Once you have obtained your job or internship, you need to take steps to ensure that it’s a success. Most importantly, remember that it’s perfectly okay if you don’t love your job...but you absolutely must do the job to the best of your ability.
Benefits of doing your job well
When you perform well, there is much more to be gained than the satisfaction of a job well done. Consider the following: Today’s manager is tomorrow’s reference. When you are applying for jobs in the future, employers often ask to check references by talking to your previous supervisor. It’s a great feeling to go into an interview knowing that your previous supervisor will rave about your performance and attitude.
- It’s not unusual for teens to start off by doing extremely simple tasks. Some of these may be boring work that no one else wants to do. However, if you do your work quickly and without making any mistakes, you can earn the opportunity to take on more challenging and interesting tasks.
- When you do a great job, you will have true accomplishments to add to your resume and to describe in a future interview.
- The more you immerse yourself in the job, the more you will see if this line of work suits you. All jobs provide learning opportunities.
The fundamentals of good job performance
These days, managers sometimes express frustration with the current generation of young adults. A common complaint is that young people are not willing to pay their dues. Managers also get frustrated about smartphones, iPods, and other gadgets in the workplace.
So let’s review some of the fundamentals of what it will take to avoid problems at work.
1. Be a reliable employee.
The most common complaints revolve around tardiness and absenteeism. You need to get to work on time and have a minimal number of absences. If something is absolutely unavoidable, give advance notice.
2. Use technology appropriately at work.
It’s recommended that you simply turn off your phone at work. Likewise, you may have a job that entails the use of a computer. Unless you are specifically told that it’s okay, don’t use the computer for anything but work.
If you have too much or too little work to do, talk to your supervisor about it in a positive, proactive manner. Let your manager know that you’d love more work to do if you need it, or request assistance with prioritizing if you have too much going on.
3. Ask questions when necessary.
It's much better to ask your boss or supervisor a question when you don't know how do do something, instead of doing it wrong! But make notes so you don’t have to ask the same questions repeatedly. It’s normal to fear looking stupid or ignorant. However, you definitely don’t want to do something wrong and later learn that you made a costly mistake.
4. Be cheerful.
Sooner or later, you will be asked to do tasks that are boring, repetitive, dirty, frustrating, or unpleasant in any number of ways. Employees who do grunt work readily are always appreciated!
5. Keep your work area neat and organized.
Avoid having food and drink in plain view, and come up with a system so you’ll always know where to find things.
6. Dress appropriately for work.
Even if you are unpaid and working five hours per week, you want to look just as professional as everyone doing similar work for that employer.
7. Go above and beyond!
Don’t be content to simply do the job; set lofty goals for yourself. Seek feedback regularly to be sure that your performance is on target.
8. Recognize your worth.
Think of yourself as a member of the work team. As such, offer to work extra hours if problems arise—just as the full-timers do.
9. Be careful about mixing business and pleasure.
While it’s always a good idea to be friendly toward co-workers, you should not be spending significant amounts of the day socializing. And getting romantically involved with a co-worker is a bad idea for any number of reasons.
Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your hard work will pay off for years to come in the form of references, resume experience, and career direction.