While my friends returned to university in September, I continued preparing burgers, distributing fries and standing at a pick up window on a drive through. The past three months I have spent working at a fast food restaurant have been a wonderful learning experience to say the least.
Often people (including me before this job) perceive fast food restaurant jobs as easy or inferior to “real jobs”. This is not the case! Working in the fast food business is challenging and sometimes stressful (especially when you are new!). People want their food and they want it quickly. They also want their orders to be accurate and there is a lot to learn! Some of my coworkers have worked in the fast food industry for years, and I have a lot of respect for them. They work hard with little to no recognition. So the next time your burger is taking a little longer than you expected, please be patient! It’s not as easy as it looks!
Mentality of Work
Working at the drive through I had a chance to talk with a lot of interesting people. I was surprised at just how many people despised their jobs. “How is your day going?” I would routinely ask. More often than not people would respond: “Better now that I’m off work.” or “Good, but now I have to go to work.” At my workplace there was also many comments routinely made about going home early and not having to be at the restaurant. These past months have shown me that I don’t want to live like that! Whatever I end up doing with the majority of my time, I want it to be something I believe in! I don’t want to just “put my time in” for money and go home. Most people will spend between 1700-2200 hours a year at their jobs (if not more)! I want those hours to be centred upon something I enjoy and am passionate about. I realize that this is a privileged way of thinking, and many people around the world do not have this luxury. They work to pay bills and feed their families. However, if I can, I want my work to be a source of joy, and fulfillment, not misery.
Everyone is Equal
When I began looking for work I can’t say that fast food restaurants were on the top of my wish list. When I probed a little deeper I realized that I thought myself better than a fast food crew member. I was “overqualified” I told myself. In a way I was selfishly believing that I was better than those who make my fast food meals.
High school students were far better at my job than I was. They taught me how to do my job. People who society may not deem as “successful” became my friends. God humbled me. He taught me that all people are made in his image and recipients of his passionate love. Someone that makes a baconator or a big mac is just as important to Him as the Prime Ministers, Presidents, famous musicians, doctors and professional hockey players of the world.
Even though it wasn’t always easy, the job was worth it. Not just for my minimum wage earnings, but for the lifelong lessons God has taught me and the friends he introduced me to. I will never be able to eat fast food the same way again.
And if I’m honest, I’ll really miss my discount too.