Why Everyone Should Work in Customer Service

It’s no secret that customer service jobs are some of the least coveted positions in today’s job market. These jobs are often a combination of the least desirable tasks that a workplace has to offer, many of which are jobs that people try to avoid doing even in their own homes: dishwashing, floor scrubbing, food preparation, and the dreaded customer service. Entry-level workers have to deal with disgusting spills and stains, smelly uniforms, and the ever-common disgruntled customer, all for a measly $7.25 an hour. While these jobs may sound unappealing, they are often the only type of jobs that high schoolers just entering the workforce can obtain.

While the average high schooler might read the above description and think, “Wow, it sounds like getting a job in high school really isn’t for me. I’ll just wait until I graduate high school or college, and then I can get a job that pays much better and won’t require me to do any of that grunt work.” Well, what the authors of this article would say to you, O hypothetical high school student, is stop right there! Think no more about how truly awful having a part time job is, because, as both of us have learned from personal experience, it really isn’t!

Having a job while in high school provides incredibly valuable life lessons about how to coexist and deal with other people in the real world. Working in any type of a customer service position, you’re bound to meet people of all different kinds from all different places, even if you’re working in Brookfield. Often, dealing with a menagerie of people is extremely humanizing; it is not until you experience a rude customer from the other side of the counter that you evaluate your own behavior in those situations.

For example, teenagers in particular are notorious for entering stores or restaurants and acting obnoxiously. After working a long, tiring shift, the last thing an employee wants to deal with is an immature or impolite high schooler. If more teenagers had work experience in similar positions, they would have a sense of empathy towards these workers and would be kinder and more understanding. If more teenagers knew what it was like to work a busy Friday night in a restaurant or an 8 hour retail shift, they would leave better tips, be more patient, and overall have more respect for other establishments and their workers.

Although it is important for people of all ages to treat minimum wage workers with respect and to experience customer service employment, working in these positions as a teenager is especially valuable. Not only does it help break the obnoxious teenager stereotype, but it also provides young adults with many benefits. Joining the workforce at a young age helps people gain financial independence earlier on in life, so students can start paying for their own gas, buying their own clothing, or even starting to save for college, just to name a few uses. In addition, having a job provides new responsibilities, which help build a work ethic as well as improve time management skills.

Aside from the personally beneficial aspects, having a part time job can also benefit a high schooler’s image towards others. Simply put, having a part time job looks good on a resume and is bound to make a college applicant a more competitive candidate. Also, the communication skills earned through working with customers can prove pivotal to future interviews, internships, and careers.

While having a part time job may not be feasible for everyone, due to family obligations or a particularly demanding school year, there are certainly ways to make it work. Even working two shifts a month at a job solely in the summer still can provide the same benefits and skills as a more demanding job. No matter what the position or time commitment, the experiences and responsibilities of a customer service job are important in preparing students for experiences beyond the world of high school.