20 tips for crushing your first holiday job!

Make that holiday job a blast
Make that holiday job a blast

It sure would be lovely to wake up one day and have billions of rands fall into your lap. Unfortunately for most of us, that's only happening in our wildest dreams, so a holiday job wouldn't be the worst thing. 

It's nice to be able to earn your own cash, plus you learn so much in the working environment; that's some pretty exciting stuff!

It's normal to be nervous or to not be too keen on the idea but with these simple tips, you'll find it a whole lot easier (or at least I sincerely hope so). 

What advice would you give to a teen starting a new or holiday job? Let us know by emailing us at and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

20 tips for surviving your first holiday job:

1. Show up on time

There's nothing worse than pitching up for your first job late, it leaves a really bad impression. Time is money in the working world and employers are not looking to waste either. As bad as it may sound, you are replaceable to your employers so try not to mess up!

2. Dress accordingly 

So maybe a neon orange golfer doesn't exactly look good with your complexion. Point is, not all jobs are going to have the best dress code. Don't try to make your own changes to the dress code, it is a slap in the face to your company and fellow employees.

3. Accept your position

You're starting from the bottom, and that's okay. I mean, look at Drake, he started from the bottom too (I couldn't resist). You can't expect to walk into a company and get a top job. If you do, that's great, but the rookie days should be embraced. You grow and learn a lot from your experiences.

4. Be helpful 

Nothing shows dedication and willingness to work than always helping out where you can and going the extra mile. It will make a great impression.

5. Actually do your job

It's pretty simple. Familiarise yourself with your job description and stick to it. You're getting paid to do your job so don't not do it, you know? There's always someone who needs a job so don’t be out there slacking. Pulling sick days on weekend shifts or on Monday mornings are also frowned upon...

6. Keep pushing

There will be days that you won't feel too keen on working, or maybe waking up early while everyone else gets to sleep in will feel like torture, but keep pushing through, you'll get accustomed to the lifestyle.

7. Complaining won’t help

Thinking back on some of my previous holiday job experiences, I feel like my attitude towards it definitely put a damper on a lot of my days. If there's any word of advice I can give you, it's that your attitude can really change your whole day, so change it for the better.

8. Make connections 

A new job means you get to meet new people and even make some new friends. However, don't get distracted and spend too much time on friendships and neglect your actual work.

9. Stick to the little rules

Sometimes the "little" rules are implemented, like not being on your cellphone or not leaving your section at a certain time. These may seem like rules that can be easily broken but it's definitely noticeable and will count against you.

10. Don't be afraid to ask for help

You may have people in your workplace that are intimidating or unapproachable but it's better to pluck up the courage and ask for help than to suffer in silence and do something wrong, which may upset your employer even more. It's a good trait to learn too.

11. Take constructive criticism 

Learning how to take constructive criticism will only help you grow. Some people may deliver this criticism in a malicious way, but don't let that affect what you can take from the encounter.

12. Don't let others' attitude affect yours 

Similarly to how you shouldn't let your temporary attitude ruin your day, you shouldn't allow anyone else to do the same. You could be on top of the world and go into a space or be around people who are in a bad mood and suddenly your energy is drained. Don't let someone else's attitude dictate how your day goes.

13. Ask questions, learn things

A new job means new things to learn, no matter what it may be. It doesn't even have to be in the field of work, you can even learn a lot from people and their life experiences too.

14. Network

If you're working in the industry you'd like to end up in one day, talk to people about job opportunities or ask for advice. You could meet just the right person who could give you an opportunity you never thought you'd get. 

15. Always be as kind as possible to customers 

Whoever your customer or client may be, remember that it's always rewarding to be polite, kind and warm. You could make someone's whole day and you'll definitely give the business a good name. 

16. Get enough rest

Try and go to sleep at a decent hour so you can start your day all fresh and ready to get that bread!

17. Make time to enjoy your holiday

Even though you're working, you'll still want to go out, have fun and enjoy your holiday with your friends. That's completely okay, make time to do so. Yes, having a holiday job is great but you should still have a holiday worth remembering. 

18. Make time for self-care 

You may be working long hours or just be generally stressed. If there's one thing you should never neglect, it's your mental health and self-care. If you feel stressed or tired, take the time for a little rejuvenation. Don't let that stress build up.

19. Don't stay in a toxic space

If you find that your workspace makes you extremely anxious or you're being treated poorly, don't put up with it. If you feel you're being overworked and perpetually unhappy, it's not worthwhile. It's not giving up if you're in a situation that's so toxic, it's costing you your sanity.

20. Have fun!

I know this is a pretty typical thing to say, but you really should have fun where you can. It makes the experience memorable for all the good reasons. 

What advice would you give to a teen starting a new or holiday job? Let us know by emailing us at and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

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