This summer, I quit my first job after nearly three years. I worked at Chipotle ever since my first year of undergrad. With everything I do, I try to make sure that I can learn from it. This kind of job may not be the kind of job where a lot of people deem to be learnable from, but I was so thankful for my experience especially since I had been looking for a job all summer before the start of my first year of college. There were so many places that just wouldn’t take their chance on high schooler (shoutout to the manager that hired me at the time, Greg).
For two years and eleven months, I kept that job. Here are four things I learned while working at Chipotle.
The time that you arrive matters.
The old saying goes, “to be early means you’re on time; to be on time means you’re late,” and I took that to heart for my first job (yes, for a fast food job). I can count on one hand the amount of times I was actually late for work. And the managers took notice. If you showed up at any kind of time, any kind of way, with no sense of feeling bad for not being on time, they knew you probably not be a part of the team for long, as I came to find out. Being on time was especially imperative for shift changes. There is nothing more frustrating than being left with just two people trying to serve 30+ people in the middle of a rush. Which brings me to my next two points;
Your loyalty matters.
A job at Chipotle is more than just showing up to clock in, doing what you need to do, and clocking out. The goal of working at Chipotle is to eventually become a manager. You are trained on not only learning how to roll a burrito (which is harder than it looks), but to develop leadership, teamwork, and managerial skills to use while you’re there. But as good as that sounds, things are always easier said than done or executed. Not everyone I started with when I was first hired was there when I left. And when the extra work had to be picked up, I made sure I did what I could to help out because I witnessed firsthand some of the daily things my managers had to deal with. This brings us to the third point;
When you care, it shows.
I knew how important it was for the team to work together, especially when the managers were already under pressure for various reasons, a lot that was out of their control. Whether I asked them where help was needed, or I took it upon myself, I wanted to make sure they knew I was someone they could depend on. I even thought a long time about becoming a manager. But I knew I wanted to finish school and I was already feeling a lot of pressure and stress balancing the two. But I never let that deter my work ethic.
Be nice to those in customer service.
Now that I know all the time, energy, and physical labor it takes to be behind the scenes, I have a different understanding and appreciation for people in customer service. Don’t misunderstand–I’ve never been one to be rude or standoffish to people in customer service (and if I have or seemed like I was, I am definitely sorry). To have to stand on your feet for hours at a time, having people tell you what they want, or what you did wrong, or the occasional person who complains about something you or your manager cannot change even after they threaten to call corporate (and when they do, have to corporate people tell them the same exact thing) is a different kind of frustration and annoyance. Be kind to all people, including those in customer service, friends.
I definitely miss my coworkers and I will always cherish the valuable skills and experiences I gained from working here. Now I just have to get used to paying full price for Chipotle for the rest of my life again.