Tuesday, April 19, 2016

5 Lessons My Son Learned at McDonald’s

     My Grandma and Granny taught me great things about cooking, sewing and practical domestic matters.  But my Grandpa taught me all those little things that keep me going in life.  Patience, perseverance, humility, kindness, and gratitude come to mind.  He always had an old cliché ready when we needed it.  I credit him with a lot of my “man skills,” as well as having a large impact on my drive and work ethic.  It’s always made me sad that he passed away before my son was born.  He is the one person who had a large influence in my life that I truly wish could have influenced my son’s life as well.

     My son is learning some of the great clichés that my grandfather taught me from the most surprising of places – McDonald’s!  Yesterday he went to the first job interview of his life.  And tomorrow he will be attending the orientation for his new job.  In the last 24 hours I have watched my son suddenly understand so many of the things that my husband and I have been telling him for years.  I suppose that seeing really is believing.

     Lesson #1 – You only get one chance to make a first impression.  He didn’t understand why we wanted him to put on his dress clothes and tie his hair back in a tight and tidy ponytail.  After all, he was only going to ask about when he might expect to hear back about the application he filled out online.  He made such a great first impression that the manager took him to a table for an interview and hired him on the spot. 

     Lesson #2 – If you aren’t 10 minutes early, then you are late. He’s tolerated being early to everything for most of his life because I insist that we need to “get going now”.  At bowling league, he always has time to put on his shoes and get in a little extra coaching time before we officially get started.  Despite this, he’s never really appreciated it – until his new boss told him that he always likes for people to be about 10 minutes early for work in order to make the shift change go smoother.  He’s grateful that he has already developed this habit in his life.

     Lesson #3 - It never hurts to ask. You just might be told “Yes!” He applied for the job and then allowed 12 days to pass waiting for someone to contact him.  We convinced him to go to the store and ask the manager about it.  Thirty minutes later he had a job.  Really!  If there is something you want, then you should step up and ask.  (Within reason.  Begging Mark Zuckerberg for a billion dollars via Twitter is not what I’m talking about here.  There is a difference between standing up for your own interests and demanding things that you have no business requesting.)

     Lesson #4 - Attitude is everything.  People appreciate a great attitude.  You will make more friends and get further in life from this one simple character trait than anything else that you do.  Be positive.  Show self confidence.  Look a person in the eye and give them a firm handshake.  These seem like simple and obvious pieces of advice, but they can make all the difference in the world – especially if you don’t follow the advice. 

     Lesson #5 – Don’t let other people make your decisions for you.  The moment that you search McDonald’s online; you will be bombarded by people telling you how awful they are.  The food is unhealthy.  The job is hard work.  The pay is lousy.  The hours are long.  The company doesn’t care about the employees.  Listening to everything that the media tells us about McDonald’s, my son was convinced that they would shackle him to the register and beat him every time he got an order wrong.  But he took a chance and applied.  The manager who interviewed him started out when he was 17 years old working on the counter just like my son is now.  Today he is a manager and he loves his job.  He made my son feel comfortable and welcome there.  Additionally, all of the employees in the store were very friendly to him while he was there.  The atmosphere in this store is very positive and I think that he will enjoy his first job at this McDonald’s.

     Yes, the work probably will be hard.  And he’s not going to make millions of dollars working the register at the local McDonald’s.  There will be days when he will be yelled at by his boss, as well as his customers.  There will also be times when he just doesn’t want to get up and go to work.  He’s a 16 year old kid and these are all lessons that he needs to learn.  And they will be true no matter what he chooses for his first job. 

     Life is actually pretty simple.  There are basic things that we all need to do in order to survive.  Earning money is one of those things.  Certain life lessons are going to lead us to be able to do that well.  A good attitude and a strong work ethic are two of the most important things that I can teach my son in life.  And I firmly believe that McDonald’s has already started teaching him those things even before his first day on the job.

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