April 9, 2017
Debi Baughman is the Branch Training Director at Horizon Bank and sits on the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board.
What was your first job as a teenager?
It was a summer job at Cutty’s Campground in LaPorte. I worked in the general store and snack shop. The campground had a customer base of seasonal campers who were there for the entire summer; we also had weekly visitors. I worked with three other high school students. We worked hard, but also laughed and had a good time together.
What were your specific duties?
I assisted customers in finding various items, ran the cash register in the general store, prepared food in the snack shop and washed dishes.
What were your hours and how much did you earn?
I worked 20 to 30 hours a week. I made minimum wage, which was $2.30 an hour. Fifty percent of my earnings went into my savings account, and I used the remaining 50 percent for gas and spending money — usually clothes.
Did you enjoy the work?
I loved the job. I liked the front-line interaction with customers. I also liked the variety of tasks that I performed. It was a very fast-paced job, so I never got bored from just sitting or looking for something to do.
Did the campground job help you discover what you were good at?
Yes. I discovered that I was comfortable greeting and talking with people. Before the term came into use, I also learned to multitask. I discovered that flexibility and adaptability were important in meeting the different needs of our customers.
In my current role, the ability to connect with people is a very important attribute. Training provides support to employees in a variety of ways throughout their entire career. Building a relationship and supporting the personal and professional development of employees is foundational in their career.
What advice do you have for a young person thinking about that first job?
Be dependable, and always report to work on time. Learn as much as you can about the various functions within the organization, and always say “yes” to the opportunity to expand your knowledge. Fully engage yourself in the learning process of the job. You will build skills you can use your entire life.
What advice do you have for employers that hire youth?
Provide clear expectations and close supervision for the first few weeks. This will help the student become comfortable in performing the work assignment. Encourage youth to ask questions if they need clarification in performing any task you ask them to do.
The READY NWI partnership supports the unique aspects of community, school, and student, and embraces a commitment to regional thinking and acting in order to ensure prosperity by meeting the skill and education needs of employers throughout Northwest Indiana.