As a teenager, obtaining your first job is both exciting and scary! The idea of financial independence is something we all aspire to when we’re young and it sounds thrilling to know that each week you will be able to open your very own paycheck and be on your way to a more independent life.
Starting off on the right foot is paramount. You obviously made a great impression, since they offered you the job. So, let’s talk now about some important things you can do as you begin your new adventure, to ensure that you continue to learn, grow with the company and prove to your new supervisor that they made the right decision in hiring you!
Attendance policies: Just as we discussed in our earlier article about interviewing, timeliness is not only important during the interview phase, it is also important to be on time for work-all the time! Every company you work for will have some form of attendance policy, whether it is “formal” or not. Be sure to read through it during your orientation and make sure you understand the consequences of an employee who is late or absent! Most companies allow for a certain number of tardies and absences each year and once you reach that magic number, you could risk termination. So, it’s a very serious policy to understand. Plus, arriving to work on time not only shows that you are a conscientious individual, but it also shows that you have respect for the people around you.
Presentation: Also during your orientation, your new company will undoubtedly discuss proper attire with you. Be sure to follow those guidelines as they are conveyed to you. Every company has some type of dress code in place in order to help support their brand and provide a cohesiveness and familiarity for their customers.
Understand the job expectations: When meeting with your supervisor, be sure to obtain a copy of your job description. If the company does not provide a written job description, then ask your supervisor to tell you exactly what is expected of you on a daily basis. It’s very important that you know what performance factors you will be evaluated on. As you move forward in the first few weeks of your training, be sure to take notes, as needed, to ensure that you have as much information as possible, to learn and perform your job to the best of your ability.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! One of the biggest mistakes we make when we are young and first starting out in the job market, is to be shy and uncomfortable about asking questions. Your supervisor expects you to ask questions. Since your new, they know that you won’t know how to do the job yet, so ask away! If you don’t ask questions, you will end up “guessing” or “assuming” and then, you’ll end up making mistakes or doing things incorrectly. If you feel more comfortable, ask questions of your peers, rather than your supervisor, but whatever you do, be sure to speak up!
Be a team player: During your first few weeks, you’ll be assessing your new environment, and your co-workers. They will be doing the same of you! As the “new kid” it’s important for you to show that you are a team player. You can do this by offering to assist others, stepping up to the plate when it’s busy, thanking people when they assist you, etc… Basically, utilizing all those old-fashioned rules that you mom has told you about your whole life; treat others like you want to be treated! Not only will it help others to open up to you and learn more about you, but you boss will notice too-and that’s not a bad thing!
Lastly, in the event that you might eventually make the decision to leave your new job, for another job (stuff happens!), be sure to always give an appropriate notice (2 weeks is standard and you should submit it in writing). The one thing that my father always taught me was to be professional in life and never burn your bridges! You never know when you will need a prior supervisor as a future reference, for example. Another example: Let’s say, you just graduated from college and you are very excited to apply for a job in Lansing with the Federal Government. Guess what they do when you apply? They go back to your previous employers, and send letters out, asking for information about your work ethic, your character and why/how you left! Many other companies do this as well, including schools (for teaching jobs). So, besides the fact that it’s the professional and responsible thing to do, think about how you want to be perceived and how your future may pan out, and just DO THE RIGHT THING. Who knows, in 4-5 years, you may be that Manager on Duty, and you will have to deal with a new kid who decided to walk off the job with no notice and trust me, you will NOT be happy picking up the pieces and covering all their shifts at the last minute. Nor will you be willing to give them a good reference if they need one!