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Joining The Real World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My parents have always told me that hard work is the key to success. I began a long and, for me, painstaking search to find a job. I did not want to work and wasn't too serious about filling out applications at first. I soon realized, however, that my parents were serious and I better be, too.

Two weeks later, I came home to find a message that someone had called about a job and would call back the next day. But my sister couldn't remember where the person had called from. This gave me the night to imagine my future job. I envisioned a glamorous, well-paying job. Maybe working wouldn't be that bad. So when the phone rang the next day, I was excited. "Jacqui? This is Kim, from McDonald's." Can you feel my disappointment? I wasn't thrilled, but I agreed to go for an interview.

I spent the week praying and hoping someone, anyone, would call. No one did. So one beautiful summer morning, I arrived at McDonald's to face my doom. The interview went really well and Kim was great. Kim called soon after to tell me the job was mine if I wanted it. I tried to convince my parents I shouldn't accept it; I even tried the old "holding out for something better" routine. But it was to no avail.

So a week later I walked into McDonald's wearing a cheap shirt, ugly shoes, black pants and a hat ten sizes too big. My first night was a disaster. I was the slowest worker and could not, for the life of me, figure out the keys on the register. Five hours later, my feet ached so much, I thought I would never walk again; I had a huge stain on my shirt and all I could think was: I did this for minimum wage? Nevertheless, I returned courageously the next day, and the day after that.

I have been a McDonald's employee for six months now and actually enjoy working there - and not just because I got a raise. I like serving elderly people their "senior coffee" and listening as they brag about their 13 grandchildren. I like the McDonald's Code (words only McDonald's employees comprehend). I like earning my own money and not having to rely on my parents for everything. I like being appreciated for the work I do. As much as I hate to admit it, I guess my parents were right: hard work is the key to success and working is beneficial. I'll have to tell that to the new kid we just hired and smile as he glares at me.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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