Both of my 16-year-olds have started their first job search. They’re asking for their social security numbers and for references. They’re filling out applications, in person and online. They’re going on interviews. So far, no takers. I can see the frustration building, John has already told me he’s tired of filling out applications. I haven’t had the heart to break it to him that he’s going to be filling out applications for the rest of his life. Jobs, schools, loans…it’s an endless process so get used to it, kid.
I’m confident they’ll land something very soon. Or I’ll start charging you to read this blog so I can afford all the excess gas, movies, and trips to McDonald’s teenagers require to survive.
When they do, there are a few things I’d like them to know, so they don’t annoy me as much as most teenage employees do.
1. Don’t chew gum. There’s nothing worse than trying to order a coffee from someone who is snapping gum in your face. You’re a kid, you don’t know how to do it quietly. So just don’t.
2. Don’t tell me crazy stories. If your parents think the oil companies have spaceships that are shooting lasers at the polar ice caps, melting them on purpose so they can drill up there – just keep it to yourself. When I’m standing in a mud puddle waiting for you to unload my groceries, I’m not interested in conspiracy theories.
3. Don’t curse. No matter how cool or hip the store you work at is, when you’re talking to someone more than a generation older than you, don’t curse. And I don’t mean just don’t say the f-word, I mean don’t curse at all. I curse all the time and it bothers me to hear a sales clerk do it.
4. Don’t put crap in your face. I can’t take you seriously if you have a giant bolt in your lip or eyebrow. I’d rather someone with less metal in their head finds shoes in my size.
5. Put your phone away. I know, I know everyone does it. I do it. Guilty as charged. But if I’m asking you directions and you answer while laughing at your screen you will immediately be given a vote of no confidence.
6. Know that some people are just jerks. I learned this one the hard way. Once you realize it, you won’t be so hard on yourself.
7. Don’t cry at work. Seriously. Unless your elbow lands in the fry vat and you have 3rd degree burns, don’t ever cry at work.
8. Control eye rolling. Your boss is not your parent. They don’t have to keep letting you stay there even when your eye rolling drives them to the brink of child abuse. If I could fire my teenagers, they’d have been gone 4 years ago. Be nice. Listen, even when the boss tells you the same things nine times.
9. Don’t social network with people at work. Social networking has bad news written all over it. So don’t Facebook friend, Instagram follow, Tweet, Snapchat, or whatever else the kids are doing these days with people at work. Just be work friends with them. I promise, you won’t regret it.
10. Don’t buy stuff where you work. The employee discount is a trick to get you to spend more money there. I once worked at a sporting goods store and spent at least half my paycheck every week on “stuff” from the store. I don’t even like sports. Resist the urge to bite the carrot they’re dangling in front of you.
That should do it. Although, now that I think about it I probably should have given tips for getting a job. I don’t have a job though, so I don’t have any tips. Even if I did I wouldn’t share them – then I might be expected to get one.