Monday, February 14, 2011

A piece of paper doesn't make you any different than anyone else...

This is NOT to put down anyone that works fast food. NOT NOT NOT! This is about how proud and stuck-up I became after graduating from college.

When I was living at home finishing up school, I got a part-time job at McDonald's and was there for 5 months. I stayed after I graduated just because I had to pay for my wedding. Six days before The Big Day, I quit. You know... That was three months ago today. Oh, the irony!

I had all these dreams of working in a call center or for Geek Squad or some place I could use what I learned when I got to the city. I figured that sitting in a classroom for three years and accruing tens of thousands of dollars of loan debt would land me somewhere better than fast food. Two months of job searching only to read "Minimum ___ years experience required" on everything made me cave. I cried the whole time I was filling out the McDonald's application for the location down the street from my new home. I thought nothing could be worse than having to apply there... Until they called back and scheduled an interview. Then I didn't know what was worse: Them calling to say that I was hired, or not getting a job where I had experience.

Three months ago I quit. Today's my first day back. Part-time, minimum wage, flipping burgers.

There's a lesson in here somewhere. There has to be. Something about pride, perhaps.

My first round with McD's was one bad week after another. The manager that hired me got fired a month later. The only real good manager they had got fired. Another manager came in and no one could stand her. She broke her arm and had to leave for a while. I was gone for 2 weeks and half the people I started working with either quit or got fired. Corporate would come in during rush hours and get in the way and criticize everything and generally slow us down, then whine about our times. The new store manager they sent us was a complete idiot. I won't go into all the crap he did (or didn't do, which is a longer list). So, maybe it was just the people. I'm down with that idea. The people generally sucked. The people at this one could be great! I'm assured they are.

There's more to it than that. In my mind --this is not they way it is at all, and I'm learning-- McDonald's is great for a high schooler or someone that quit after their high school graduation and has no direction in life or a college student who can't work full time or for someone that doesn't need to work and is bored (though why they'd choose this place I don't know). For someone supporting herself and her husband, who has sat through three additional years of misery after high school and has 2 degrees, this job just won't do. This is the feared "spend the rest of your life flippin' burgers at McDonald's" job, literally, that we heard from teachers who said we were never going to amount to anything. This is below me.

Six months ago I would have punched me for saying this. Six months ago, though, I fell into the college-student-who-couldn't-work-full-time category. Nothing was beneath me then. I walked across the stage and something happened. My head got a little bigger. My last day of torment at McDonald's came around and I swore "Never again!" and my head grew some more. I had elevated myself above the rest of humanity just because I'd gone to a few extra years of school. Without realizing it, I was looking down on everyone from on top of a completely useless degree and one I'm still a class away from having (I don't have 2 yet, to be honest). I had become too good to work fast food or as a waitress. Retail was perfectly fine, though. I've been hoping for two months that Hobby Lobby would call me back. Someone explain that one, please.

I dread 5:00 pm today. I don't want to go back, still. I'm holding out hope for Hobby Lobby or a bookstore, though honestly I'll probably end up working both the retail and the fast food jobs.

So. Life Lesson #2 - No human is better than another. What's good enough for one is good enough for all.


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