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Throughout high school and college, I loved having part-time jobs! Having a job gave me the freedom to get out of the house with no questions asked, earn my own money and meet people I wouldn’t normally meet in school.
My first few part-time jobs were babysitting, but I was never naturally good with kids. The best job I ever had in high school was working in a Sears selling sporting goods equipment (how ironic). Once I got to college I started working in restaurants and bars and kept that up for about 8 years. That’s where I needed my safety tips more than ever.
So here is a round up of safety tips for whatever your summer job is:
Be careful of where you search for a job. Beware of Craigslist postings, non-reputable job publications and vague job descriptions. When I was in college living in NYC, I stupidly responded to an ad in the back of some paper (Before Craigslist) for a hostess at a Japanese business club. When I arrived for my interview to a non-descript door with a peephole, I realized that hostess probably meant more like escort. Needless to say I went home with a story!
Get your job leads from reliable sources like from your school, family, friends or actual stores and places of business themselves. If it sounds shady, it probably is!
Babysitting seems like it can be one of the more safe jobs that a young person can have. However, unless you know the family well, you never know what you are walking into. I remember one of my first baby-sitting jobs turned into a nightmare when the ex-husband called 3 times and was demanding on coming over to see his kids while I was there (when his wife gave me explicit instructions NOT to let him in)! I immediately called my mom who came over and waited with me until she came home. I would have left, but couldn’t leave the kids alone!
If you're babysitting:
- Keep all of the doors and windows locked and closed, even if the people you work for usually don't
- Make sure your phone is always charged in case you need to call 911
- Give yourself a tour of the entire house so you know where all of the exits are and if there are any improvised weapons laying around (in case you need to use one)
Watch out for sexual harassment when working in jobs in the service industry. I’m not trying to make generalizations here, but from personal experience, I have found that the environments can often lend itself to be a breeding ground for questionable behavior. Restaurants, hotels and bars or anywhere where alcohol is served and consumed by the staff can have more lax rules for the staff and management.
Often times lines get blurred between management and staff. Typically women are hit on by their male managers or bosses (although it can happen to any sex by any sex). Hopefully it stops there. If you find yourself in this situation:
- Stand up for yourself and to try and put an end to the behavior. Don’t be afraid of speaking up or back to authority if that person is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe for any reason. You can get more tips like these and verbal kung fu tips in my book, Hear Me Roar: How to Defend Your Mind, Body and Heart Against People Who Suck
- Always carry a SABRE personal alarm on your keychain and keep your keys in your pocket at all times. Don’t just leave it in your purse, since you won’t be working while wearing your purse. Pull out the pin and let that alarm sound if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation so others can hear you are in trouble and hopefully you scare off the perpetrator.
- Make sure other people are aware of what is going on so they can keep an eye on you and so it doesn’t keep happening to anyone else. If you can afford to, leave the job
And no matter what job you have, always have your own trusted means of transportation. Never get in a car with a stranger or acquaintance until you know for certain you can trust this person.
Kudos to you for being independent and building character and a resume! Let us know if you’ve ever had any shady work situations and how you dealt with them.