Jobs for Teenagers….Yes or No?
First jobs aren’t necessarily fun.
And they definitely aren’t indicative of your future employment!
Even billionaires have had to start off with menial jobs before they found success in the world.
Warren Buffet’s first job was running his own newspaper delivery business at the age of 13. Oprah Winfrey’s first job was working at a grocery store next to her father’s barbershop.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos began his career flipping burgers at McDonald’s at the age of 16.
Now, while we obviously know that having a newspaper route or working in fast food won’t guarantee you a future as a billionaire, there is something these people had in common:
They found their passions early and made the most of their early employment.
Bezos has often credited his McDonald’s start to one of his business’ most important lessons: moving things quickly from seller to customer without damaging the product.
So how can teens make the most of their part-time jobs and learn new skills for life?
Let me share a 3 ideas on what jobs for teenagers can teach!
Pick up as Many Different Skills as You Can
Not only will this help you during future employment opportunities, it will also help you identify what you enjoy doing (and just as importantly, what you don’t enjoy!).
When talking of his own sons, parenting coach Pat Boone says, “I tried to give them all the skills that I could think of to help them say manage money, look for opportunity, take advantage of whatever situation they’re in, and look for that opportunity within the situation.
Learn more than what you’re doing.
For instance, both the boys worked at the restaurant that’s just around the corner from us. They both washed dishes and one of them ended up cooking.
When my oldest first started feeling like, ‘Well I don’t know if I want to work there anymore,’ that’s when I stepped in and said, ‘Alright, you’ve been doing dishes. You’ve enjoyed earning your money, now when you go up there, start taking notice of different things. When did they order food? Why do they make certain decisions? Talk to the cooks. Talk to the chef. Talk to your manager. Look at invoices.
Whatever information you can gather about that job, take it in, process it, and remember it for maybe when you want to run a business.
Be observant and take advantage of whatever situation you’re in.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we only had to work with people we loved working with?
But that’s just not life.
Whether you’re at school or a job, you’re going to have to deal with people you may not care for.
So while it may be tempting to complain or try to push the person’s buttons, do your best to resist both impulses.
Instead, find a way to work together efficiently.
Heap on the kindness, and throw in a dash of patience while you’re at it.
Get a Feel for Taking Initiative
Is there a job you’re interested in or a skill you want to learn on the job that you’re not qualified for?
Ask how you can learn it!
If you’re interested in being a veterinarian, call around to local vet offices and ask if you can spend a few hours at their office every week helping out with whatever needs to get done.
Want to be a fashion designer? You’re probably going to have a hard time getting a call back from Chanel, but you could probably find a local seamstress who would be willing to take you under her wing.
When I took my first job out of college, to get my foot in the door, I had to be the low man on the totem pole, calling around to colleges and universities around the country seeing if they needed our software. I hated it! But it was a foot in the door.
After I had been there a few months, I approached the Senior VP of Marketing and asked if I could take on some writing responsibilities, in addition to my usual work.
He agreed. He admired my initiative and gave me a case study to write to see if I was any good. And in that moment, my career in copywriting took off.
As Nora Roberts so eloquently put it, “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”
Final Thoughts on Jobs for Teenagers
At the end of the day, every experience you can get is valuable.
Experiences, both good and bad, help you identify what you love (and hate) doing.
They can help you identify your unique skills (your superpowers).
It’s just a matter of taking those experiences, using them for your own personal growth and leveraging them for your future success.