I woke up this morning thinking about jobs. My last few have been doozies for sure.
My last three jobs have been in the Fast Food Industry. A place where apparently only teenagers should work. A place where at my age, I thought I was too good to work. But after three years of searching fruitlessly in a small town, your options become clearly limited.
After 20 years of raising my children, running a household and keeping my sanity I had accomplished the most complicated, heartbreaking, fast-paced stressful 24/7 position ever. Unfortunately it leaves you with no salary, benefits, diploma or experience that looks good on a resume.
But who is to blame? My parents for not having money to send me to college or university?
Myself for not saving money for college or university?
My children for being born?
Of course not. I would not trade my children for anything. The choices that I made led me on a path that brought me right to this moment. Sitting in my home office, listening to the birds singing and a warm breeze blowing through my windows. I have a wonderful husband that adores me. And I am working on a course that is allowing me to study to be a Professional Photographer.
My first job, other than babysitting in our community, was running a Summer Day Camp Drop-in Program at the Community Rec Centre. Which was basically, babysitting 🙂
But it was so much fun. I was 16. I worked with my best friend at the time, Jennifer. Parents dropped their kids off with bagged lunches. And I think sometimes we offered refreshments as well. We played hide & seek in the tall grass around the perimeter of the property. We taught the kids how to play ‘Old Maid’ with cards. We did crafts. It was great. There were a couple boys that we knew to expect trouble from every day. It frustrated the Hell out of us….but every time they smiled, there was no way we could stay mad at them. Chris and Joel seemed to know they weren’t in serious trouble. And they’re probably frustrating the Hell out of someone to this day…but hopefully they can still smile their way out of it. 🙂
My next job was at Shopper’s Drug Mart as a Cosmetician. And then managing a Shoe boutique. While most teenagers around me worked at McDonald’s and Burger King. Working their way up to better jobs or getting themselves through post-education.
I got married and had babies. Three of them, to be exact.
When I first went back to work, I did well. Fell into positions that required experience I did not have, but also needed the personality and client handling that I could do blindfolded. So that was good and it allowed me to get experience to move on to better jobs. More hours, more money.
Then I moved to a small town. Where people have been at their jobs for decades and have no plans to leave. The only positions readily available were restaurants, because of students coming and going.
I finally got hired at a Tim Horton’s. Where the supervisors were 19 & 20. And the power trips were unbelievable. I can’t imagine telling someone 20 years older than me to go and clean the washroom and when they can and cannot go to the washroom themselves. There was such a lack of respect, it was horrible.
I moved to what I thought was a better place. Wendy’s. Boy, was I wrong. In this position I was a Supervisor, which I thought would be better. But the teenagers there, didn’t think they had to listen to me because I was ‘new’. I hadn’t ‘paid my dues’…after all, they had been there for months before me. When I discussed the issues with my new boss, he shrugged his shoulders and said there was nothing he could do to make them listen.
When I was their age, if you didn’t listen to your boss, you didn’t work!
How has this changed in the world? How have we become a society that has no control over the children? No control over our employees?
Something has to change in order for the natural flow of things to get back to normal. Children have no respect for adults anymore. Parents have no control. And this is what we call progress.
Employers have to remind themselves that they have a right to dismiss workers who don’t work. Stop worrying about their rights and remind themselves they are doing these ‘children’ no favors by letting them away with insubordination.
Yes they are teenagers. Yes this is a fast food place. They won’t always be there…hopefully.
But this job is also a stepping stone to getting them to where they want to be in the world. If we don’t correct inappropriate behaviour at this stage of the game…what will happen to them when they have a real job as an adult and they don’t think they need to listen? Because they have not been taught.
My advice to every teenager I have worked with in the last year and a bit has been this:
“Get a good education, pay attention in school and stay in school….so you don’t end up in a place like this when you are my age’
I hope they take me seriously.
So I might be a little late up to bat…but I am finally paying my dues. Sloughing ice cream day and night…studying Photography in my spare time. I know what I want to be when I grow up.
And I can’t wait to get there!