“Seriously?” I said, looking at the disheveled pickles and condiments sliding off the cold hamburger hiding beneath the smashed bun. I envisioned the creator looking out the drive-thru window under the golden arches, saying to herself, Oh, it’s her. I hate her. Wait ‘til she gets this! It wasn’t the first time I received a less-than-stellar product from a fast-food establishment, but it was the first time, this seemed… deliberate.
Like many teenagers from an era before dating apps and TikTok, my fist job was at the local McDonald’s—a job that thankfully got me through the teenage years and college. While my career took me down a path that drifted away from building Big Macs and deep-sea breaded fillets, if I lined up all the jobs I have held in life, the one that taught me all necessary life skills was…
Here are the top 5 life skills I learned, working at a fast-food restaurant…
5) Respect your boss – Just as you’re taught to respect your elders, the same goes for the person who hired or manages you. Truth is, if you’re not clicking with your boss, it’s time to find a new job. And it’s OK to know when it’s not working. We spend too much time at our jobs to not like the people we work with.
4) Don’t be an a**hole – While this sounds simple, it’s probably the hardest rule to follow on a daily basis, and easy to forget when faced with someone who is testing our nerves. Take the highroad, even when that someone is being a jerk. We don’t know what kind of day they’ve had or what they’re dealing with in their own lives. Acting like an a**hole is the one thing we don’t need to pay forward. Just, don’t.
3) Enjoy the Big Mac special sauce – Life is what we make it. While we have no control with what is thrown at us, we can control our reaction and attitude. Have you ever encountered that cashier who genuinely seems to love her job? Her job and boss may be spectacular, but it’s more likely that she simply approaches her job with a smile and a fresh attitude each day. There is good in every job, we just need to see it and embrace it.
2) Show up. This should go without saying, but you’ll be ten miles ahead of the other guy if you just show up for everything in life—physically and mentally. That includes returning messages in a timely manner and staying off your damn phone when you should be working. Yeah, I said that.
1) Build better burgers – Take pride in whatever you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating, teaching, or providing a service. If you take pride in what you do in the workplace, it tends to carry over in everything else in life. And will benefit you in endless ways.
And to the person who served me that flat deranged hamburger, I can only say that I hope your day got better. I know mine did 🙂
Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her novel, Chasing North Star is available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and online wherever books are sold. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor