When I first started to apply for jobs, this wasn't something that really entered my mind. I just wanted some money and I knew a job was a good way to get me some of that. So when I eventually got a job and started working, I began asking myself this very question. Had I taken on too much? Was working going to affect my a levels? I was panicked to say the least.
When I started doing some research on this, my findings were interesting. I asked teachers and read sites for teachers who were all saying that students having jobs is bad because it impacts their grades, and that it can't be done. Many said a small part time job of up to 10 hours can be done but more than that and you see an impact.
I then looked at student forums and blogs, who were mainly saying the opposite. There were students who had come out of a levels with A*A*A and who were working 25 hours a week. It was nuts to see how different the views were.
I know that having a job as a Christmas temp certainly does not make me an expert but I have learnt a thing or two about this, and I'm going to share my opinions with you:
1) See how much time you need for studying
If you are going to do 10 hours a week of 'outside of lesson' studying, then you may have time for a job depending on other commitments. don't let your job change your study pattern for the worse.
2) Break it down
I sleep for 63 hours a week, I was working 20 hours a week (19.5 but I'm rounding for the maths), was in school or travelling to or from school for 40 hours a week. That's 123 hours used out of 168. That leaves 45 hours for eating, studying and resting; which doesn't really sound so bad. (I've recently bought a planner for this which I will review soon).
3) Talk to your boss
If you have a job and they are giving you too many hours; tell them! If you didn't agree to work 30 hours a week at the start, then they can't be too surprised if you ask them to lower the hour count.
4) Put your studies first
School is more important. I know that money is nice to have and a lot of students at a level work because they need a little extra cash, but it's not worth it if it is going to impact how much you earn in the future. Aim for the grades you need to get you where you want to go next.
So those are just a few little things I have learned. Let me know of your own tips or concerns in the comments.