Teenagers dream of making their own money, so they can buy whatever they want and whenever they want. Many teens use their first part-time job to buy their first car, upgrade to the newest iPhone, or plan a weekend getaway with their besties. It is considered one of the biggest privileges of being a teenager.
If you're a teenager and thinking or already having your first job, this is the article for you!
There are so many lessons to be learned from your first job, but I'm only going to name five of them. These stem from my personal experience along with people I know. Hopefully, this will help prepare you for your first and future jobs.
Lesson 1: Work Hard
This is your first job, so it's probably a minimum wage. However, don't treat it like it doesn't matter. This is your first impression of how real-world work is. Take every bit of it in. It's not the worst thing in the world.
If you work just as hard at this job as you would at your career job, you are setting yourself up for greater success. This is your first opportunity to see and understand what work is like and to make a good impression. You want your first boss to be impressed by you. Your hard work will make that happen.
A good work ethic is extremely important. Having a good, strong work ethic will teach you how to be the best worker you can be. You'll learn to appreciate the value of hard work. You'll learn to appreciate others and their hard work and better understand the value of work and money.
Lesson 2: Be Money Smart Now
Having your own money is an exhilarating thing, so you probably know that desire to go spend your money on things you want right off the bat. However, being money-smart young will only benefit you in the future.
I'm not saying that you should never spend your money. Go ahead and buy that food. Go ahead and do something fun. All I'm saying is to be smart with it.
Learning how to save early on will help you so much in the future. You can practice saving money in many ways. You can start saving up for your first car, a new phone, or a vacation. Those skills will go into effect when you need an apartment, pay for college, or just the future in general.
You should also start building an emergency fund. One day, your car will have problems, your phone will stop working, or you could lose your job and get behind on some kind of payment. Either way, having money that you are not allowed to spend will save you in the future. Because scrambling for money in an emergency is no fun at all.
Lesson 3: Don't Let Your First Job Consume you
You feel on top of the world right now. You have a job. You have money. You have all these new work friends. However, don't let this job be the center of your life.
You're young and free. Don't become an adult when you don't need to. Practicing good skills young is one thing. But don't work overtime at sixteen. Don't push aside friends and family so you can work. Work will always be there. Family and friends won't. Prioritize your people before your money. Teenage years aren't the times to be a workaholic.
Lesson 4: School Comes First
Yes, work is important. But your first part-time job at McDonald's is not more important than school. Most people don't want to go into fast food as a career. So, make sure you put your school first.
Every job has opportunities to advance. While advancing might be a good thing to an extent, you don't want to make that your number one priority. School comes first so that you can have the real future you want. You will most likely agree that school will be a much better advancement to a real career job.
Lesson 5: Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With At Work
It's great that you make new friends at your job. Having work friends makes the day go by so much faster and easier. And some of those friends you could keep for a very long time. However, be careful who your influences are.
Most first part-time jobs will be retail or fast food, and most of those people have fallen into worldly traps such as drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc. You don't want to ruin your first experience at work because of your friend's choices. Girls, you will get attention. Don't fall for it. Boys, those other druggies sound cool. Don't fall for it.
Keep in mind that your parents still run your life at this point. If they catch you doing illegal things, they could take away your new job. I'm sure that you all have huge goals that your job could help you complete. But if you fall to the temptations that your co-workers could introduce to you, all that could be over.
Also, remember that you sign a contract at every job you apply for that you can be randomly drug tested. You want to be careful with how you play with your future.
Make good choices with whom you choose to be friends. It will help you so much in the long run.