Do you remember your first job?
Of course you do, and if you're like me, you remember it with great clarity. The details are fuzzy on jobs two through five, at least, but that first one was special, even if it wasn't glamorous or all that lucrative.
For me, my first job was at McDonald's. I was 15, and I worked after school and on weekends, somewhere between five and 15 hours per week. I flipped burgers, fried fries and took orders. I wasn't very good at assembling Big Macs, really, but I tried hard. I made minimum wage when I started -- $4 an hour. Eventually, I got a 10 cent raise. I left that job a year later in 1990 making $4.25, when the minimum wage rate was raised.
I wore a name tag and a goofy uniform. This was as McDonald's was making the transition from short-sleeve pinstriped shirts and clip-on ties to maroon polos and black polyester pants. I mopped floors and cleaned bathrooms. I came home smelling like Chicken McNuggets every night. And yes, I ate there all the time, cooking my own food.
I continued to eat at McDonald's after I left, too, just not as much.
I look back at the experience fondly, and it taught me early lessons about customer service, teamwork, dedication and the value of money.
I don't know if I'd call the job especially romantic, but it was my very first source of disposable income. I took my first $300 I earned and bought myself a remote control car. The money I earned during my summer vacation allowed me to go to movies and play pool and do all the other stuff that I did as a teenager that I've long since forgotten.
I don't remember the names of the coworkers anymore, either, but I remember their personalities. Some were other students, while others were moms or seniors, and some were management bound. For me, it was early enforcement that I would go to college and work somewhere, someday, where I didn't wear a name tag and a polyester uniform.
Which isn't to say there's anything wrong with that -- McDonald's was hard, honest work, and to this day, I treat fast-food employees with a ton of respect. I walked a mile in their shoes, and it wasn't always easy.
To that end, McDonald's has partnered with OnMilwaukee.com to highlight McDonald's National Hiring Day. On April 19, the company will hire 500 crew and management positions in southeastern Wisconsin, and up to 50,000 new employees nationwide. In this economy, that's a big deal.
And we'd like to hear your success stories about a time in your life when you worked at McDonald's, and how you used the skills you acquired in your career.
Please take a moment to submit a reader's blog. All participants will receive a free small McCafe beverage, and the most inspiring blogs will be shared in McDonald's restaurants this fall. We're excited to hear your stories.
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published July 25, 2016
Jessica Tighe is an appreciative person. While the Elm Grove native has worked in West Virginia, the Quad Cities and La Crosse, now she's home and co-anchoring the morning news on CBS 58. Ask Tighe how it feels and she actually gets goose bumps: "I have family here. I'm invested in this market," she says with a smile.
Published July 11, 2016
Summerfest 2016 may have come and gone, but the memories will live forever - because we at OnMilwaukee took enough photos and video to fill a large hard drive.
Published July 9, 2016
Playing before the Barenaked Ladies and OMD, Howard Jones got the 6 p.m. spot at the BMO Harris Pavilion Saturday night, and while that's not exactly top billing for an artist who had 15 top 40 singles during his career, I'll take it.
Published July 9, 2016
In a word, Paul McCartney was amazing tonight. I feel beyond fortunate that I've now seen him play twice. Now back at the office, at midnight, Bobby is writing the main review, but I have some stuff to say, too. Random stuff, so please indulge me.
Published July 7, 2016
Go ahead; get those laughs out of the way. I'm trying to write a serious review of Anthony Ray's Big Gig show. You, of course, know him as Sir Mix-a-Lot, and unless you listened to his tapes in the early '90s, you probably recognize just one of his songs.
Published June 30, 2016
If you've ever bought an official Summerfest T-shirt, hat or other branded gift, it's first gone through Dan Elias. As vice president of The Specialized Marketing Group Inc., he's managed the merch for the Big Gig for 17 years.
Published June 28, 2016
In college, I had a reoccurring nightmare that I was trapped on a crazy elevator. Lately, that's been replaced by what I call the "fat finger" dream. I've talked to a few people, including co-worker Molly Synder, who has had it, too.
Published June 27, 2016
OnMilwaukee publisher Andy Tarnoff is very impressed with this year's Summerfest lineup, but he thinks the strongest day for the Big Gig is on July 9. For his money, he's especially excited about Howard Jones and, obviously, Sir Paul McCartney. Here are his picks.
Published June 11, 2016
"It's good to be king." Mel Brooks actually said that, quoting himself, to a sold-out show Saturday night at the Riverside. Based on the remarkable stories, the adoring reception and the super-human energy from this soon-to-be 90-year-old film legend, I believe him.
Published May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.