The habits that you develop in school will set the tone for the rest of your life. From when you hand in your homework, to how many hours you spend studying for a test, these habits are crucial for workplace success—the same can be said about an “entry-level” job. Whether it is as an administrative assistant, server, or customer service representative, young workers can learn a lot about the value of hard work through positions like these. 

As someone who started working as a paperboy at age 12, Dan Orfin of Troy, Michigan, knows how important these first employment opportunities can be. As the founder of Orfin & Associates and the Dan Orfin Scholarship Program, Dan Orfin knows the value of education and practical work experience.  

The Purpose of Entry-Level Jobs

Dan Orfin explains that ‘entry-level’ jobs are training grounds for young workers and give them an idea of what it is they do and do not like. If they find themselves working in a restaurant, they may discover that they have a passion for interacting with customers, a propensity for memorizing orders, or excel at organizing teams. 

There is value in every experience, as even finding out what you do not like about a position is a great way to discover what you do like. These positions can be a great determinant in defining your career goals. 

Follow Your Passion

People tend to excel in positions or industries they feel passionate about, and the same goes for entry-level positions. Dan Orfin advises young workers to start an entry-level position in a field they have an interest in. 

If you are interested in veterinary practice, work as a front-desk administrative assistant. If you are interested in graphic design, work as a coffee runner in a marketing studio. If you are interested in the culinary arts, work as a line cook. While any job for a young professional may be able to instill a positive work ethic in them, ensuring that the job aligns with their interests is a great way to make an investment in their future beyond that position at McDonalds. 

Learning Your Strengths

Entry-level positions provide an opportunity for young workers to learn about conduct in a professional environment. Dan Orfin explains that as an employee, you will learn how to communicate with superiors and peers, receive constructive feedback, and compete tasks efficiently. You may discover that you are an excellent problem solver, leader, or organizer. Being able to tap into your skill set to complete tasks and work towards a common goal is an excellent way to instill confidence in young workers. However, the best way to encourage the development of these skills is to have a great leader.

Dan Orfin’s Final Thoughts

Not all entry-level jobs are created the same. Inspiring work ethic is driven by great leadership, and if you do not like who you work for, you might not produce the best work. Being able to step away from a toxic, uninspiring, and unsupportive leader is a great lesson to learn, but can stagnate your growth and even impede it.

Dan Orfin says that a great first entry-level position is guided by a manager willing to support you, allows you opportunities to grow, and provides constructive criticism. Not all entry-level jobs will be able to provide this environment, but it is worth seeking out one that does.