When I run a Remodelers Advantage Roundtables meeting or work with a remodeling company on-site one of the questions that I ask of all the attendees as part of ice-breaking efforts is:
“When did you get your first job?”
More often than not most of the people in the room started working in their mid to late teens. By “working” I mean doing anything (ideally legal!) for which monetary compensation was received. So, often baby-sitting or delivering newspapers will be mentioned.
What is interesting is that most of the jobs did not involve having to think much. Doing some simple task(s) over and over again, coupled with working for a boss, teaches a young person some valuable lessons.
I worked a variety of jobs starting when I was 14. One of the most important requirements for most of these jobs was to show up on time. Pretty basic, right? You would think so.
However, as an employer, I was surprised by how many people had never learned it.
Remember, with pretty much anything, showing up (ideally on time) is required to be able to succeed at anything.
Many young people are at times a bit too full of themselves. Learning to talk at the appropriate time is a necessary skill in the world of working.
Perhaps even more important than not talking needlessly and/or endlessly is learning to listen.
Listening well is a skill one needs to work at. It does not come naturally to most of us, even those who don’t talk a lot.
A good listener is more concerned with understanding the person who is talking than with thinking of the response he/she is going to make. Being able to do that is a powerful skill to get as a young person.
Most of the employers I had, whether they were a business owner or a manager in a larger company, wanted employees who knew how to stay focused and work effectively. That is what I mean by “work hard.”
I mean doing this all day, every day you are at work.
As a young person with a million thoughts (and lots of hormones!), it can be VERY hard to simply work hard. Learning to be able to do so when you are young increases your ability to succeed at virtually anything else you try during your life.
I learned to do the task I was assigned as well as I possibly could while paying attention to what the other employees were doing. I wanted to learn how to do other things.
One day when I was working at my first job as a carpenter another employee did not come into work because he was sick. Some pre-hung doors needed to be installed. I had never done that task, but I had seen it done a number of times, usually while I was sweeping or stacking materials.
My employer asked if I would attempt to install one of the pre-hung doors. I did a half-way decent job, given the extent of the training that I had received (next to none). My employer inspected the work. He let me know what I did right and what could be done better.
And the rest is history!
All the above are simple principles that seem obvious. The sooner you learn them, the more likely you are to succeed at most of what you do in life.
Give a young person a chance. You could become a difference-maker in their lives.
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