Remember when you got your first job? I bet you were elated, especially when you anticipated earning more spending money than you ever had in your whole life. You may have believed your life changed dramatically for the better. You felt good about yourself and made a vow to be an excellent worker from this day on.
At the same time, you were a bit overwhelmed, wondering if you had the skills required to perform the job well. That may have been because you were hit by numerous new responsibilities and company rules to follow. There may have been times you feared that you might get fired.
After months of working the same job, the thrill and the stress wore off. Attending high school and working at the same time wore you out. Your job duties became second nature and soon monotonous. While working, you may have had problems getting along with your supervisor or certain coworkers. After dealing with customers, especially those who’ve complained, you’ve learned to hate people. You may have even felt that your employer was inferior to its competitors and work conditions were poor. If all of these things happened to you, more likely you quitted. If not, you are on your way to building a good work ethic.
Maintaining a good work ethic is extremely important. However, if you’re like a lot of other teens, it may not seem necessary. You may become tired of your job and came to work late or spontaneously took days off for social and family events. Likewise, you may have tried harmful substances in search of happiness. Even if you lost your job, there were many other places hiring in your area and you could always get a new one just like that. Right? Wrong!
Nowadays, companies are cracking down on truant employees who don’t take their jobs so seriously. Most conduct drug screening and background checks. They review job references of each applicant too. Employers are working harder than ever to boost employee morale and do away with the workplace clowns. Some employers are wary of hiring teenagers. Why? Workers that screw around on the job cost companies serious money.
Developing a good work ethic is a plus for all teenagers. Ethic is simply a word meaning morality. It means knowing the importance of one’s work and how it fits into the scope of the enterprise for which one works for. The earlier age one builds a good work ethic, the more successful in life this person will be. Not only can this person land jobs easier, but win the companionship of those he/she works with.
You too can develop a good work ethic by doing the following:
- Respect your employer – Think of your employer as an individual who is trying to make his way in the world. Like people, some businesses are more fortunate than others. You may hear workers making derogative remarks about your employer. While this company may not be as good as its competitors in every way, they are striving to become the best they can be. Every single employee, regardless of their job status, contributes to the success of this business. By cooperating on the job, you too can help them remain competitive and succeed.
- Know you company’s purpose – If this isn’t obvious, you may want to find out what they do to better understand the nature of your job. The more you know about your company, the better you can perform your job and more effectively serve them.
- Respect their customers – Whenever you eat at a restaurant or purchase something from a store, you expect top-notch service. How would you feel if you got a burger that was undercooked, cold, or had strange things stuffed into it? What if you raised a complaint about your food and were cussed at by the waitress? You would be mad and soon go out and blab about how bad that restaurant was. Most likely, you wouldn’t eat at that place again. Your employer’s customers are the same way. If they receive bad service, they are likely to blab to others about how bad the place your work for is. Hence, you must try your very best to please them and not pull pranks on them for your or other workers’ amusement.
- Don’t horseplay at work – If you see your coworkers mess around, the temptation to join in may be strong. Such horseplay can involve throwing food around or playing recklessly with company equipment. Teens do this to acquire a false sense of control over their employer or as an act of revenge. This may be fun for them, but will hurt their employer’s success way more than they realize. Respect company equipment and use it only as it is intended to be used. Horseplay causes accidents and injuries. Such mishaps will cost your employer and will more likely cost you your job. If you have the urge to mess around, save it for times when you are not in public.
- Abide by company rules – All companies have a great number of rules to work by. While some of them may seem unnecessary to you, there are legitimate reasons for all of them or else they wouldn’t exist. They are not doing this to deliberately make your life harder or miserable. Don’t complain about them to others.
- Maintain good attendance – Remember, whenever you skip work to go to a fun event, you’re only putting extra responsibilities on the shoulders of your coworkers. If you are really sick or have a cold, then it is best to stay home, but refrain from taking time off unless you absolutely have to. Your supervisor depends on you and you are committed to providing the necessary service to keep your company operating. Your employer is temporarily handicapped without you.
- Don’t curse your job – So you feel that your position is the lowest in the company. This is not true. Your work is just as important as everyone else’s, even the manager’s. If your job was unimportant, you would not have been hired there in the first place.
- Respect your coworkers – People are people. There are going to be some people you don’t like or those who have habits or opinions you don’t agree with. Remember, not everyone thinks and acts like you. We were all brought up in different settings by different parents. You can’t change them. Fighting with your coworkers only hinders operations in the workplace. Talking about them behind their backs can backfire on you. If bad talk gets around, you just made another enemy.
- Go that extra mile – Do everything you can to keep the workplace clean, safe, and running smoothly whenever possible. If you find a mess on the floor, clean it up, even if it’s not your normal job duty. Be willing to stay a few minutes extra if it means doing some little chore you don’t normally do. If the manager asks you to do a job, do it and don’t argue. Arguing will only hurt your job security later on-it will never save you from work. Such behavior makes you hard to approach by others and unpleasant to work with.
10. Give notice before you leave – Never quit on the spot. Even if you think the job is horrible or the work conditions are bad. If you must leave, your employer will need to replace you. Depending on the nature of the job, finding a replacement may take a while. Without you, there remains a “hole” or shortage of labor until, of course, your position is filled.
Again, building a good work record is important. It tells prospective employers what kind of worker you are. Remember, the quality of your work says a lot about you and if you’ve messed around on your first job, it will make it much harder to find your next one.
- It’s All About Attitude (northjerseysmallbusinessforum.org)
- Sense of Work Ethic (socyberty.com)
- Going Against the Grain: Contrast in Generational Work Ethics (gabriellemac.com)
- Reviving Work Ethic – Chapters 2 and 3 (caseywheeler1.wordpress.com)
- Time > Income – Passion over Security (lazywarrior.com)