Young Boss Moves: 4 Reasons Getting An Early Career Start is Essential

Professionals share how being teen workers led to future success

Isiah Hall (Image: Hall)

Isiah Hall

Age: 27

Profession: Associate, Affiliate Services, National Urban League, New York, N.Y.

His First Gig: Isiah Hall landed his first job at 12 years old after a friend encouraged him to work with her at a local nonprofit called YES (Youth Empowered to Speak). Though he didn’t know what a nonprofit was at the time, he immediately became passionate about helping people in his community. While working with YES, Hall’s passion for community organizing and advocacy was birthed. He began working to address issues such as racial profiling, welfare reform, and gang violence. Since that time, Hall’s commitment to his community has led him to work with several other grassroots organizations and in local politics.

Pros & Cons: In addition to his work in the community, Hall also completed internships in the finance and marketing industries while a teenager.  The diversity of his experience as a teen contributed to his success as an adult by making him more marketable. After college, He began work with the National Urban League as an intern and has worked his way up to his current position. “[Working as a teen] allowed me to get exposure and added to my being well-rounded,” he says. Hall understands that his success didn’t just happen by happenstance. “You don’t wake up as a good worker. You become a good worker by practice.”  He learned the importance of punctuality and diligence and says his only challenge was learning how to adapt to different professional settings. As a generally shy teen from “the hood,” he says it wasn’t easy to initially open up in the professional work environment.

Money Management Lessons: Hall’s early work experience also taught him about financial planning and budgeting. “I knew exactly when my $88 check was coming every month. I planned what I could do and how much I’d have left,” he says. His father taught him how to be a provider early on. Whenever he was working, a portion of his income had to go toward the house. He still applies this ethic today, making sure to take care of home first.

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