This I Believe

Christie - jacksonville, Illinois
Entered on July 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: humility, work

My first Job

When asked why I am currently attending college my answer would be to get a good job, and even though I, or more honestly my parents, are spending so much money to send me to college, I believe I have benefited from my experience working at a job that requires minimum education. I am referring to a summer of high school I spent working at McDonald’s. The knowledge I gained was not so much the value of a job well done, I absolutely dreaded going to work, and the smell of French Fries still makes me queasy. It is not the value of money. I made a total of $1500 working there, and then went to a partial payment on a used car that has long since died. What I gained was an understanding and appreciation for human behavior.

Working at McDonald’s gave me a chance to see the full range of human emotions. The sheer joy of a five-year-old boy experiences after having found that perfect Yu-Gi-Oh happy meal toy. The complete heartbreak of telling the 80-year-old gentlemen, “Sorry, we no longer serve the McRib.” My time on the job has shown me that it is mostly true that people are crankier in the morning, so much so that our early morning customers have earned a nickname from the staff, on that might not be appropriate form me to repeat here. It might seem like a cliché, but perhaps the best lesson I’ve learned from the customers in how much of a difference a smile can make. A simple smile while greeting a customer can be the difference between them waiting patiently, or them screaming to the manager that you are incompetent and should be fired.

Not all the lessons come from customers; some came from fellow employees. I’ve seen just how much stress and heat it can take to turn one of the nicest people I have ever met into a screaming madman seeking vengeance. Not to go into to many gory details, but the saying “be nice to those who handle your food is probably a good rule to follow. And countless episodes of our own personal soap opera (that we dubbed “As the Burger Flips”) have illustrated the hazards of an inter-office romance. So while I hope never to work within 100 yards of a vat of frying grease again, I am glad to have had this experience. I believe the knowledge I have learned hear will benefit to any so-called “white collar job”. I’ve learned a little kindness goes a long way, screaming isn’t going to make a machine work faster, don’t talk to the boss until she has had her morning coffee, every job deserves a little respect. However, the most valuable lesson is probably still, be nice to the guy who is making your Big Mac.