So you think you're ready to get a job?
Here are some things to consider:
What kind of work do you want to do? Sometimes, teens take what they can get, but it never hurts to try first for something that might fit your skills levels, abilities, and interests. Think about what you like to do and what you hate to do and start seeking employment in the areas that interest you.
Look at opportunities for teens. Besides food service and working with kids, here are a few fields usually open for young people: lifeguarding, landscaping or yard work, dog sitting, house sitting, car washes, construction work, amusement parks, department stores.
Check the "Employment Opportunities" section of the local newspaper and with your school counselors since they often know of employers looking for kids. Opportunities are found through networking. Just let people know you're interested in finding a job.
Apply for the job. You may need to apply for several jobs before you land one. Enter the place you'd like to work and ask for an application. Often you'll be allowed to fill it out on the spot, and they may even do an interview on the spot, so dress nicely even when you just go to get an application. Make sure you have identification of who you are and proof of your age, such as your driver's license or your birth certificate.
Your potential employer may ask you questions such as, "Why should I hire you?" or "What benefits can you bring to our company?" Don't say, "Well, I just need a job and you're close to home." Instead, think about this ahead of time. Put yourself in your potential employers' shoes and consider what they might want in a worker. Your answers don't have to be complicated.
Succeed! After you get a job, keep a few things in mind.
- Be fully on the job. While you're at your job, your employer is paying you to be wholeheartedly into your work. This is not your time; it's theirs.
- Be responsible. Show up on time and don't skip out early. Employers are counting on you. Keep your uniform or work attire clean, and be ready for work when you arrive.
- Follow the rules. Work within the system and chain of command. Even if you don't understand why you have to do something a certain way, follow instructions.
- Be willing. When you first start working in a place, you usually start on the bottom rung of the ladder. You get to do all the work no one else wants to. But do a good job and you may get to move up the ladder.
Land a job and suddenly you have income that goes beyond any allowance you've been receiving, and it seems like a fortune! Learning to handle money can be a challenge, but here are some tips:
- Remember your tithe. Be intentional about giving money to God's work.
- Pay bills right away. If you have a car payment to deal with, car insurance, or anything like that, set aside that money before you spend anything.
- Plan ahead. What will you need to pay for between now and the next paycheck? Gasoline, snacks, entertainment? Are any new expenses ahead? Like a T-shirt for the drama team at school? Figure out realistically how much money you'll need for these things and jot the amount down. This is part of "budgeting"—figuring out where different amounts of your money will go.
- Save! Do you need to help pay for college? That will be here before you know it. And other problems have a way of cropping up—like car repairs. You can even have savings funds, one for college and one for other unexpected expenses.
- Spend slowly. After you've figured out about how much you'll have coming in each month (don't forget to subtract taxes), how much needs to go for bills and savings, and how much is left to spend, try to think twice before spending. There's a difference between a "want" and a "need."
Jeanette Gardner Littleton is a freelance author and editor in the Kansas City area.
Holiness Today, Mar/Apr 2013