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4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce

4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce- Country Mouse City Spouse Is your teen ready to enter the workplace successfully? See if your teen has any of these awful habits that are going to guarantee their failure.

4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce

Please remember that my intention is to help, not to downgrade or insult anyone.  Please keep comments tame and remember what Grandma said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Almost every week, I go to work, attempt to train a new hire, and see all their bad habits impeding their path.  I’m going to give you my opinion of the to 4 things to teach your teen before they enter the workforce.  These are the four things that I see as the biggest stumbling blocks they encounter in being able to acclimate to life within the workforce.

I am forced to work in a factory at least 40 hours a week, sometimes (like this upcoming week) 50+.  It’s just the way that things worked out for me in my life.  While I’m not the biggest fan of my job and I would love to be doing something else, I believe that everyone should both have to work in a factory setting and on an odd shift at least once in their lifetime.  The factory setting is different than most other places, and it tends to be a paradox of behaviors.  The life experience of meeting and listening to these men and women who have been in a factory for almost double the years that your teenager has been alive is not only learning a skill but humbling.  No one grows up and dreams of working in a factory.

In my company, we are in desperate need of staff.  They pay well, but because of the mannerisms and habits that teens (and a lot of society in general) in this day and age have acquired.  I’m not putting all teens into a large box together and saying that they are all the same.  I’ve met some who are actually happy to be there and to be learning a new skill.  But I have met far more who I just have to walk away from or ignore because I can tell after one conversation that I am not going to enjoy their company.

Huge Turnover Rates

I do not know if this is a parenting issue, a generational issue, or just some weird step in the cycle of evolution that I do not seem to understand.  I do know, however, that once these kids leave your home and step out on the factory floor, I can see that somewhere down the line they missed out on something preparing them for this experience.  The turnover rate for new hires is staggering, with almost 45% of new hires leaving within 3-6 months.

4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce- Country Mouse City Spouse Is your teen ready to enter the workplace successfully? See if your teen has any of these awful habits that are going to guarantee their failure.

Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce
#1. Consequences are Real

This is my favorite.  It’s so staggeringly irritating (and I’ve been exposed to it so many times) that I just have to laugh when I think about it.  I am in my early 40’s, female, and probably similar to these kids moms or mom’s friends.  I look a little “motherly” with my t-shirt, jeans, and ponytail.  I’m outgoing, friendly, and I try to make the poor thing comfortable in this situation.  (Hey, I remember being new and uncomfortable, too.)

It backfires.  A lot.

As soon as they get comfortable with me, the trying to learn seems to stop and they stand there and just let me do the job when they are clearly supposed to be doing it in order to learn.  There are many times when I end up just giving up trying to teach them anything.  Not because I don’t want them to learn, but because I am not their babysitter.  I should not be the one having to repeatedly tell them that they need to be doing this.

Where I think the problem lies….

I can only speak from the examples of parenting that I see on a regular basis.  The trend I see of parents threatening their children without follow through I think is stifling these poor kids in their transition into the workforce.  How many times do you tell your child, “If you don’t clean your room, then you aren’t going to the movies.” only to give in and let them go even though their room is clearly not clean?  They do not seem to realize that in the real world if they do not follow direction and do what they are told, there ARE consequences.  If they do not do their job, they will not get a paycheck.  Simple.

 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce
#2. They Are Not “Special” to Everyone

This I just do not understand.  I can’t even truly explain it because it boggles the mind.  I know parents want their children to grow up feeling special, loved and safe within the confines of their homes and relationships.  Somehow, though, this idea of being special has broadened in their mind to somehow they think that the rest of the world is also on board with how special they are.  I don’t know if this has something to do with internet fame or reality stars or what.  It’s just so bizarre to me that within 5 minutes of meeting me, this kid seems to think they are so special that I already want to do all I can to make their life easier.

Yes, your kids should be special to you.  But are you expanding the boundaries outside of your home?

The best example of this is the story of the father who took his child to the pool.  This man’s child was running on the wet concrete and a lifeguard stopped the child and explained the rules of the pool.  The man was absolutely livid at the lifeguard for correcting HIS child.  This man essentially just told his child (and everyone within earshot) that he was so special that he did not have to abide by the rules and regulations of the pool.

Teaching your child that they do not have to listen to other adults is also dooming them to failure.  Teach them the danger (I know all adults aren’t good) of some grown-ups, but if your neighbor or an aunt corrects your child for inappropriate behavior, don’t tell your child they don’t have to listen.  Or, from personal experience, the parents who teach their child to act one way around certain people but that they can continue the behavior once ‘so and so’ have left.  They are not teaching that the behavior is wrong, just not to do it around certain people.  Talk about confusing to the poor kid.

4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce- Country Mouse City Spouse Is your teen ready to enter the workplace successfully? See if your teen has any of these awful habits that are going to guarantee their failure.

 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce
#3. They Still Have to Learn

Somewhere, somehow, society has gotten the idea that unskilled labor means just that.  There a misconception that with factory work (or any unskilled labor) that anyone can walk in and do it.  Whatever the categorization of what I do, it’s still labor.  It’s still hard work.  There is still a learning curve.

I don’t know where society came to the conclusion that the only true “career” path is sitting in an office in some corporation.  There is some kind of air of entitlement surrounding today’s influx of new members of the workforce.  Unless the job matches their idea of “dream job” no one seems to value the experience in and of itself.

Aren’t understanding my perspective?  Here’s an experiment for you.  Most of us have a cordless drill or screwdriver in our homes.  Go grab that and a handful of screws.  Now, set a timer for 1 minute.  Take that handful of screws.  Roll them in your hand to load them onto the screwdriver tip.  Shoot them into a piece of wood.  The goal is 16 screws shot completely and perfectly in 60 seconds.  That is what I do every day.  I did the math once.   In an average day in the factory I work in and the area that I work in, I shoot over 7,000 screws a day.  I do not think that there are a lot of people who can walk in the door and do that immediately.

Just like physics or calculus, it takes some time to learn how to do and apply the theory to practical application.

Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce
#4.  Constructive Criticism is NOT Bullying

Here is where I may jump up on my soapbox for a bit.

Bullying is awful, and yes it is a problem for a lot of people and we need to stop it.  With that being said, just because I criticize the method in which they are attempting to learn and make the effort to show them what may be a better way to do the job within the standards of quality and within the time restraint allowed, I am not bullying them.

When I have to train a new hire, the supervisor does not turn down the assembly line speed.  There is not extra quality control in order to fix or scrap the units that they scratch or otherwise damage.  I have to teach them exactly what I do in real-time conditions.  The job must be done.  I have been “told on” for bullying someone because I had to take the gun out of their hand in order to make sure that the job is still completed before it leaves my work area.

Remember that episode ofI Love Lucy” when Lucy and Ethel worked in a factory and had to keep up with the speed of the conveyor?

Check out the clip on IMDB here.

The conveyor belt sped up, and they were unable to keep up so they were stuffing the candy in their pockets and started attempting to eat it all.  While it was comedic to watch, in real life things like that do happen. People are unable to keep up.  When I step in, it is because the situation warrants it.  Kind of like in the theater, “the job must go on”.

Teaching your teen that a negative comment about their methods is not a negative comment about them as people can help them understand that in high-pressure situations. Things are done and said quickly.  Honestly, I have to worry about doing my job (and keeping my income) over worrying about what my tone of voice sounds like to them.

It is different than being exposed to someone calling them stupid or otherwise downgrading them as a person.  The exact statement that I made that was viewed as bullying was, “You can’t just miss screws.  You have to tell me or try harder.”  This was not meant in any derogatory way toward them as people. Once I had fixed the problem I explained that if our screws are not shot, bare metal parts are loose and may fall and seriously injure the next person who is doing their job under the assumption that everything is sturdy.  My concern for bodily harm to the next person should be more important than me hurting their feelings.

I am not attacking anyone as parents.

I am not saying that everyone whom I have come into contact with in my time training new hires has had these issues.  What I am saying is that these are the most apparent issues that I am seeing in today’s young people coming into my place of employment.  Making sure that your teen does not have these bad habits can change their work ethic and their long-term success.  While they may be working just an entry-level job or just over the summer before they leave for college, the work ethic they learn now can be an asset in their future endeavors.

Want more data on how our youth is impacting our workforce?

Visit the Youth Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

Visit US News for information on teen employment and why I believe these factors are very important for today’s youth.

Great leaders don’t tell you what to do… they show you how it’s done.  ∼Alessandro Berselli

4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce- Country Mouse City Spouse Is your teen ready to enter the workplace successfully? See if your teen has any of these awful habits that are going to guarantee their failure.

4 Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Enter the Workforce


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