“Money often costs too much.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s no secret, money is important to us. Getting an income early in life helps incredibly when it comes to having a leg up for your future. Education is expensive, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any cheaper, so the best bet is to budget and grind to make it all work.
Getting An Interview
I first started earning my income in March of 2019. I applied to Chick-Fil-A. I will never forget the day. I was relaxing with some friends by the poolside on a Saturday afternoon when my phone rings and the restaurant manager asked if I could come in the following Monday for an interview.
Dressing up in my best button-up shirt and dress pants, I sat down at the booth with the managers and answered the questions they gave me. I’ll be honest: Looking back on the day, it is all a blur. At the end of it all, I was handed the uniform and hired on the spot. To this day, I think that was one of my greatest accomplishments.
Working Part-Time In School
I’m really happy to be working at Chick-Fil-A. As everyone knows, they’re closed every Sunday. I enjoy working, but I still like to have time for my friends and family; working is fantastic, but I don't want to sacrifice relationships for it. As a full-time student, I work 23-hour weeks and I believe I’ve created a balance between my professional life and personal life. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I devote to my job, and Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are days I spend at leisure.
Working there has taught me a lot of concrete skills. I’ve been trained to handle a cash register, counting money and giving back change accurately. I know how fountain drink machines work and how to replace the syrup bags that keep the flavors coming day in and day out. Constantly, ingredients and condiments need restocking, as all day, they’re being used by the hundreds of customers that come through. Nowadays I’m a drive-thru attendant, using a portable device to take orders from vehicle to vehicle.
Time Management Skills
Beyond that, my employment Chick-Fil-A has really helped me with important skills that will benefit me in “the real world.” The first of those skills is time management. Showing up on time and being prepared to work shows responsibility, and I’m proud to say that I haven’t once been late to a shift. I drive myself to work and leave with ample time, just in case there happens to be a surge in traffic at any given moment.
Some people think of a part-time job as a boring affair. It’s work, it doesn’t pay spectacularly. I was afraid I would look at it the same way. Instead, what I’ve found is it’s about the attitude with which you approach the task at hand.
I wanted to get a job because I wanted to be a contributing member of society and of my community. I happened to have extra time in my afternoons, so I figured it would be a positive way to spend those hours, while at the same time, earning an income that I could put toward my future.
The experience is something that I believe that everyone should be able to take part in.
Working With People
Working at a job where service is the name of the game, you meet people from all walks of life. Some are nice; others, not so much. When the difficult people come around, it can really get to be a nuisance; however, there’s a critical lesson to be learned: keep your temper under control. As much as sometimes I really want to snap back at a rude patron because he/she has an attitude or a snarky demeanor, I always have to keep in mind: I have something to lose, and they don’t.
On the other hand, the nice people you encounter can really brighten your day. Perhaps it differs by region, but I believe that Chick-Fil-A has the nicest customers. I think that might be the reason I enjoy working there so much. When the orders and transactions are smooth, time really flies.
Someday I will have to move on from Chick-fil-A. Like the old adage says, it will be time to move to greener pastures. A lot of people I’ve worked with at the start of my time there are gone, and new people have come in their place. I sincerely think I will never forget my first job. It’s where I’ve learned the most about managing responsibilities and obligations and social skills.
That is why I wanted to get a job. I wanted to learn how to have a good work ethic, to handle things like an adult, to be relied upon and held to a professional standard. And of course, most importantly, I’m being paid to work.
One can’t deny that money is important; it’s important to save money, spend it wisely, and budget it. Having a job, with a salary and a weekly schedule, teaches you that, I believe. It’s something that really makes me feel productive. Instead of sitting around all afternoon, I decided I would rather make something of myself, to “hustle” as it were. That’s the mission, and one year later it remains the same. If money makes the world go around, I’m going to do what I can to get a leg up on the game.
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Check out the other finalists here: 2020 Side Hustlin’ Student Scholarship Results Page.