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 Sept. 27, 2014
I've been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I've had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years. So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
Sunday morning, we headed to Mequon to pick apples, although not to Barthel's. On a friend's tip, we visit R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience. Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.
Published Sept. 20, 2014
I've had a full day now to play with the brand new iPhone 6. Like most pieces of new technology, it's a mixed bag. iPhones aren't new to me - I've owned every one but the first model, and I use mine nonstop as both a work and personal device. This model is different in many ways, but as usual, the biggest story here is the software, not the hardware.
Published Sept. 16, 2014
Entering play tonight, the Brewers are 1.5 games out of the playoff picture. Right now, all of Milwaukee should be very excited about the Brewers, starting with me. Yet, for some reason, we're not.
Published Sept. 1, 2014
If OnMilwaukee.com was a child - and it many ways it feels like one to me - Milwaukee's Daily Magazine would be getting its driver's license today. It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.
Published Aug. 27, 2014
Back in June, I wrote about the five summer kids trips I couldn't wait to take. Well, summer got busy, and despite my best intentions, I only made it to one of my top five suggestions. But that's not to say I was a deadbeat dad this season. My almost-6-year-old and I had lots of fun this summer, and in fact, we found a few other places to visit as the calendar inched closer to the return of school. All three were just within an hour from home.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
I recently interviewed a former boss, a courageous woman who once hired me as an intern. She's now affiliated with the Milwaukee Masterpiece, a high-end car show. Meet Bev Jurkowski, my mentor, and the woman crazy enough to ask me to be a "celebrity judge" this weekend at the show.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
Chicago native Molly Fay didn't expect to host a talk show. But the former investigative journalist, mother of three and self-described introvert, found herself doing just that eight years ago when WTMJ-4 launched "The Morning Blend," and she hasn't looked back. We caught up with Fay over coffee last week to discuss where she's been and where she's going. And why every person, even if their job seems mundane, has a story to tell.
Published Aug. 13, 2014
I quite enjoyed the "Garlicmeister" last time, but I'm pretty sure I'm now partial to their $9 "Baconmeister" meal. With 1/3 pound of Angus beef, topped with bourbon bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato and cheese (I opted for cheddar), it's the brioche bun that makes the difference to me. It comes with homemade chips or fries and a drink.
Published Aug. 12, 2014
I could pretty much eat falafel every day of my life and never get tired of it. The fried chickpea dish is close to the perfect vegetarian dish, and whether you claim it's Israeli or Arabic, it's one meal that everyone in the Middle East can agree is great.