What Working Has Taught Me

Ever since I turned old enough to legally have a job, I’ve been working. It’s almost hard to remember what it felt like to not have a job at all. No extra responsibilities, no late nights on closing shifts and plenty of free time to do whatever I wanted. It’s easy to say that I miss the days where I didn’t have to work, but I’d be lying. All of my jobs, especially those in food service, have helped me to learn new skills, develop better habits and overall, grow as a person.


When I turned 15, I got my first job working at a BBQ restaurant. It was counter service business, and that meant that I had to work the register, prep and cook all of the food and take care of the cleaning jobs. I didn’t realize how difficult (and stinky) it was to complete tasks like cleaning a deep fryer and pulling 50 pounds of pork a day, all while dealing with customers who seemed eager to complain about every little detail. After three years, I quit my high school job to leave for college. As challenging, and often gross, as this job was, it taught me so much about the inner workings of a restaurant which has proven to be very valuable. I now know how to clean the toughest grease stains, make a BBQ dish and all the sides from scratch and handle a screaming customer throwing a stack of to-go menus at me with a smile on my face (yes, really).


My second job, that I’m still currently at, is a manager position at a frozen custard chain. The store is in my hometown, so I only work there during school breaks. I love working here, and I know I’ll miss it when I have to leave once I find my “big-girl job.” Managing high school students can be tough, but it has helped me so much with leadership and logistical skills. The free frozen custard isn’t a bad bonus, either.


While I’m at school, I currently work as a student assistant in my dean’s office. I am so grateful for this job, and the connections it has afforded me. It’s the first job I’ve ever had that isn’t in food service, and it’s nice learning how to work at a desk as opposed to standing on my feet and running around to get orders done all day. I never realized how much “office etiquette” there is to learn, and this job has definitely prepared me for many future career by helping me develop my professional communication skills.


I’m a firm believer that everyone should work while they are young, time allowing of course. There are so many important things to learn, whether it’s to do with customer service or answering an office phone. Having a job isn’t always fun (that’s why it’s called work) but I wouldn’t trade the things I’ve learned for the world.