Summer Job Etiquette

Ah, summer; the favorite season of most students! Academic pressures grind to a halt, life moves at a leisurely pace and all that’s left on the docket are BBQs, bathing suits and the beach. However, now that you’re in high school, your parents might also be nudging you to take on more responsibilities. Indeed, before you know it, your free time could be infringed upon by that adolescent rite of passage known as the summer job.

Though you might groan and grumble, there are certainly some positives to landing a summer gig (really!). For starters, you will gain insight into the working world. Moreover, you’ll also have some extra cash in your pocket and you’re bound to feel productive. Of course, in order to be successful, you have to understand how to comport yourself in a professional setting.

First and foremost, punctuality is key. Remember – your scheduled hours aren’t a friendly suggestion. Your boss won’t care if you were out with friends or up late watching a Game of Thrones marathon. He/she is depending on you to be there.

Additionally, be mindful of your dress and appearance. Though your typical summer uniform might be cut-offs and a ratty tank top, that’s not appropriate clothing for most office environments. Even if you work in a casual setting, try and avoid wearing items with holes, old t-shirts and flip-flops. If you dress neatly (and perhaps a touch on the conservative side), your colleagues and customers will treat you with more respect. And, importantly, your boss will see that you are taking the job seriously.

Though this might sound obvious, you should also be sure to focus on the work at hand. In other words, unless you’re specifically given the okay by a superior, don’t fritter away your working hours glued to the internet or your iPhone. You can’t spend the day making personal phone calls or listening to the newest album you’ve downloaded. By virtue of being plugged in, you’re more likely to be distracted. Hence, it’s easier to make mistakes, it takes longer to complete tasks and you might not pay full attention to your co-workers or clientele. Put the gadgets away and save the surfing for when you get home.

Further, if you want to thrive, simply adhere to the basic tenets of manners and social etiquette. Indeed, it’s important to greet people with a friendly hello, a handshake and a smile. If someone approaches you with a question or assignment, don’t dismiss or interrupt. Listen in full before you respond. Similarly, you don’t want to slouch, avert eye contact or appear disengaged in any way. Show people you’re enthusiastic and ready to help. And, of course, respect people’s time and personal space.

Though you might be reluctant to leave the comforts of your den, a summer job can actually be a great experience. You’ll interact with new people, develop new skills and maybe even gain an idea of what type of career path you’ll want to pursue in the future. Follow the suggestions above and you will be on track to a rewarding and successful summer. Then again, maybe a summer job will make high school seem all the more attractive. So really, it’s a win-win.

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