retirement home as a waitress in the dining area, where they are also very understaffed. She enjoys serving guests, but recently she has had to take on a lot more responsibilities.

“It’s definitely much harder; we have to get everything done much faster,” Seo said. She also notes how she has had to serve more tables. “It used to be I would be serving four or five tables, now it can get up to ten, which is a lot for me to keep track of.”

The increased workload seems to be a result of a couple causes. “A lot of times we need more people to sign up for shifts, but nobody seems to be available to work,” Seo said. Seo also said COVID is a factor: “nobody wants to work in a nursing home during COVID.” 

Many of the workers at Bell Trace are also either high schoolers or college students in their early twenties 

“A lot of people also have to focus on their studies,” Seo said.

Despite the extra workload, Seo “still loves [her] job” and that’s all that really matters.