1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Tips for Teens Who Toil

Part 1: Entering the World of Work


Teenage boy and girl using credit card.
John Giustina/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Congratulations -- you're about to start your first job (or your second or third). Nervous? Afraid you won't know what to do? Calm down -- you were hired because your boss thought you could do the job, or because he or she thought you could learn to do it. If that's all I had to say, though, there wouldn't be much reason for writing this article, now would there? Your boss may tell you what you need to do to get a paycheck. However, he or she may not tell you how to be a "good" employee. That's what I'm here for. I'll help you get off on the right foot.

My first job was a tremendous learning experience for me, and yours can be one for you too. When I was 14 years old, I was hired to work as a counselor-in-training at a day camp. I had to learn how to interact with my supervisors, other counselors, children, and parents. I think I did a good job, but I wish I had known then what I know now -- and what I'm about to share with you. If you're a teenager about to start your first job, this article can help you succeed at it, and at those jobs that come after. Even if you have worked before, you may find something here you don't already know. If you're the parent of a teen, or if there's a teen in your life, pass this information along to him or her.

Tip number 1: Speak Clearly. Last week my husband and I went to a grocery store. The cashier who rang up our order was a high school student, probably somewhere between the ages of 16 and 18. He had longish hair and several piercings -- not unusual for today's teens and young adults and certainly not off-putting. What we found annoying was that he mumbled -- we couldn't understand a word he said. Our response to everything he said was "what?" Keep in mind, my husband and I have pretty good hearing. It's possible the same can't be said for some other customers, since the grocery store is located near two large retirement communities. Many of the customers in the store were senior citizens. Not all senior citizens have hearing problems, but many do. And, not all teenagers mumble when they speak, but many do! If you want, you can mumble to your friends and mumble to your parents, but please speak clearly to your customers.

Next: Part 2: Tips 2 through 5

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.