Are your teens/students ready to excel in the workplace? Here is a story from our area of how one teen chose pleasure over work. If you’re a teacher, parent, or guardian, it would be a valuable case to discuss with the adolescents under your guidance. It directly addresses some of the concerns employers are expressing about their younger workers. Here goes. . .
An Italian family moved to Port Smalltown (not the real name) to establish a new restaurant, living out their dream. Because of their incredible food, staff, and service, it quickly became a hit with the locals. This family poured their heart and soul into their business and was very supportive of the community. That included hiring some area high school students to help fund their college education. One such student (not her real name) was Shelby.
With training, Shelby soon became a valuable employee. She received great tips due to her exceptional service and was given additional hours as a reward. Go Shelby!
But one day, at 4:55 p.m., Shelby called in sick for her 5:00 p.m. work shift. Not surprisingly, the owner was very disappointed with this news. Somehow, they would have to address the problem. Customers were lining up outside to dine, anticipating a great experience.
Then, imagine the owner’s surprise when a co-worker announced 20 minutes later that Shelby was posting pictures on Instagram from a nearby beach party. Judging by the pictures, Shelby was having the time of her life.
The next day, Shelby arrived at the restaurant at 4:45 p.m. to begin her evening shift. She was promptly taken aside by the owner and fired on the spot.
Assignment: Decisions have consequences. Make a list of Shelby’s infractions with the actions she took. What leadership and character qualities did Shelby fail to exhibit and why do you think she was fired over this? What attitudes do you think guided her behavior? What did she lose by her actions and what lessons do you hope she learned?
Some readers may think examples like this are rare, but trust us, they are not. The greatest complaints we hear from employers involve work ethic, dependability, and professionalism. We encourage you to explore our What I Wish I Knew at 18 book and curriculum which holistically builds the leadership and soft skills young people need to succeed. (And, hopefully, to avoid situations like Shelby’s!).