Younger generation must adopt professionalism

by | Nov 22, 2013 | Opinion

Ashley Cowell

Ashley Cowell, News Editor

After working in a few different retail environments over the past six years, I have noticed a trend within an age demographic that needs a sharp dose of reality.

A couple weeks ago, when I got to work in the late afternoon, I saw my boss had a 20-year old woman ready to interview for a part time position. The woman came for the interview dressed in jeans, sneakers, and had pink streaks through her hair. She didn’t come with her resume and she didn’t shake the manager’s hand upon introduction. No matter how well the interview went, it was obvious that the girl wouldn’t get hired.

She didn’t.

This incident made me think of past co-workers who hadn’t followed a dress code. It made me think of those same people who started working with us only to quit a short time later, usually on short notice and in a few cases via text message. Sometimes they just stopped showing up for shifts altogether.

Whatever happened to professionalism, especially in a time when the youth ‘unemployment’ is such a big problem in Ontario? There is no denying the problem of joblessness. Just this past September, media reports revealed last year’s unemployment rates for Ontarians aged 15 to 24 stood at 16.9 per cent, with Toronto itself at 18.1 per cent. This isn’t a case of getting through post-secondary school and being unable to find a job in a field of choice. It is simply a case of young people being unable to find work anywhere.

Of course, once startling statistics come out, there are a slew of people looking to explain them. Some have said the government is not doing enough and Ontario responded with a $300-million plan that will be implemented within the next year.

I will not deny there are obstacles in finding a job. This past spring I was stuck in a rut and ended up losing my part-time job. The hunt for a new job had to start immediately. I was unemployed for a month and a half and in that time sent out 50 resumes, applying for customer service and restaurant positions Sad to say, I only heard back from three. Yet, from those three, I managed to secure and keep a job.

When it comes down to it, aside from the obstacles, the jobs are out there. Otherwise, a 21-year-old student like myself wouldn’t have found one. Through my own experiences I have discovered what is truly lacking, in most instances, is the lack of effort in not only finding a job but keeping that job once it is obtained.

This is the dose of reality: it is time to stop blaming the government or the industry for the lack of employment. Let’s step up and do our part in solving this unemployment issue.

Youth Employment Services offer workshops to assist youth with basic job-finding skills such as resume building, mock interviews and resources to finding employment. This is all essential information and I strongly encourage every person to take some kind of career-readying workshop. There are career centers in high schools and in colleges which can also be helpful. More important, though, is something that cannot necessarily be taught in an afternoon workshop.

The development of a selfless, ready-to-work attitude is essential for every entry-level job. Still being young means having the energy to deal with these jobs, which can include the manual labour and long shifts that older people shouldn’t have to do. The sought-after jobs that include sitting at a desk from nine to five and having weekends off are there for the people older than us who have already worked hard to deserve these luxuries. Rather than fretting about having to work every Saturday night or not getting holidays off, why not work through it and think about how enjoyable it will be to have those weekends off in the future and be grateful to have earned them through hard, dedicated work?

There are lots of jobs out there, especially at this time of the year. It is time to sacrifice those weekends off, trade in street clothes for company dress code and leave casual talk outside in order to create some quality working relationships. While creativity and originality have a place, rules and expectations are set in every workplace and should be followed. As long as they are ethical and legal, there should be no reason to argue against them.

It’s time to take the high road and become devoted to the hard working, rule-following lifestyle. Trust me, it really isn’t that bad and in the end it is better than being part of a statistic that people see as a burden on society.