Helping Young People Succeed at Work


(12 January 2022)

Why I Wrote a Book to Help Young People Succeed at Work

Introducing Success Spoken Here

Today I am introducing a new project to help high school-aged teens find great jobs and get more out of working. This two-pronged resource includes a new book and a companion website.


As a kid, I was always looking for jobs to do, usually with the objective of saving money to buy a better bicycle. When I was fourteen, I started working as a busboy in a barbecue restaurant. By the time I turned fifteen, I had parlayed my work experience and passion for bicycles into a great job at a bicycle shop. And not just any shop, a most dynamic, full-service shop in my home town of Dallas, Texas. Landing this great job, right in my so-called “formative years”, was quite a personal coup.

Now, I want to help young adults—high school age and up—find jobs that match their interests and give them the opportunity to help others.

Today, forty-plus years later, I live in the Texas hill country in a small town that is itself surrounded by many smaller towns. This is a popular region with tourists and many small businesses here hire young adults to serve them. But few seem to do a comprehensive job training these recruits to most helpfully work with customers. What is more, this lack of training is not limited to small-town Texas, and it is not limited to high school-aged teens.

Even at fancy stores and restaurants in big cosmopolitan cities, customer-facing employees demonstrate a lack of training and skills in the art and techniques of customer craft. Many could enhance their impact at work—and their personal job satisfaction—by adjusting their interactions with customers. In particular, many could do a better job engaging with them, explicitly helping them solve problems, fulfill needs, and satisfy wants.

So, What to do? Well, I wrote a book.

"I want to help young adults—high school age and up—find jobs that match their interests and give them the opportunity to help others."

The Book

The book features two parts:

Part I: First-Job Success helps teens identify and obtain a great first job, then impress everyone starting on day one.

Part II: Hospitality Spoken Here explains to people of all ages in customer-facing roles how to enhance their impact and satisfaction at work, by learning to host customers, instead of merely waiting on them

Part I offers helpful insight for all aspects of a young person’s job search: before, during, and after. It begins by describing why companies succeed and where young people fit into that success. It also details critical verbal communications skills that young employees should master in order to be most effective at work–as well as ways for improving those skills.

The heart of Part I explains how to search for a job suited to one’s interests, providing keen instructions and written tools for identifying appealing employers and for contacting them. It then covers several important tasks to be addressed before starting work.

Finally, to help its readers get off to an impressive start at work, Part I spells out important behaviors to pursue—as well as to avoid–on the job.

Part II picks up where Part I leaves off, describing ways to ensure customers have a favorable–and hopefully fruitful–experience with a business.

To begin, Part II covers the art and skills of “customer craft”. It explains how to enhance one’s engagement and effectiveness with customers in varying circumstances. Importantly, this section explains how to helpfully inform tough-to-please customers who say they are “just browsing”. It also covers ways employees should consider varying their interactions with customers based on customer personality cues.

Part II then explores various ways employees may ensure that customers arrive home with their purchased merchandise in undamaged, brand-new condition, featuring techniques for choosing and utilizing well-suited packaging materials.

Finally, Part II describes how to build a business atmosphere that is most conducive to customer success, covering advantageous ways for displaying merchandise as well as how to best cultivate a business’s sights, sounds and even aromas.

Success Spoken Here is primarily written for high school-aged teens. It will also be a helpful guide for parents of these teens. Further, supervisors and owners of small businesses will find it to be a useful and economical training guide.

The Success Spoken Here book is available for order beginning today, in both paperback and digital (EPUB) versions.

The Website

The website is a companion to the book. It offers many tools for young adults and their parents to use before, during and after the job search. It also features tools that will help small customer-facing business supervisors and owners better engage with customers.

The Tools for Parents include the Work Readiness Quiz. This one-page document will help parents discuss working and looking for a job with their teen children.

Tools like the Work Readiness Quiz will help parents and their children work together—before, during and after the job search.

Another tool meant to be used by both parents and their teen children is the Reading Checklist. Most projects are easier to complete when broken down into small pieces. Reading a helpful book is no different. This tool divides the book into small easily-read segments, allowing readers to track their progress as they read the book.

The Job Search Tools include a worksheet for developing a Work Availability Statement. This tool will help users answer the question every potential employer is going to ask: “When can you work and how often?” Answering this question—in writing—should be the first thing one does before contacting companies.

Another helpful Job Search Tool is the Work Flyer. Job seekers should create one of these documents to hand or email to anyone that might hire them.

Users will not only find tools for the job search but for use on the job as well. One of these is the NUE List. This tool will help employees, managers and even business owners identify and list all of the things about their enterprise that are new, unique, and exceptional. Listing these products, services, and experiences, so they may be highlighted for customers, is the first step to enhancing engagement with clientele.

Finally, the website is also a platform for accepting book orders and hosting articles like this one.

Please take a look and let me know what you think. I am easy to reach via the website’s contact page.

–Greg Kagay


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