Work Examples

Jill has landed her first office job.

Jill has got a job as a trainee accounts clerk in a local office. She is delighted but is worried that she may not be able to do the work. At the interview they said that no experience was necessary, just a good head for numbers and a good attitude. This will be her first full time job.

It is a small office and is a family run business. Jill will be the first trainee they have taken on and the only young person in the office.

What things should Jill expect, and how can she do well in her new job?

Advice for Jill

It’s only natural to worry about a new job. Even the most experienced people have some concerns when they start a job. The good news is that she has the right attitude and is good with numbers.

The fact that it is a small family run business means that employees have to be flexible. This means that work will come up from time to time where Jill will be expected to help out, although it may not strictly be in her job description.

For example, she may be required to pick up the mail, or water the office plants, make the tea, things that have little to do with the accounts but a lot to do with helping the office run efficiently. So Jill should be on the look out for these little jobs where she can add more value than as a straight “trainee accounts clerk”. This is what the interviewer meant by having the right attitude.

In regards to work relationships, working for a family business can be tricky. Often it is not clear who is the boss. For example, if it is a husband and wife team, Jill may find herself with two bosses, and she may have to juggle priorities.

Similarly it can be hard to maintain a professional relationship if family issues creep into day-to-day activities. So Jill will need to try hard to focus on the work to be done and not be drawn into family disagreements.

Also, being a small business, it is unlikely that there will be a formal training scheme, so Jill would be well advised to tkeep a notebook of work processes that she is taught. She should take these notes then go over them at night and then with whoever is training her, to confirm that she has understood her task.

What Jill should NOT do:

  • Be precious about doing accounts work only
  • Make friends with members of the family
  • Expect that the training will continue indefinitely. She should expect to be shown once, and understand what she has been taught
  • Engage in any gossip about anyone associated with the company,including customers


Johnny has landed his first factory job

Johnny has been taken on as a trainee operator at a local furniture factory. It’s a big factory and they take on about three trainees every year. Johnny is good with his hands, but is not very academic and has trouble with complex calculations and is worried that he will not do well in this new job. He also has a standing commitment as a volunteer with the surf club and wants to keep that going while he works. He is worried that the company will mark him down if he is not available for overtime on the days he wants to do his volunteer work.

Advice for Johnny

Again, it is quite normal to worry about being able to do the new job. Johnny should take some comfort from the fact that the company is used to trainees. So he should expect or ask for an outline of the training that he will receive.

He should also look out trainees who have been through the course and ask them how their training went and if they can give him any advice.

If the company has not given him a numeracy or literacy test at interview stage, then he should assume that he would be OK.

Otherwise there will be opportunity to improve these skills during the training. If necessary Johnny may need some tutoring outside of work, and he should be prepared for this.

In regards to his voluntary work, if this has not come up at interview, he should try and bring it into conversation with his trainers, without expressing any view about overtime, which may or may not eventuate.

It’s a good idea to maintain a positive attitude until any real difficulties arise.

What Johnny should not do:

  • Be concerned that he can’t do the work. Be positive. Be optimistic. 
  • Approach the trainer or any co-worker with restrictions on his work time
  • Take each training day as it comes. He should have a clear view on the program and the expected outcome