Workplace Tips for Teens
Starting your first job is like stepping into uncharted territory. You may be unsure of how to behave or what’s expected of you. Here are tips for teen job etiquette. These tips will help you gain favor as you take this giant step forward.
Teen job etiquette tips:
1. Be on time
Teen job etiquette begins with accountability and punctuality. Arrive on time and be ready to work. By accepting this job, you have made a commitment to work at set times for a certain number of hours. Your responsibility is to keep your end of the bargain.
Always arrive on time
Never leave early without permission
Never skip work
Even one day late may result in dismissal
2. Dress appropriately
Your working attire is important in how supervisors, coworkers, and customers view you.
Keep your uniform or work clothes clean and wrinkle-free
Hair should be neat and clean
Dress modestly and avoid offensive phrases and logos on clothing
When in doubt, refer to your employee handbook or ask your supervisor.
3. “Unplug” at work
As tempting as it is to check your phone while at work – even if it’s not busy — don’t do it. Either mute it or turn it off, then leave it tucked in a drawer or personal bag until you’re on a break or ready to go home. Your employer is paying you to work and may reprimand you for wasting time. Smartphones are distracting and take you and other employees off task.
Give full attention to your job responsibilities
Use smartphones only when on an official break (or in an emergency)
Keep negative comments about work off the Internet
Remember, someone is paying you to do a job, not to socialize with friends.
4. Keep personal problems out of the workplace
Teens are social creatures, so you may feel the urge to talk about your problems with coworkers. Conflicts happen but the workplace is not the place to rant and rave about personal troubles. If a conflict arises at work, deal with it privately and calmly.
Try resolving conflicts privately first without involving your boss
Leave positive impressions on supervisors, coworkers, and customers
Use constructive and respectful suggestions
Avoid being viewed as a troublemaker
You do not have to like everyone with whom you work; rather you need to work efficiently together.
5. Be considerate – maybe the most important tip
You may interact with customers in some capacity at your job. Keep these customer service tips in mind when you do:
Acknowledge customers right away. Don’t chat with a co-worker when a customer appears. Look at the customer and ask how you can help them.
Give your full attention to customers
Use a polite voice
6. Practice self-motivation
Any new job provides opportunities to learn new skills. You may feel intimidated at first, but don’t let that scare you. Most of us feel nervous when we face an unknown.
View this as a chance to learn employability skills for your future success:
Persevere through learning curves
Find what needs to be done and do it, don’t always wait for someone to give you direction
Remain on task
Complete all assigned tasks
Volunteer for projects
Adapt work style to employer’s preferences
Focus on additional skills you can learn
7. Learn from mistakes and accept constructive criticism
It’s okay to make mistakes. We all do when learning something new. The key is to remain positive and graciously accept input from others. Your pride may be bruised, but if you choose to learn from it, you are actually sharpening your brain power!
Take responsibility for errors and apologize
Ask for more information if you are unclear about directions
Discover what went wrong and figure a way to avoid repeating it
8. When it’s time to move on
You will leave your summer or part-time job at some point. You may pursue higher education or a job with more responsibilities. Avoid burning bridges with these tips:
Give at least two weeks’ notice
Speak with supervisor away from coworkers and customers
Thank employer for the opportunity
Stay in their good graces, they can serve as a positive reference in the future
If you get fired, that employer may still serve as a positive reference if you handle it well.
Control your emotions and frustrations
Inquire why you were let go
Ask what you could have done to remain at that job
9. Keep a work / life balance
You may experience stress with your new job responsibilities. Warning signs that you might have too much on your schedule include:
Working over 20 hours per week
Social life becoming chaotic or nonexistent
Being constantly tired or sluggish
Try reducing the pressure by implementing a work/life balance. Talk with your parents about your concerns. Refer to your employee handbook for dealing with schedule conflicts.
Final thoughts: find the right fit
1. Try to find a job that plays into your strengths and interests.
If math is a challenge, perhaps steers away from jobs that require using a cash register. Instead a more comfortable job may use customer service skills.
2. Consider who may be the boss.
Was the person who ran the interview intimidating or unfriendly? If so, that person may not be a supportive or patient supervisor in the workplace.
3. Adjust routines before the job starts.
If you have ADHD, changing routines can be a challenge. Start making changes at home a week or two before the job starts. Try going to bed earlier and set more than one alarm. Adjust medications with advice from a physician in they don’t work with the job schedule.
4. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you.
It is perfectly reasonable to request a written list of what the job will involve. If you have dyslexia or another issue that makes reading or remembering difficult, ask if you can record a video on your phone. Just be sure to ask permission to use the phone for this purpose when working if necessary. Remember Tip #3!
5. If you have trouble carrying out multi-step tasks.
Use the video recording strategy mentioned above.