A while ago a friend gave me this list of ‘Ten Things that Require Zero Talent’. While I don’t know the author, I liked the l message and decided to apply the simple list to all those young people who are either out there looking for a job or those already on the job. These simple things are free but invaluable as they reflect back on who you are or want to be.
1. Be on time—This shows respect and maturity. If you’re late all the time it sends a message that you think your time is more important than others. To get a rep for constantly being late shows arrogance on your part and is definitely not a joke. Use your phone reminder, alarms, and clock—there’s no excuse to be late. Oh, and if you’re late all the time, you’re going to find yourself fired.
2. Work ethic—You should always show up ready, willing, and prepared to work. Period. Arrive a few minutes early for your shift, clean, pressed and prepared. Don’t walk in at the last minute still having to put your belongings away. A strong work ethic is a sign of someone who cares and understands that hard work is a reflection of dedication and self-esteem.
3. Make an effort—This means actually expending some energy and using some common sense. Take some pride in what you do whether it’s slinging burgers, sweeping a sidewalk, or stacking shelves. The quality of your work is a reflection on you. The fact that an employer is paying for your time means that you need to put forth an effort to succeed. Use your physical and mental abilities to get things done. I believe in you.Making an effort also goes into so many avenues of a person. It’s about taking a shower, getting to work on time, showing up to life…It’s not always easy. If you know that something like anxiety is an issue you may need to formulate a plan. I know you can do it—now convince yourself you can too.
4. Body language— It drives me crazy to see a young person (or any person for that matter) standing around ignoring the customers, chatting with buddies, or flipping through their phone when they’re supposed to be working. You’re there to do a job. Put those shoulders back, stand tall, and get it done. And, don’t shrug your shoulders when asked a question, it’s rude and unprofessional.
5. Energy—This is very closely related to body language and effort. If you’re yawning and acting bored then it’s a message that you want to be elsewhere. Hey, I get it. Work can be tedious and tiresome but it’s also necessary and it’s up to you to do it to the best of your ability. Energy is something that is completely within your power. Sometimes all it takes is for you to give your head a shake and wake up a bit and then smile and move forward. Shift your mood to lift your energy.
6. Attitude— is all up to you. If you don’t care about what you’re doing it will shine through your attitude. Being rude, dismissive, and or impolite are all a choice and totally unacceptable. Choose instead to be professional, mature, and kind. It’ll take you a lot further in life.
7. Passion—This may be something that comes over time and something to work towards. I know I wasn’t passionate per se about my jobs when I was young but I sure liked to get paid. My passion came through in education and choosing my career path.
8. Be coachable—Know and recognize that you don’t have all the answers in the world. There are many with life experience and knowledge that can make your life easier. Listen when someone talks. Be willing to learn and try a different way of doing things…you may be surprised.
9. Do extra—This speaks for itself really in that going the extra mile for someone can come back and reward you ten-fold in the future. Don’t stand around and wait to be told what to do. Take some initiative and go for it. “Doing” for others is a positive thing.
10. Be prepared— This doesn’t take a lot of effort but is so important. It could mean washing your uniform, making sure you gassed up the night before or getting enough sleep. It could also mean meditating and mentally preparing for the challenge. The thing to remember is that it’s up to you to prepare. Know your schedule—it shouldn’t be a shock that you suddenly face. Write things down or take a picture—it’s not rocket science.
Good luck. Remember these things don’t cost you anything. I know you can do it.