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.
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