My last summer at home here in sunny Southern California is being spent working eight hours a day six days a week. However, this isn't new to me. I have been working since I was 18 and paid my own way through community college and continue to support myself in a variety of ways.
While I am in no way claiming to be special or unique when it comes to having a job; I think being employed before I graduate has taught me so many valuable lessons. Working retail and reception both for over four years has taught me the importance of customer service and professionalism in the workplace.
Ideally, this summer I would be doing an internship like so many of my peers; however, I don't have the class credits to fill or the time to spend not getting paid. Even though it might be teaching my valuable skills in my future career, I have a car payment to make and I like drinking expensive coffee so there's that lol.
Here's a list of thing's I've learned over the years that I might not know unless I got a job before I graduated.
1. The customer/client is ALWAYS right....most of the time.Giphy
Have you ever come away from a conversation and thought to yourself, "wow I can NOT believe that person is being serious right now!!" But you're in no position to tell them off? This is something I've encountered MANY times. However, it teaches you that sometimes if not all the time, it's best to hold your tongue and figure it out instead of cause a scene.
2. If you don't know something, it's better to ask rather than do it wrong.Giphy
I am honestly surprised at how many relevant GIFs I can find...lol..anyways, DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS! I get it, you don't want to bother your boss or your coworker with the tenth question you've asked today. But it sure does save them time and frustration from later fixing your mistakes later.
3. If you see something that needs to be done, just do it because no one else is going to.Giphy
You know that trash bag that's been sitting in the back of your workplace for a few days? Be the bigger person and TAKE IT OUT PLEASE. You're only going to be helping everyone out. I get it, no one ~wants~ to do it. But you're the kinda person that gets sh*t done. Be that person. Make yourself proud.
4. If you're sick, please don't come into work.Giphy
I'm not talking about your throat having a little tickle and your body aches a tiny bit. I'm talking about when going into work would result in potentially getting all your coworkers sick. Please just stay at home and call your manager or boss and tell them you're not feeling well. It's tough taking a day off but sometimes you need it.
5. If there's drama in the workplace, AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE.Giphy
Workplace drama can lowkey be the best thing to happen at work. It gives you something to talk about and helps the day go faster. But it is NOT worth getting involved! The last thing you need is your name being thrown around and feelings being hurt and people turning against you. The workplace is meant to be a place where you can work as a TEAM. It's hard to be a team when half of you have beef with one another.
6. If you're given more responsibility, don't be intimidated. You've got this!Giphy
If you get new responsibilities at work, GO YOU! That probably means your manager or boss notices your attention to detail or trusts you with these new tasks because they know you're the best one for the job. Now if your boss is just doing it to take advantage of you, SPEAK UP. Don't be afraid to say, "This is a big task, can I request some help with competing this project?" Humble yourself and realize when a task is too big for you, it's okay to ask for help.
7. If you're going to be late, let someone know.Giphy
One thing I have decided to stop doing is giving excuses for being late. Most of the time my employer doesn't really care why I'm running a little late. They just want to know that I'm still coming to work and when I will be there. A simple, "Hey I'm so sorry but I'm running five minutes late, I'll be there soon" works better than giving them a sob story.
8. It's never too soon to act professional.Giphy
Just because you're working a retail job or a job that's not paying you a salary, doesn't mean they don't deserve the best version of you. Handle yourself in a professional manner and always put your best foot forward. The places you work now might end up being references on your résumé so leave a good impression while you can.
9. Encourage your coworkers, because you might be the only one that does.Giphy
Getting recognition or a compliment at your job can sometimes be far and few between. When it does happen, take it and help it encourage you to keep killin' it at your job. However, your boss is a busy person and they aren't going to be patting your back every time you do what they asked you to do. Take initiate and if you see your coworker doing an awesome job, TELL THEM. Help bring positivity into the workplace by encouraging one another. #goodvibesonly
10. Always be kind to others.Giphy
Who doesn't love a good Leo GIF? *All the heart eyes for this man* But really, if there is anything I have learned it's that kindness and patience can fix anything. Even if things don't work out in your favor or even if they do, always be kind to others and leave them with the best impression of yourself.