Since the age of 15 I have held a part-time job working in the food industry. That’s 7 years! Why the food industry? I love food of course! Okay, that isn’t exactly why I have always worked in the food industry. I mainly just wanted a job while I was in high school to pay for extra things, like going out with friends to the movies, that I hated borrowing money from my family for. I never imagined how beneficial the part-time positions I held would actually turn out to be. Below are a few things I have taken away from various part time positions I have held.
- Work Ethic. Having a part time job while you are in high school and/or college really helps boost your work ethic. I come from a very hardworking family anyways, but getting a job at the age of 15 really taught me about work ethic. I have worked in several different restaurant settings, and each one has shown me different types of work ethic from coworkers. It has helped to mold me into a very hardworking and motivated individual.
- Leadership. While I have been in school here at Western Carolina University, I have held a part-time job at Subway. Throughout these past few years I have gained the trust from upper management to help train new employees, and as of last week was promoted to Store Manager. While I have no plans of furthering my career at Subway once I graduate with my PR degree (unless corporate is in need of a PR pro of course), working my way up the career ladder at Subway has shown me how hard work and dedication in the future will pay off.
- Time Management. This is so important to have throughout life. Learning to be on time to work is a skill you will need to possess outside of college and a part time job. Something I learned in high school marching band has carried over into the work side of my life. Early is on time, on time is late, and late… well if you’re late, you’re screwed. Always be at least five minutes early! It shows you care. Along with being on time, when you are at work you need to make sure you set aside enough time to fulfill each task you have that day. Let’s face it, in the PR industry we have to be pretty awesome at managing our time, along with multi-tasking, hence why we are attached to our smart phones!
- Balance. My senior year in high school I took on two jobs, marching band, and was a full-time student. Yes, this was tough. However, it taught me very early on how important balance really is. Thinking back on it now I have no idea how I managed to have a life outside of all of these things, but I did! While working two jobs didn’t last very long (I enjoy my social life), it did teach me that taking on too many things can be bad. Like I said before, I enjoy my social life, and I also enjoy family time. Working in the PR industry is time consuming, we students are aware of this. Therefore we have to find a good, healthy balance between work, social life, and family time. Too much work is not always a good thing! Sometimes your mind needs a break.
- Communication Skills. One thing I wish my high school offered was a communications class. I feel like every high school should, because communication is so important out in the real world. Having a part time job has taught me how to effectively communicate with co-workers. For instance, I work morning and night shifts at four different Subway’s (they are all owned by the same guy). Doing this requires extreme communication with coworkers. All four stores operate a little differently, so I cannot be afraid to ask questions and find out answers to be able to work to my full potential. In the real world you have to be able to possess this skill! Communication really is key in the work world, and life in general.
- Customer Service. We all know the customer is always right, right? If I have taken anything away from working in the food industry (I’m sure this goes for any retail industry… I know it does for Mary Kay as well, because I sold their products for a year) it’s that customer service skills are so important to have. Working in PR we will be faced with circumstances where we will have to deal with the consumers/customers of our clients. It is so important to understand how you should approach situations, and I must say, dealing with very hungry people at Subway, or when I was a waitress, is a great way to build those customer service skills. Hungry customers are not a force to be reckoned with!
Have you ever had a part time job? If so, how has it helped prepare you for the real world? If no, do you feel well prepared for the real world anyways?