Saturday, November 9, 2013

How to get a job. If I could do it, you can too.

Yesterday Matt Walsh wrote a post called, "Some people don't deserve a living wage." What I got out of that post was how I'd like to tell my stories about how I learned the value of money, how I got my first job and jobs there after. Then after becoming a business owner, what I now look for in employees. If this post can help give someone the confidence they need, then it was worth telling.

When I was a kid, my parents didn't have a large income. We lived in an unfinished house (was a small cabin when they bought it). Little by little they finished off parts of the house. My dad is a jack-of-all-trades and he, with other contractor buddies, would add on sections at a time to make the house larger and more beautiful. They let the three of us kids know early on that they would not just hand us money when we wanted it. They would not be able to afford to put us through college. And they would not buy us a car. They were kind enough to give us a weekly allowance of $5 per week, I always thought that was a lot when I was younger and just made me more careful with it as I got older. My dad taught me the now famous "Dave Ramsey's Cash Budget" system before it was popular. I had: tithe, travel, spending, saving, and clothing envelopes. Those would change names and dollar amounts from time to time. He encouraged me to never get credit cards as they can suck you into their evil lair and clean you out in no time. I thank my father for this basic training and it has provided me with a good foundation for my lifetime.

When I turned 11 or 12 I got a lot of babysitting jobs and added those monies to my envelope system. (For boys out there, lawn mowers are needed! Undercut the fancy lawn service that is currently mowing your neighbor's lawn, and get to work!)

When I was 14 my aunt and uncle moved to Australia and they were going to adopt another baby...then she found out she was pregnant. This would be the only pregnancy of hers she would be able to carry full term. She basically had twins and wanted me to come stay with them for the summer. I could not pull off paying for the trip that year, so I got a regular babysitting job that summer at a neighbor's house and saved up enough to fly to Australia the following summer. My parents paid for my passport and many other expenses related to the trip, but I distinctly remember handing the travel agent $1500 in cash to pay for my tickets. That's a lot of money for a 15-yr-old kid.

When I came home I only had my drivers permit at the time, but my mother was willing to drive with me to the nearby town only 3 miles away. She told me it was time to get a job.

I was 15. There are laws about hiring a 15-yr-old. I was also the most bashful teenager I'd ever met. My mother had me choose from a store that had higher turnover, I chose Safeway. She told me that I would brush my hair, put on good clothes, go in there, ask to speak to the manager, introduce myself and ask if they were hiring bag-boys (girls). If the answer was no, I would ask again in 4 days and not give up until I got a job.

The first time I went in I found the assistant manager. He gave me an application and sent me on my way. I returned with the application the next day and gave it to him, so he'd see my pretty little face. I came back in 4 days and asked again if they were hiring, he said no. I returned in 4 more days and asked him again. This time he remembered me, he twisted his face and said, "I wish I was... but I don't have anything right now." I went back the next week and he said, "There you are! I couldn't find your application so I could call you. I want to hire you today!" We headed upstairs and he did a quick interview, he had me re-fill out an application and I was informed of my new schedule.

Why was I hired? Because I did not give up. I showed determination, even if it was my mother providing the backbone and push to get me there...I am the one who found him while she waited in the car for me. I am the one who got that job and I worked there for two years. I was even able to use my work towards my high school credits, it was great! Did I love being a baggar? Hell no. It's hard work. I hurt my back, it snowed a lot, pushing carts in the snow is really terrible, I had to wear a skirt, I had to carry 2 dinky bags to cars outside with a smile on my face, I had to load bags of dog food into the back of giant pick-up trucks. I built muscles, integrity and confidence. And most of all, I had to put aside my bashfulness for the sake of good customer service.

After I turned 16 I started helping in the bakery when the store was slow. They were teaching me the ropes and soon realized that I could be a valuable member of the bakery team. I was transferred back there and given a raise and trained on our small cash register. I was moving up.

Later they wanted me to be a checker and I went through checker training. It was fun. I was not as fast as I wanted to be, I have never been a fast paced person. I really wasn't a good checker, I didn't move my rear. I started getting longer hours up in the check stand and one Sunday they assigned me to 8 hours in the Express line out in an Anchorage store in a not-nice part of town. That was one of the most miserable days ever. Cranky customers with a new checker who could move quickly in an EXPRESS line...not a good combo.

I started looking elsewhere. Three of my girlfriends had cool jobs at our local "Copy Center". I wanted to work there with them so badly. It was low key, not many customers, using computers to lay out brochures/fliers/business cards, etc. But the owner already had more workers than he really needed. That did not stop me. I looked at my schedule at Safeway and told the owner at the Copy Center what days I could work. For free. My home-girls could train me for two weeks, then he could decide if he wanted to hire me or not. It worked! He hired me after two weeks of volunteer training,

When I graduated I wanted to go visit my grandpa and uncle on their farm in MI. My uncle had told me anytime I wanted to come visit I could have a job alongside the other teenagers in the town planting or harvesting strawberry plants for him. I adored my cousins and had a glorious 3 week visit working HARD every day, passing out on their recliner, eating giant cucumbers from their garden, driving three wheelers around their farm, playing with the barn kittens, swimming in their river, visiting my grandpa, indulging in my aunt's mid-western cooking, and getting the best farmers tan of my life. It was the most amazing working vacation.

I returned to barely having a job at the Copy Center, my hours had been drastically cut. My dad was a manager at the glass shop in Anchorage and offered me a job. I was their "go-for" girl, basically their servant. I would sneak up to the front and get trained on the computer when I had time and soon enough I was transferred to another store to be their "CSR" (customer service rep) and work the front counter for them.

I got married. I got a new boss and he was a jerk. My husband encouraged me to quit and not work for an ass who accused me of stealing from the 'till and who enjoyed checking out my front-side instead of looking me in the eyes. So I quit. But then I was bored.

So I walked into the cutest little deli restaurant and convinced the owner that he needed me, I had a flexible schedule, didn't have kids and could pay me what ever he liked 'cause I was bored and my husband now paid the bills. I worked there for the summer and had a blast.

I know how to work hard. I also know how to play hard. I can be lazy or choose to hustle. It's all a choice, a decision I make every day. Thanks to having kids most of my slowness has disappeared and I passed it on to one of my kids. My mother giggles about that.

I can never thank my mother enough for giving me the pep talks that I needed and really pushing me to get that job at Safeway. What an invaluable lesson I learned. I know that no matter what, I can always get a job if I ever were to need one. Will I make as much as I want? Maybe not, but it's hard to bosses not to notice good workers and if they are smart they pay them well to keep them around.

Now as a business owner of 10 years, I am disappointed in the work force of today. I want someone to waltz in and ask me for a job every 4 days so that I can see that if they are that determined. Because if they are that determined to get a job, they will be a fantastic worker. I have poached one employee from Sears after seeing her confidence and professionalism. My bashful self tried rearing it's ugly head and I almost didn't ask her. It was like I was asking someone on a date...I feel sorry for guys. But I did it, I turned around, handed her my business card and said, "If you are interested in working for me, please give me a call." She called me and worked diligently for me for two years until she moved out of state. I have had a couple amazing employees and a couple real doozies, that is really difficult to deal with.

Since I have turned into a confident, capable adult I have been offered two different jobs out of the blue. And I had to turn them down. What an honor to have someone recognize your strengths and ask you to work for them!

I am all for poaching. Why should I post a job opening, wade through applications, listen to people maybe tell the truth about themselves in an thanks. If you are a good hard working employee at your grocery store or local McDonald's it will show! Keep your head up, shoulders back, speak clearly, work hard, move fast. It makes a difference, I promise you! You will stand out from the crowd. You may get offered a job or if nothing else a better position in your company!

If you have a bright idea and think you can start a company. By all means, try! Being a business owner is fulfilling and rewarding. Hustling is a must. There is nobody there to keep it afloat besides you. If you are young and can live off of ramen and tuna then try it. Even if it is not a "success" you will learn a ton. If you put "owned a business" on your resume, that will get you big brownie points.

I truly believe everyone is capable of getting a job; be confident, respect yourself, put in clean clothes, speak up and keep going back and talking to the same person until they can't tell you no anymore. Be willing to take little money and work hard. Volunteer at a smaller business if you would die to work there, your time will pay off. You have to stand out from the crowd, this is a huge start.

I nabbed this adorable picture from here. Of course, this advise is for men or women. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.


Maye Johnson said...

I have to mention that without Anna's knowledge I called the bakery at Safeway the day before Thanksgivig. She answered the phone. Putting on a very scrathcy elderly, feeble woman's voice I begged her for a huge and unreasonable order for the next day. I could not get over her patience, kindness and willingness to help me. I soon succumbed to laughing and she to relief when I disclosed it was her mother. I probably just needed her to pick up a few things before returning home. It was a nice arrangement. She had my car, money for groceries and the list!

AKmamaOf6 said...

I forgot about that call 'till just now. :)