Dear Evil HR Lady
I am a 15 year old high school student who will be starting his first summer job this summer. The question I want to ask you is, What are several basic steps one can do to avoid being fired from his or her job? For example, what did your subordinates do in order to be on your good side, and to prevent you from firing them?
First, if I had a summer job, I would hire you. But I don’t, so I can’t. But I can already tell that being fired won’t be a problem for you.
At fifteen, you’re likely to be in an unskilled, entry level job–restaurants, grocery stores, theme parks, yard work, etc. (I understand landscaping companies pay better than fast food, by the way. It’s harder work, out in the sun, but no grease!)
Most of the people you will be working with will be young and inexperienced as well. So, I’m going to change your goal of “avoiding being fired” to “be the manager’s favorite employee and hopefully get a raise by the end of summer and at least a guarenteed job next year.” Boy, that was a poorly written goal!
Anyway, this advice is coming from someone who has not only had people reporting to her, but was also Burger King Employee of the Month (I have a plaque and everything). Here are the steps:
1. Be on time. Every day.
2. Dress appropriately. If you’re at a place with a uniform, wear it with your shirt tucked in and the proper shoes. If no uniform, check out the dress code and follow it.
3. No bad language. Ever.
4. Smile and be helpful to the customers. Always. Customers are sometimes idiots, but you be nice. If a customer gets belligerant, call the manager over.
5. Work while you are there. I realize this seems obvious, but it’s not. If there are no customers, straighten shelves or wipe down counters. Fold clothes. Volunteer to help someone else.
6. Manager ask you to do something stupid, like wear a cow suit and stand in front of the store? Do it anyway.
7. Be responsible.
8. Go above and beyond in your customer service.
9. When Evil HR Lady comes in, give her a discount. (Just kidding–do not hand out discounts to ANYONE, including your obnoxious Aunt Joan, without your manager’s approval.)
10. Have fun working.
If you do these things, not only will you not be fired, you’ll soar at work. Everyone of us has worked that first job. It’s scary and it’s hard, but you’ll do fabulously well.
I welcome other suggestions for our job hunting friend.
Evil HR Lady