Minimum Wage Job Experience
First Time Job Hunter
I was about 18 years old when I seriously considered getting a job, I was about to graduate from high school and by then all I was thinking about was ways to help my dad with the money. My teachers of course had told me to go straight to college unless I wanted to end up flipping burger patties my whole life but I didn’t’ heed their advice. I would have continued school had I had it sorted out, had I known what I wanted to do then. I decided I would take a year off to figure things out, get a job, try something new while bringing some money home.
For a very long time I have wondered what it would be like to get a proper job, how it would be like to help my family and feel useful for once in my life. That was all that was in my head, I had convinced myself that by getting a job I would be treated with respect and it would make me more mature and maybe through the course of time I would learn what I truly wanted to do with my life. So with that in mind I started the job hunt. I decided that I would apply to some retail stores, fast food restaurants or wherever an inexperienced teenager would be hired. I mostly applied online thinking it would be easier and because that made the whole process less daunting. I tried to go inside some stores and ask if there was any opening available, I even rehearsed what I would say. During those unsuccessful tries I realized that I was shy and I was so certain that that was the least quality that an employer wanted to see in a candidate. Especially in retail stores where all you have to do is socialize, you have to persuade people into buying a product. After a month as I was beginning to lose hope I received a call from a McDonald’s manager asking me if I could stop by for an interview on the afternoon.
Surprisingly, I got hired right on the spot. I didn’t know then that that was the first of three interviews that I would have for the next 4 years in which all I got hired. All three jobs where different from worst to better, each taught me something but none of them I felt comfortable working in and I realized that I couldn’t quit job after another because that would lead me to nowhere.Job #1
I didn’t know what this job was going to lead to. At the time I thought it was a good start, it was by all means a job that didn’t require any experience. How bad could it be right? I never expected to end up working in the kitchen, I was completely unaware of how ruthless some people could be to a person who’s never had a job before. They made themselves feel superior just because they had spent half of their lives working in there. I guess they had forgotten that it was part of their job to train others too and not be mean to them. I don’t know if working at the front counter would have been any better than the kitchen but I kept insisting the manager to let me try it. In the end I worked three years in the kitchen, making burgers and cleaning. I abhorred the idea of being there, working relentlessly, coming home every day tired and not feeling like doing anything else. One night as I was working one out of three day graveyard shifts I did every week I wondered deeply if it was all worth it. All the scars on my arms from the hot oil, the excruciating 15 minutes that I had to endure in the freezer filling up my cart with frozen food just to have it ready for the morning shift. I had done what I could here and it wasn’t working. I did what any sensible person would have done in my situation. I quit.
I guess I had taken this journey to find myself, to feel worth it. It is good, advisable even, to tell someone to go out there, try something new until you are reconnected with what you really want to do with your life. I gave another job a go. I had gotten so used to keeping myself busy that I felt weird staying at home. I applied at 7-Eleven, a day later I was called for an interview. I have to say that working here felt like opening my eyes for the first time in so long. I learned to use a cash register, I learned to interact with people and most of all my shyness was slowly ebbing away. I found it comfortable and fun working with my coworkers. This job was stressful on days when I had to work 8 hours shifts by myself and I was always scared that someone would come in the store and rob me and it was quite disappointing that they wouldn’t even give lunch breaks, not even 10 or 15 minute breaks. On days when I was scheduled to work with one person, especially if it was with the people that I had a blast working with the stressful days seemed bearable. The day I left that job, my coworkers organized a surprise party for me, that’s how nice they were. They told me that they appreciated my hard work and my commitment to the job. I wanted to prove my strength this time, I didn’t want to feel chained to this job and having the decision to quit this job whenever I felt ready was another way for me to take control. Control to guide my life to where it’s supposed to go. I knew my coworkers understood this and they supported me all the way. Job #3
There I was at the entrance of another store ready to start a new day at my new job. Payless seemed very convenient for a part-time job. I had made a conscious decision to find a job that would leave time for school. Out of the three Payless was the least stressful job that I had. I didn’t even know such thing existed, I was told to run the cash register, clean and fix shoes. I had to learn to use the stick that is used to bring shoes down from the stack above the shelve. Balancing it with just one hand was a pain in the neck, having a bunch of boxes hurling on my head was pretty embarrassing and genuinely annoying. My coworkers were friendly, they always had my back whenever I needed them and most of them were working part time for the same reason as me. I got a 30 minutes lunch break and two ten minutes break. There were always two people working every shift which I was grateful for because like any other store there were a lot of shoplifters. Coming home from work everyday and still have the energy to concentrate on school felt really great. But one morning as I was driving up the parking lot there was a “Store Closing” sign plastered on the big windows of the store. I did not see that coming, I had heard rumors about Payless filing for bankruptcy but I thought that they were just that, rumors. It was disappointing, I had planned to stay there for a little bit longer until I finished with school. Things happen, this was bound to end like this and for once I was OK with how events turned out.
School is my main priority now. Yet again, it is another adventure worth living and recalling. I have learned so much working for the past four years. It feels good to have finally gotten to this point in my life. There are still challenges and I still struggle to find my place in this world but I take every experience at heart for that is what this life is all about.
My name is Lizett and that is my story. Feel free to comment below and you are welcome to share your experience with me. Thanks for reading and God bless you on whatever your journey may be.