In work, out of work - is it a pain?

In work

Ok, maybe you already decided you'd prefer to leave school or college and get a job. Could be a good thing. Plenty of people do that and love their job, work hard and get on to a steady income or a real career with prospects. If you are thinking that this is the best choice for you, read this section first.

Or you are still in full time education but working part time. This is either good as it helps you earn or bad if it stops you getting your school or college work done. It can sometimes help to get you a better job if you leave education and get taken on by whoever you were working for part time rather than someone who will treat you as a completely new employee, and if not at least you get a reference and can prove you are a worker.

Then again it might be a bit of both and you are in an apprenticeship, or thinking about applying for one. Before you do, find out all about apprenticeships including the basics, the benefits, get your questions answered, read real life stories and talk to a mentor who has already been there and done that. And if you are already in an apprenticeship, you can find out how to get help and support if things are not all great.

But just like school, jobs are good and bad. An extremely good one has enjoyable work, a decent environment to work in, a fair boss, agreeable colleagues, good terms and conditions including wages and holidays, and is easy and inexpensive to travel to. An extremely bad one is having a grumpy slave-driver for a boss with a horrible job in a dreadful environment where the others all pick on you and you get paid peanuts at the end of a long, boring and expensive journey.

Realistically it will be somewhere between the two.

So what might you want help and advice with?

Read about Your rights and making decisions so you know what you are letting yourself in for.

There is legal stuff to do with how many hours you can work at what age when you are a teenager. You should have a contract which sets out clearly your terms and conditions. Make sure you understand exactly what you are getting and what is expected of you. Your employer is obliged to do things to ensure health and safety regulations are enforced and that you are treated fairly, but there are some who don't bother and you may have to take action to sort it out. Employers have to follow a proper disciplinary procedure if you have done something wrong and they want to give you a formal warning or dismiss you. Know your rights and what to do if you are unfairly dismissed.

Unions exist to look after the welfare of their members and represent their interests with the management; you have to pay regular subscriptions to join them. Works committees and staff representatives do the same without a big organisation behind them. You can approach them for help if you have a problem at work. You can also check with Citizens Advice, Connexions, and ACAS.

You might be being bullied by another employee or your boss. It doesn't just happen to kids at school. This is never acceptable, nor is discrimination if you think you are being treated differently because of something which you can't help, like your ethnic origin or gender. Bullying at work can be dealt with just like bullying everywhere else, and discrimination is against the law. Peterborough Racial Equality Council  can help you if you have been dicriminated against.

If you are living away from home or have left home due to work, you might want some help getting settled and coping on your own.

Out of work

And so to the problems of being out of work. It can seem much easier to get another job when you already have one, and being out of work is not much fun because you don't earn anything.  Find out your rights and what benefits you can get to try to manage until you can earn again, and if you get into debt get advice before it gets too bad. Citizens Advice can help you, see GTRT on Money troubles.  If you need help applying for jobs or you think you would like to get more qualifications or training ask at your job centre or discuss it with Connexions.

Be your own boss

If you've got a decent idea and the means to have a go, you might want to start a business. Being a self employed sole trader means it's up to you to observe the formalities of paying tax and national insurance, there isn't any holiday or sick pay, but you do get the satisfaction of being in charge. Find out what you need to tell HMRC and how to to complete self-assessment tax returns every year. Most importantly get advice before you start. The local chamber of trade is an association of member businesses who get together to share, learn and promote and protect their businesses. Cambridgeshire has branches throughout which you might want to join (there is a membership cost) as it's the nearest thing to a union for local businesses. If you fancy being a market trader the National Market Traders Federation have schemes for start ups and support for new traders with a training programme.

The page was last updated on 02 July 2014 by andrea.bateman.

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