We all started somewhere. Me? First ‘paid’ gig was at a shoe store in a shopping mall stocking the back room – fortunately not touching feet, just boxes. Simply confirming that the size on the outside of the box matched the pair on the inside of the box. After that, I went to a grocery store where I worked for a good number of years. Many start their working days in similar ways, maybe retail or grocery or the restaurant business. A great first gig could be at the dry cleaners, car wash or helping out at a local school, my wife “re” labeled shirts in the fashion district in LA. Tearing the old tags off and sewing different ones on. Not 100% certain that’s even legal, but she was 18 at the time and I am guessing the place is no longer there if we are looking for someone to arrest.

Point being, we have all had “first” jobs. Jobs where we really didn’t know what we were doing, but consisted of tasks that we could be taught. We had a chance to learn a skill and we could feel as though we were adding something to society. Jobs that had some impact, on some consumer, somewhere.

Today “seems” different to me. Those jobs are still available and I still see young employees filling them, but there are so many more options that seem to go unfilled by young employees. Looking specifically at the technology industry. When I was 15 and ready for my first paid job – here was my list of qualifications: sweep, mop, cook (i.e. boil water), do my laundry, clean up dog poop, wash windows, fix my bike. Today, I meet 15 year old kids who may not know how to do any of that stuff, but they know how to write code. Doesn’t that make them more valuable (especially in today’s society) than when I was at 15?

It seems logical to me that we could have younger people doing much more than they are today if we are willing to take the time to train them AND if we are willing to appreciate their talents. Granted, it will take time and money to train, but the payoffs could be huge.

This isn’t entirely an employer issue, the potential candidate needs to put forth effort as well. This article has great and timely insight into what you, as a newbie, can do to best prepare for the work you are looking to embark on.