It seems like Iíve always had a job. I donít actually Ďneedí one the way some of my friends did since my parents are generous enough to pay for my insurance and provide a car for me to use. I choose to have a job because it worked for me. Looking around, Iím wishing that more of my friends had a job, even if it was just something they did on the weekends.
The little jobs you get as your first job arenít earth-shattering. In some ways they are downright embarrassing. For many girls, we start out as babysitters. Then we might move on to working in fast food or if youíre really lucky, grabbing a spot at the mall or in a restaurant. Iíll be honest Ė my first job was working at a local fast food chain. I had a uniform and an outstandingly awesome hat to wear. I had a badge with my name on it, but that job taught me a lot about getting there on time, staying until my shift was done, following the rules and taking care of business. It was also the first time I cleaned a public restroom and I did learn a lot about how food in the industry is made Ė interesting stuff for sure.
Iím going to tell you a secret you should already know. You are not going to be friends with everyone. There are people you wonít like Ė often for no reason. And there are people who wonít like you for the same reason.
However, knowing this, itís not an excuse to treat others with anything but friendly respect Ė especially if youíre getting paid to be the cheerful greeter in your neighborhood Applebeeís. When youíre forced to be nice to people as part of your job, itís easy to see how simple it can be and how much nicer it makes everything to fake politeness. Friendly (or fake-friendly) communication is one of the most important things I ever learned working part-time jobs. Iím convinced Iíll be using it forever.
I donít know about you, but Iíve gone to the school
with essentially the same kids for the last decade Ė or it feels that way. When you get a job and suddenly youíre spending time out ďin the worldĒ, you get an entirely new perspective on life. Iíve worked with adults who never had a chance to go to school because they were supporting their families. Iíve seen and learned from adults who wish they could go back and do things differently in school. Iíve made friends with far more people outside of school than in school, and itís very nice change to get out of the rumor-driven drama-land that high school can be.
Having a job makes you a better person. You get a better sampling of what real life is well before youíre expected to actually join it full-time. Itís like a sampling of what is to come or what might be, and there is nothing like working in a fast-food restaurant for six months to open your eyes to the merits of a high school and college diploma.