Working at your first job is a fantastic opportunity when you’re in your youth. Make the most of your first time in the workforce, and leave a lasting impression behind by following these tips:

1. Ask Questions

Show your supervisor that you are interested and willing to learn. Show initiative and try to research the answer yourself, but do ask questions because it shows your supervisor you are trying to do a great job.

Often things are done a certain way because that is the way they have always been done. You are the fresh new brain, full of ideas. It’s okay to question things that don’t make sense and try to find a better solution.

2. Be Responsible

Show up on time, every day. Take notes when information is being laid out. Be organized and dependable. Trust is a large part of work, so show your supervisor that you can be trusted by paying attention to the details.

3. Be an Ally, Not a Bystander

Bullying is never tolerated in the workplace. If you see something, say something, and encourage people to report. Even though you are just starting out, everyone adds to the culture.

Giving a kind word of understanding to a co-worker can make a big difference if someone is having a bad day. Making people feel supported and part of a team can empower them to face stressful situations knowing they are not alone. You do not need to be the team leader to build team spirit. Take the time to amplify other people’s voices when they are not being heard. Repeat other people’s ideas, give them credit, and help them get the audiences they need.

Make sure that everyone has a safe space to work, and consider your words before you say them.


4. Work Safely

You have the right to refuse unsafe work. You also have the right to request more training on equipment and procedures that you are not familiar with. You can tell your supervisor that you cannot work if you have reason to believe it is not safe, and you can ask to be reassigned to another task until the problem is addressed. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and making sure you are working with proper tools and resources must be respected. It is the law.

Problems might be addressed by adding protective gear, repairing a machine, or changing the process entirely, but change will only happen when you speak up clearly with your concerns.

Working at your first job can seem too small to make a difference, but workplace culture is created or continued every day. You may be there only for a short time, but you can have a big impact if you provide solutions, make people feel heard, and make the workplace a safe space for all.

It is also excellent practice for all your future workplaces and relationships, so go ahead and, as Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world.

Article contributed by Tory McNally, Legacy Bowes