July 30, 2013

Get Ready For College With Me: Working Part Time

Happy Tuesday everyone!

For this post, I had to make sure that I scheduled it for the right time... I usually write my posts throughout the week (especially the ones in this series because they're longer and more time-consuming) and then schedule them to come out Tuesday and Saturday mornings (more or less) so that it'll give some more structure to my schedule. I unfortunately clicked on the wrong day for the post on Extracurricular Activities and kind of had one of my mini 5-second flip-outs.

What?!?! No Tuesday post? Nooooo!
But, yeah...I double-checked to make sure that I am scheduling this post for Tuesday, because after describing that whole episode, it would've been so embarrassing if you were reading this on Wednesday.

Am I the only one who's OCD about this sort of thing? Let me know in the comments.

Well after that truly...interesting...intro, it's time to get down to the whole point of this post: Working! Today I'll be discussing a little bit about working part time while in school. Giving my thoughts and a bit of advice that'll help you land that first job and be on good terms with your manager. I hope this will be another post that you find constructive if you're a high school student; you can easily find the other posts from this series by clicking here, and if you have any questions, just feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me--I'll be sure to reply!

And with that...

I've been working the same part-time job for about two years now--I literally scheduled an interview the day I turned sixteen. I didn't really have a lot of work experience outside of volunteering and the occasional babysitting job, but it was fairly easy to land the position as a team member in a well-known fast food restaurant.
As far as interviews go, there are a lot of tips out there so I would be reiterating a couple of them, so here are two quick ones that I would stress: 1) Be genuine and don't get discouraged. Companies do interviews to see if you would fit and represent the brand well. So in the interview, bring your A-game and show that you really want to be a part of what they do. 2) Keep in mind what position you're being considered for. This might seem obvious, but it's easy to forget in the middle of an interview. For example, if you're applying for a customer service job, try to smile throughout the conversation--try to represent yourself as someone who would be understanding to complaints and foster the work environment. Or if you're applying to do research, show your scholarly side and mention any persistent habits when it comes to doing work.
Working while in school is stressful, especially if you are taking as many AP classes as I did. I didn't really experience much of a dip in grades when I started working, but the amount of time I had available to sleep and do my other activities became very limited. However, upon reaching good terms with my manager (it's really not that hard to do as long as you're not afraid to talk to them), I was able to get to the point where I could easily choose my hours.

Some people have to work through high school--have no choice on the matter. Personally, working wasn't mandatory for me because I didn't have much time to go out shopping or to dinner between all the things I did with my time. Also, my parents spoiled me and wouldn't let me pay for tae kwon do or violin lessons or gas. I did make enough to pay for gas and tae kwon do, but I didn't take on very many hours until this summer when I realized that I wanted to pay for my own books and have money to get away from the university's mediocre campus cuisine.
Quick Tip: The best time to apply for a summer job is about late March to early August. This is when positions are open before college students are back from school (and they are often better candidates than high schoolers for many positions).
This summer I've been working about 30 hours a week (which for me is a lot, okay?!) and the rewards are great. If working during the year is a stretch for you, I highly recommend finding a job during the summer, and here are some reasons why:

  1. It provides some structure to your schedule.
  2. Pocket money is never a bad thing, especially at this point in life.
  3. You will learn some lessons that you can't learn in a classroom, ones that will prepare you for the future.
  4. Having a job = some level of self-efficacy. 
Note: There is a lot more that I can say about what I've learned from having this job, but that is a post that will come in the future. 
Quick Tip: One of the best-paying jobs is working as a babysitter. When it comes to working as a student, minimum wage is probably the best basis to judge salaries off of, and babysitting can pay you more than twice the amount of minimum wage! Plus, babysitting is relatively low-stress. 
 When you have a job, here are some quick tips for getting on your manager's good side:

  1. Ask how his/her family is doing.
  2. Tell funny stories.
  3. Be honest. If you mess something up, tell him/her and apologize--then try to do better in the future.
  4. Ask questions for affirmation. For example, if you see that something needs to be cleaned, just ask if it's okay for you to step out and clean it really quickly. Or if you see that something is running low, ask how much of it you should make. You will be noticed for both your initiative and understanding of their authority.
  5. Also tell them what you do outside of work. Any particular hobbies. I've found that the managers I've had in the past are interested of what their workers do because usually they are different things, and there's always something to learn from another person.
Well, I hope this post was helpful, and I'm wrapping up this segment in the series Get Ready For College With Me. The next posts won't be as didactic anymore since I'll be describing the transitioning process a bit--however, this part of the series will definitely be shorter--I'm moving out in about two weeks!

Have a nice day!
-Riley XO

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