Putting In Time

Posted by v

So my 20 year old cousin recently got an entry level job as a billing clerk. So far she seems to like it. She gets up everyday and goes to work, which says a lot for a 20 year old.

Since she got this job, everyone has some advice for her. Most of it centers around “don’t screw up”. I especially like the advice that her well-intentioned, albeit blue collar, mom gave her: “Now Jessie, you’ve got you a good job. All you have to do is put in your time.”
Now I know that she’s not going to set the world on fire, but surely we can have higher expectations than cleaving to a clerical job. I think this notion of “putting in time” is something that people say even though they know it’s not the reality we live in. Put in your time and the company will take care of you. Put in your time and life stays safe.

I remember getting this kind of advice when I was Jessie’s age. It was so damn confusing. I always felt this slight twinge of guilt as I jettisoned one low paying job for another, always in search of the better boss or just something different. I can’t imagine stalling out so soon. I hope Jessie takes my advice – “Jessie, you’re getting some good work experience. You can do this for a year or two and then look for something better.”

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5 Comments

Filed under The way the world works

5 responses to “Putting In Time

  1. vee

    Good on you for encouraging her to learn well and aim high. There are no jobs for life these days and more often than not it feel like the only thing companies look out for these days is themselves. The reasons for cleaving will come soon enough – mortgage, children, whatever – while she’s young she should build confidence in following her dreams. I hope she goes far.

  2. Katy

    She’s a damn good biller! She’ll move up within 6 months, I’d say and she could walk out of this job into something at another facility for more money at that time, too.

    Just ask her if her boss stops by at least one time a day to make sure she knows that her employer has a tuition reimbursement program and to make sure she’s in college (not that I would know this about her boss) and also tells her not to hand over her paycheck to care for someone else’s kid.

    I must say, her co-workers tend to be more like her mother…

  3. Co

    There is a generational divide that sometimes older folks don’t seem aware of. The “put in your time and stay with one company” thing used to be true of previous generations, but it’s not true of our generation. I remember reading articles about how parents of Gen Xers were freaking out as they watched their kids job hop. Job hopping used to hurt your resume, but it’s kind of par for the course nowadays in many fields. The only way to move up often is to move out.

  4. When I had been working in social services for about five years (I guess I was about 23 at the time), my dad asked me if this was “what I wanted to do,” you know, for the rest of my life, as a career, whatever. I said I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to do anything “for the rest of my life.” He said “I’m glad you know that so early. Most people never figure it out.” He’s not a one-job-for-twenty-years, putting-in-your-time kind of guy, either, but he didn’t realize it until he’d had the same job for about 15 years. He said he doesn’t think most people are truly satisfied in their jobs, but if we plan things right, we can move around a bit and do many things we enjoy. I hope your cousin doesn’t feel obligated to do the same thing for 20 years.

  5. I like your advice better.

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