Prior observers have consistently found a negative relationship between school performance and the intensity of high school students' employment. However, few observers have thought carefully enough about exactly why student employment and schooling outcomes are related. Most have used a zero-sum model of students' resource allocation to explain this relationship. The author identifies conceptual problems with the zero-sum model and proposes a social psychological primary orientation model to explain this association. He then uses new data collected in a pilot study on adolescent employment that allows him to weigh the merits of these competing models. In an exploratory analysis, the author finds that these data are more consistent with the primary orientation model than with the zero-sum perspective.