Last year my niece secured her first part time job as she’s still in school. With that job came advice from various people (myself included) on how to do well at work. It was a job at the movie theater for a little more than minimum wage. It can at times be hard and grueling work, sometimes she would get burned from the popcorn machine.
The theater would hire dozens of high school and a few college students, within 6 months over half will quit and within a year over 90% are gone. During the first week of training a third of the kids quit, some don’t bother calling or even showing up. Others when the surf is up they just don’t show up for work so they get fired.
I understand it’s a hard job for low pay, but for many of these kids it’s their first job. They’re already developing bad work habits and a shitty attitude which will set them up for failure later on. No work experience and they think this job is beneath them? Not bother showing up or even a phone call to let them know you’re quitting is very disrespectful, regardless of what you think of the job. That’s whats often lost on the $15 an hour minimum wage debate, there a lot of shitty ass workers with bad attitudes that think the job is beneath them. I saw that when I worked at Walmart. When you apply for a job and get hired you’ve made a commitment, not showing up is not following through on it.
Here is the advice I gave my niece:
1. Find out what’s most important to your boss.
What are they looking for in an employee? Does he value strong planning, or certain platform skills. I had a boss who believed if you were on time you were five minutes late. I always made sure to come to meetings early.
2. Find out what makes the top three employees in your group successful.
You’ll know who the usual top performers are. Emulate what infrastructure they have in place to help them succeed? Are the well organized? Do they listen well? Do they seek out higher value projects? Observe and ask them for help, you’ll find most people will be flattered and be willing to help.
3. Observe the worst two employees and don’t do what they do.
Are they often late or procrastinate? Do they have a shitty attitude about their job? People often forget that they can’t hide a bad attitude, which often affects their quality of work. Learn from these workers and don’t make the same mistakes they do.
4. If you don’t know who the two worst employees are, then YOU’RE the worst one.
If you can’t figure out who does the worst work, than it’s you. It’s similar to that person who always complain of numerous bad or crazy roommates, they’re the shitty roommate. You never want to be this person.
If she follows these rules she’ll always be able to find a job and succeed at it.
What other tips would you give to succeed at work?