Make a part time job more than a soul sucking black hole. Every experience has value. Here is how to make the most of any position.
1. Build relationships.
Take an genuine interest in getting to know your boss, customers, clients and peers. You never know how your paths will cross in the future. Good people and relationships make any job enjoyable. Some of my best friends are people I have worked with in the past. They made taking burger orders…fun. In addition, falling in love with the kids I babysat, opened more doors than I can count.
2. Be mindful.
Instead of plugging away at monotonous tasks or zoning out for hours on end with the aid of your phone. Consider what your duties and responsibilities are teaching you. A few examples,
- Not mindful: bored, sit in the hot sun all day doing nothing.
- Mindful: It takes patience, responsibility and stamina to remain vigilant for hours on end. Certifications such as CPR, First Aid are also valuable in other positions and areas of study such as medicine, nursing, and child care.
- Not mindful: play with kids all day, watch movies.
- Mindful: It takes maturity, responsibility and critical thinking to manage schedules, and the uncertainty that comes with caring for kids. It is an opportunity to practice teaching and building relationships. It takes a special person to earn the trust of both parents and children. Kids also have a way of teaching humility. What are the kids are teaching you?
- Not mindful: Take peoples orders, one after another.
- Mindful: Successfully processing transactions, providing customer care and making people smile is a skill. It also makes your job a bit easier when people are happy! As a waitress, I remember my tips increasing 3 fold by simply smiling and welcoming customers. It also makes working with demanding clients enjoyable. It’s hard to be mean to someone who is smiling.
3. Take on challenges.
Volunteer for jobs, projects, tasks and other opportunities. If it scares you, do it. At the very least you will learn. When a future employer asks you ‘Give an example of challenge you overcame’ or ‘Give an example of a time you took initiative’ you will have a good answer.
4. Be curious.
Ask questions and take every opportunity to learn. Going out of your way to learn about new things not only makes things more interesting, but will lead you to learn more than you’d ever expect. You are responsible for your education.
5. Express gratitude.
Last, but THE most important. Say thank you. When it comes time to move on to your next opportunity or head back to school tell your boss thank you. A hand written note left on their desk is a great way to make an impact and ensure doors are left open. Never burn a bridge.