by Torski Dobson-Arnold
My name is Denise and my parents want me to get a job for the summer because they said a job builds a good work ethic. How does a teen benefit by obtaining a summer job? What basic skills can you only learn from working?
Denise, you ask some really good questions. “Work ethic” could be defined as a system of values based on persistence and hard work and the belief that work enhances character. In my opinion, work ethic starts at home with what a teen sees in the work ethic of her parents. As parents and guardians, work ethic is learned not necessarily by what we say is best, but by what we teach our children. The fact that your parents want you to get a job is a sign that they understand the value to you of working.
For my own teen and young adult in my home, school is their job until they get paying ones. What this means is unless they are sick or have a doctor appointment, they are expected to get up and get to school on time everyday. I think this responsibility is a basic skill that teens can also learn from working if they have not already been taught this at home.
Another instrumental skill that you can learn from working is effective communication skills. As a human resources professional, I cannot tell you how many times I have seen teens jeopardize their jobs because of lack of communication. If you are going to be late for work or cannot come in to work your shift, it is your responsibility to call in and explain this. This is not your parents or your best friend’s role to do this for you.
Finally, a final benefit of working a job is that it teaches teamwork in a professional environment. My daughter currently works for McDonald’s as a cashier. It may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but she takes pride in her work and treats each customer that she serves like they are the most special person of her day. As parents, we have taught her that there is not such thing as a small job, only some small people that work in jobs. As a teen, if another member of your team is struggling, it’s your job to step up and help her out. You would not want to have the attitude to make the statement that “This is not what I was hired to do” or “That’s not my job.”
Employers want workers who understand that some days they are going to have to pitch in to ensure that each customer has a pleasant experience. As a teen, if you are unable or unwilling to learn and adopt these basic work principles, it is going to be very challenging to maintain a good working reputation and more importantly, a job.
I hope this helps with your job search and your pursuit to obtain work this summer. Wishing you nothing but success in your career endeavors,
Torski Dobson-Arnold, The Career Confidence Coach
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