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McDonaldʼs employee learns valuable lessons


September 23, 2011

Last June I applied to, and was hired by, McDonald’s. Needless to say, this wasn’t my first pick for a summer job, but a job is a job so I jumped at the chance to make some money.

A few days after getting hired I was talking to my high school track coach who said, “Everybody should have a job like that.” At the time I didn’t quite know why he made this comment, but looking back on it, I would definitely agree that everybody should work at McDonald’s.

Let me get this out of the way right now after two weeks working at the Golden Arches, I called it quits. To put it mildly, the job just wasn’t for me. There was something about standing around taking burgers on and off a greasy grill that I didn’t like. I’m sure some of you can relate. While I didn’t like the job, I wouldn’t trade the experience of it for the world.

The one part of the job that will always stick with me is the job itself. I think I’ve become no fun to go to McDonald’s with, yes I can still eat some things on the menu, because I know how all of the food is made. Of course, that knowledge can also come in handy. For example, I now know how to guarantee that you get a fresh, as fresh as they come, burger every time. I also know how many McChickens to order to make sure you get at least one fresh one. It’s those things that are valuable to know when eating at McDonald’s, especially if you are semi health conscious. Naturally, the actual making of the food wasn’t exactly fun, especially when it’s all you do for about seven hours, but it certainly makes you appreciate any other job you work at.

The other thing I really took from the job was how awesome the people were. Coming from a private school background not many of my friends had ever worked for Corporate America. Generally, my friends and I, had worked for people who we knew, or for private businesses which generally paid better and hired less people. To say that coming into a McDonald’s, where everyone else had been working there at least two years, was a bit of a culture shock is an understatement. I had never really realized that there are people working at McDonald’s who are working there to support their families.

One of my co-workers, whom I closed with many times during the two weeks, really stands out in my mind. On the first night I closed, I wound up washing the dishes which, surprisingly, is not that bad of a job. I got to talking to this co-worker, Sarah, and she pretty much gave me her life story. She was 21, had been working at McDonald’s for five years, had her own house, own car, and a kid. It was at that moment where it finally hit me; I have been so fortunate in my life so far! Personally, I couldn’t fathom working at McDonald’s for five years and being a parent at 21. I can honestly say that working with Sarah made me feel pretty bad about those times when I thought the worst part of my day was going to work, which I only had to deal with for the summer.

Sure I hated the job, and sure I quit after a mere two weeks. However, working at McDonald’s was definitely a life changing experience. The people were all great, especially those who would literally cheer when we got an order done really fast. The knowledge that I came away with from the job is definitely irreplaceable as well. So, yes, I would recommend working at McDonald’s. In fact, I think everyone should work at McDonald’s at some point in their life.

Benjamin Lamers is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during fall semester 2013.