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For Teens: Get A Job And Keep It!

Updated on August 3, 2014

How To Do It

Getting a job may not be so easy these days, but keeping it may be even harder. Everyone offers advice on how to make a good impression at an interview, what to say and what to wear. Suddenly, the job is yours and you discover the real challenge is in keeping it.

Meet the challenge by developing a good work ethic and gaining insight into your employer’s expectations. These are the two most important keys to keeping your job. Here’s how:

Developing Good Work Ethic

Willingness is a key ingredient in building good work ethic. It shows you are versatile and that you can be counted on. If an employee is not willing, he/she will not be considered an asset by an employer. Example:

A summer ball league hired students to umpire games. Tee ball and Pony League had games on the same field on the same evening. The bases had to be moved between games. When the umpire was asked to help move bases, his response was “I wasn’t hired to move bases. I was hired to umpire.” He stood watching while a scorekeeper moved the bases. Result: His attitude counted against him during consideration for re-employment the following summer.

Consideration is a quality possessed by those with good work ethic. It shows dependability and ability to work well with others. Examples of considerate behavior:

a. Arriving on time exhibits responsibility, as well as consideration.

b. If you cannot make it to work or will be late arriving, give as much notice as possible. Short notice leaves the employer scrambling for an alternate.

c. Assist a co-worker if the need arises and your work is caught up.

Responsible behavior is exhibited by those with good work ethic. It helps build trust and it shows dependability. Examples of responsible behavior:

a. Even though they take offense, you do not let your friends visit you at your babysitting job. It tends to draw your attention away from watching the children.

b. Do not chat on the telephone with a friend while you ring up purchases for a customer.

Honesty is a quality that is desirable in an employee. Being honest will gain your employer’s respect, as well as his trust. Examples of being honest:

a. Paying for your snacks as a convenience store employee, even though you observe other employees not paying for theirs, shows honesty.

b. Never borrow money from the cash register, not even if you plan to pay it back.

c. Do not show up 10 minutes late and leave thirty minutes early and still claim full time.

Even with impeccable work ethic, problems may occasionally arise on the job. Pinpoint the cause by learning what your employer expects. Many times this can be done by observation. If you are unsure of company policy, ask a co-worker or ask the employer. Following are some common problems that may arise and solutions to consider.

If you dressed conservatively for your job interview, chances are that is the way your employer will be expecting you to dress on the job. Do not surprise him with a bare belly or nose ring without first asking if there is a dress code.

Satisfied customers are what make a business successful. However, every business has an occasional unpleasant customer. If a customer becomes angry or obnoxious, rather than argue, ask your supervisor or the manager to assist you in handling a sticky situation.

Go into your job experience planning to become a part of the team. Job duties often overlap unexpectedly. Teamwork is a major issue with most companies and the ability to work as part of the team will reflect favorably on you.

Use each job experience as a stepping stone to success. Consider it a teaching tool while you hone your skills and develop a reputation for having a good work ethic. It may be what gives you the edge and sets you a bit above the rest of the pack when applying for future jobs. Accept the challenge. Meet it head on and build toward your next window of opportunity.


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