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10 Lessons Kids Must Learn Before Starting Their First Job - Tara Brelinsky

10 Lessons Kids Must Learn Before Starting Their First Job


Homeschool mom and restaurant owner Tara Brelinsky has advice for parents trying to raise their children to be dutiful, goal-oriented, successful workers.

A little more than a year ago, our family purchased a pizzeria.

Seeing as we have eight children, we figured that we had the beginnings of a ready-made workforce. However, being open six days a week for the majority of the day (when you factor in prep work and closing work), we had to hire from outside our family circle.

In general, we’ve hired young adults, many of whom were home schooled. We have a great staff, but this last year has given me some new insights from the perspective of an employer in 2017.

Considering the current political climate and the outlandish behavior that seems to pervade American colleges, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that today’s young adult workers aren’t necessarily a mirror image of the dutiful, goal-oriented worker from bygone days. However, I have advice for parents hoping to raise future successful workers/leaders.

Before your child fills out that first job application, teach them:

1. To behave like grown-ups.

An employer doesn’t want to hear their whining, excuses or backtalk. Employers are in business to earn a living; they are not babysitters, social organizations or democracies.

In the workplace, workers are responsible for fulfilling their scheduled hours. Your child must exercise the fore-thought of asking for days off in advance when necessary.

Unless your child is on death’s door or has laryngitis and cannot speak, you should never call their employer on their behalf.

2. Drugs and work don’t go together.

No parent wants to imagine their child taking drugs, but it is happening (even in good, Catholic homeschooling families). There is a creeping mindset that marijuana is no worse than cigarette smoking, which is an idea trickling down to our youth.

As an employer, I don’t want the liability of a worker under the influence. The first step is to tell your children not to do drugs.

Then, after that, tell them that people who do drugs should expect to lose jobs along the way.

3. Show initiative. Do more than the minimum.

By doing so, they’ll not only establish job security, but they’ll probably learn some valuable extra skills. Encourage them to seek more training and responsibility.

Point out the fact that on-the-job-training is free education (plus they can add the new skills to their resume.)

4. Don’t steal.

If you didn’t pay for it and your employer didn’t offer it to you for free, you are stealing.

If you give stuff away to family or friends without taking payment, you are stealing. Don’t.

5. If you work for a family business (especially), don’t bad mouth one member to another member.

We all need to vent our frustrations occasionally, but gossip and calumny are wrong in every setting and in the workplace, they can cost you your job.

6. Dress for success.

Obviously, the attire depends on the work setting. No one should wear a suit to cut grass or make pizza, but everyone should come to work well groomed.

A clean body, neat hairstyle, brushed teeth, and washed, proper-fitting clothing should be the minimum for any employee.

7. Basic communication skills matter.

If you cannot communicate effectively, your employer won’t know your wants and needs. Additionally, if your job necessitates dealing with the public, then you are the face of the company.

If you speak clearly and politely, if your writing reflects proper grammatical form and spelling, then customers will have a higher opinion of you and the business.

I once had a friend who got passed over for a journalism position because her application letter was full of typos!

8. Work hard.

Success doesn’t typically happen just because you want it. Hard work begets success. Learning to serve others with charity and empathy can be hard work.

In the service industry, the old adage of the customer is always right still holds, so work hard to produce a good product, do what you say you’ll do, apologize for your mistakes, and constantly seek to improve yourself.

9. Nothing is beneath you when you are a hard worker.

Someone must scrub the toilets, mop the floors and wash the dishes. There’s no reason why that person shouldn’t be you.

10. The golden rule applies in the workplace as in the rest of life.

Treat others (employers, coworkers, and customers) how you’d like to be treated.

About Tara Brelinsky

About Tara Brelinsky
Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of 8 living children, with 6 more heavenly ones. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, hamster, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the glory of God. You can read her musings and inspirations on her blog Blessings In Brelinskyville.

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