Important First Job Advice

Important first job advice. The first job involves a lot of changes, including developing maturity and responsibility.

What ominous and delightful words: "My first job." Some fear it and some can't wait until they have the opportunity to experience it. What does a first job provide? Money. In a real sense, that's why most people (at least on the outside) look forward to it. It pays and we can all use some cash, right? Even deeper is a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency that underlies the monetary benefits.

Nobody wants to live with their parents forever. Eventually you have to get out and support yourself. Along with this independence comes a number of things. Likewise, independence itself comes from a number of things, starting with your first job. In many ways your first job teaches you responsibility. There are the issues of accountability, financial responsibility, personal growth and maturity, and, of course, perseverance.

You have to show up to your job or you'll be fired. That's that. There is no choice in the matter. Attendance is mandated. If you are sick you generally must find someone to fill in""that is your job, not your supervisor's. Attendance is required as is quality. If you don't do a good job or show that you really would rather be somewhere else, it's unlikely (unless there is an uncharacteristically tight job market) that you will find yourself continuing long in your present position.

Fiscal responsibility is also learned. Most teens have few qualms about spending their parents' money, but are significantly more tight in regards to money that they spend many hours of "useless" drudgery (or great joy) earning. Those new shoes might wait just a little bit. Budgeting becomes crucial, especially if the teen is involved in saving for a car or paying his/her car insurance. The teen suddenly has to budget entertainment and things they want now with greater entertainment or better things later. In addition, to keep track of and store money, checking/savings accounts (with balance books) are needed. More than anything balancing their own checkbook will teach your children financial responsibility.

Of course, personal growth is a result of all these things. Being able to spend ones own money the way he/she chooses is a great show of freedom as well as a great responsibility-inducing thing. Your teen is now free to do more of what he/she wants independently of your finances. The very fact that they are taking on the responsibility of a job speaks volumes for their maturity (and in many cases for their tolerances of menial chores). Your teens, while possibly not liking their job, will certainly feel more "adult" because of it.

Perseverance is also learned very readily. Unless you are entering the job market fresh out of college (or high school) and ready to begin your career, it's likely that you won't get a job that matches your skills particularly well. In fact, you may end up flipping burgers, mopping floors, or stuffing brochures (easy jobs aren't always fun, either). When you do what you don't want to do because you know you have to do it, you grow personally and you exercise perseverance. All of these factors combine to create the unique experience of having a first job.

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