In an era when people change jobs, and even careers, multiple times, the “first day on the job” happens frequently. But what about the first day of work? For most of us, that was too long ago to remember.
The teens who use Rock Your Block to find part-time jobs are still relative newcomers to the workplace. Their “gigs” range from child care to dog walking. Their employers are individuals in the neighborhood and big operations like Valleyfair.
Sarah Young founded Rock Your Block when she realized that teens, who are masters of social media, didn’t have an effective way to use social media for job searches. Teens 13 and older create an account that’s accessible by computer and mobile device and can be linked to Facebook. A parent, guardian or organization cosigns the application. Job posters also create an account. Rock Your Block has four layers of security to be sure that postings are appropriate and safe for teens. Each job completed helps build the teen’s profile of experience.
Here’s some insight and advice from Rock Your Block teens.
What did you learn about yourself from your first experiences on a job?
Shauna Ling: That taking a leadership role is a good thing. I realized that you need to lead in order to get the results you want.
Jeff Lorton: I learned that I was a hard worker. Most teenagers only lasted a day or two. Found that I was really interested in understanding how a business works.
Atalia Rickard: My first job was ValleyScare. I learned that I could actually act. Maybe not as well as everyone else, but I didn’t think I really had it in me.
What advice would you give to other teens who are looking for or starting their first paying jobs?
Shauna Ling: If at first you don’t succeed try, try, and try again. Failures lead to successes.
Atalia Rickard: Don’t be afraid to come out of your shell. Open up and be talkative. It’s better to be talkative and get to know people than be the person in the corner, looking all creepy, avoiding any sort of social contact.
Abby Anfinson: Make sure that you are the one communicating and initiating things with your boss. Your parents should have minimal involvement, especially when you are applying for a job. When parents are the ones doing all the talking it sends a red flag to the employer that a teen is either shy, uninterested or irresponsible.
Liz Quilty: There are two things — a job and a career. A job gives you money; a career is going places within that industry. Sometimes a job is required until you get education enough for a career.
Alexandra Ith: Be patient. You’ll understand everything in time.
What advice would you give to adults who are hiring or working with teens? How can employers or managers help teens do their best work?
Kathy Shuberg: Help [the teens] along with good feedback. Too much negative feedback makes them want to become lazy and give up.
Jeff Lorton: There are so many that really want to work. Have patience and help them understand your needs.
Miranda Gray: Be clear about expectations. Be firm.
Mara Danz: Remember that they are teens and their brains are at a different place than yours, developmentally. Be specific about the job requirements. Build a relationship … teens need mentors and their job could be the only place to find a quality mentor.
ON THE JOB: firstname.lastname@example.org