I'm currently a rising high school senior, but two years ago, when I attended my first summer internship and worked at my first job, there were several things I was clueless about.
Here are 4 things I wish someone had told me before my first summer job...
What Taxes are Taken out of Each Check?
On my first payday I was confused about how taxes were being deducted from my check. When I first filed out my working papers, I was told I was exempt from tax withholding. However, when I received my first check I noticed that a percentage of my check went to pay pension taxes.
At the time I wasn't aware that everyone in my state paid this tax, regardless of his or her income. I sought help from both my parents and a professional. Depending on your job or where you live, you may be required to pay different taxes. Look over your check with a parent, an older colleague, or a professional to learn more about where exactly your money is going.
I Know I Should Save, But How Do I Actually Do It?
I know it's summer. Who isn't tempted to spend money on trivial things such as movie tickets, clothes, and eating out? That's perfectly fine, as long as you resist the urge to spend everything. Chances are, your parents are not going to sponsor every outing you have with your friends. Think about it this way, if you save money, you don't have to negotiate with your parents every time you want something.
So, how much? Literally, just take $20 each week and set it aside- put it in an envelope in a drawer until you can deposit it into your savings account at the bank. This sounds really basic, but if it's outside your wallet or bag, you will not be tempted to spend it.
How Should I Prepare For Making the Most Out of My Experience?
At your summer job, you will probably be surrounded by some pretty cool people. When I attended my first summer internship, and even now at my current job, many of the people that I met had interesting back-stories. It's always a lot of fun to learn about new people, even if you already have a circle of friends, and these people can help be mentors in the future. I wish I had just asked a few of these people out to get a coffee. Even though they were older, that's what they all seemed to do with each other to build relationships.
Do First Impressions Matter?
Yes. When you are working with a lot of people, your boss probably doesn't have the time to regularly talk with everyone. On the first day of my job, my boss met me promptly at 9:00 a.m. and showed me around, told me the rules, etc. This is one of the only times I was able to talk my boss one-on-one. If you are really excited about your job, now is the time to convey your interest so that you can continue the conversation with your boss later.
If you plan on asking your boss for a recommendation letter, then behave accordingly. Dress nicely, be on time, and talk with your boss. You can talk about anything, so long as you are getting to know each other.