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Summer jobs for teenagers; Beware abusive establishments

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Summertime is around the corner and most of our high school kids like to work to make some extra money. This is great for our teenagers because they learn the value of the dollar and they learn to be disciplined. My first job was at Dunkin Donuts and I remember the experience with gratitude for my boss who taught me how to make coffee, greet a customer, serve with a smile, and never stop working while on the clock. My boss said If there are no customers I don´t want to see you just standing. You can clean, organize or restock until the next customer comes in the door. To this I added the excitement of Fridays when I got paid and so my first job was one of the memorable experiences of my teenage years. I learned many lessons that helped me in the future especially with other jobs. With that said, getting a job for the first time is a great experience when you work for a good company.

On the other hand, if you’re adolescent gets a job at a company with untrained managers they can be targeted for abuse because of their inexperience in the workforce, they can get sick and lose complete interest in working. My son unfortunately, had a very bad experience at his first job. I remember how enthusiastic he looked for a job and then his excitement when he was hired but then I noticed how it became difficult and frustrating for him towards the end.
As a parent I feel it is my duty to inform other parents of the practices of a company named Steak and Shake. This company should be your teenager’s last option if even considered.

1. Steak and Shake has very unorganized schedules.
My son would go to work and at the time he was to clock out he was told to do other task that would at times take over 45 minutes and jokingly managers would say you will never know the time you will leave.

2. You have to buy your own uniform which cost over 70 dollars. A pair of black Dickies, a white oxford shirt and slip proof shoes. All this comes out of the parent’s pocket of course.

3. They make unreasonable demands on their employees. Every order that is taken from the drive through window should be out in two minutes and this would be fine if they didn’t have a sit in restaurant that is attended by the same hamburger dresser. Their kitchen stations are unorganized and employees are frequently disoriented with the process of an order.

4. Steak and Shake has overt signs of abuse. Managers have a habit of yelling at employees in front of co-workers and making belittling comments. In one incident, my son´s boss asked him to stay later and my son agreed to stay but then remembered that he did not take money to work for food since on his schedule he was only scheduled to work 4 hours that day. When he approached the manager and asked if he could have a hamburger and explained why the manager went into a rage and told him to go home and that he would cut his hours so that next time he would “Think before spoke”.

At first, I thought “Maybe he is just not used to having a boss.” but then I started noticing the signs of abuse. He started feeling physically ill before going to work and his overall enthusiasm was making it harder for him to go to work. This attitude surprised me because getting a job was something that he really wanted . When I looked further into this matter I found that my son was being bullied at work.

Most people don’t notice when they are being bullied or abused at work because according to Allison Van Dusen’s article for Forbes “Experts say there’s a general lack of awareness about the bullying and the types of behaviors the term encompasses. This often prevents people from realizing that a boss or co-worker is a bully. There’s also an element of personal shame involved. “They’re sinking into a really bad state emotionally, finding it harder to go to work and it might even affect their job performance,” says David Yamada, a professor at Suffolk University Law School and president of the New Workplace Institute, a nonprofit that promotes healthy, productive and socially responsible workplaces. “Oftentimes people don’t put the pieces together until it’s too late””

If your kid is looking to make some extra dollars this summer do not allow them to go to Steak and Shake because it has been proven that about 45% of individuals targeted by bullies at work suffer stress-related health problems, according to the Zogby survey. That could include cardiovascular problems, an impaired immune system, debilitating anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder, says Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute and president of Work Doctor, a consulting firm that specializes in correcting and preventing workplace bullying. (FORBES)

I am very proud of my son because one day he made the decision to tell that particular manager in a very polite way that this would be his last day to what the manager answered “Do what you want”. I feel sorry for the hard working people that have to withstand this horrific workplace because their financial responsibilities obligate them to keep their job. I don´t know about you but I don’t want my kids around people that haven’t the slightest idea about how to motivate a team and want to lead with a whip. Especially for teenagers that find themselves in any situation like this, the advice is to quit because to put your health at risk for minimum wage...is not worth it!

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