When Elizabeth Fejedelem first started her job at the bakery in the Bavarian Inn, she had never worked retail or used a cash register before.

But her mom knew she could do it.

“She thought it would help me to open up and not be so shy,” says Fejedelem, who graduated from Genesee High School in 2016 and received a certificate of completion from the Michigan Career and Technical Institute where she studied custodial work.

And her mom was right.

“One of the things I am the proudest of is how open I have become,” Fejedelem says. “I feel like I am in my element.”

Below, Fejedelem talks about her future, TeenQuest and more.

What does an average day at work look like for you?

In the morning, I get all of the baked goods together and display them in the cases in the bakery area. Throughout the day, I help customers and make sure they are happy. I also manage the register, which means I am responsible for handling money and making sure customers get the correct change back.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I really like the challenge of customer service and working hard to make sure that every customer is happy. Working in retail is out of my comfort zone, because I am so shy, but I have really learned to open up and talk to people.

What are your plans for the future?

My mom has really encouraged me to go to Mott Community College and get my photography certificate, which is only going to take a year.

I just want to learn some basic skills, and then if I decide to further pursue photography, I can go back and get my Associate’s degree. I really want to start my own business as a photographer.

What made you decide photography was a passion of yours?

I started off taking photos on my phone, and I started to realize that I see things differently than most people. My mom really took notice and has encouraged me to take photography classes so I can learn how to edit photos and just some of the basics.

How did TeenQuest prepare you for your job now and your future plans?

There was a part in TeenQuest where we were doing mock group interviews, but I didn’t really talk a lot because I was shy. The man who was running the interviews said I could leave and that I wouldn’t be hired because I wasn’t talking.

That really made me realize that I really do have to stand out and push myself to be social. If I want the job I am going for, I need to make myself stand out to the employer.

What career advice can you offer to current and future TeenQuest students?

Don’t be afraid to try new things, if you think something looks scary, you should just go for it. Just give the job a chance.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Hagerman Foundation, and other generous funders.