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Wet Feet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   This was it. I was officially entering the real world - well, I was getting my feet wet. Starting my first job was a symbol of freedom away from home. It was freedom because I no longer had to rely on my parents for money. It showed responsibility because this was a real job, not the kind of chore you get grounded for if you don't do. But, was I really ready for this? Yeah, I survived the grueling interviews and the nosy little application. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but doubt I was really capable of surviving.

Sixteen years and four days old, I was legally ready to go to work. And that is what I did. I woke up that Sunday morning and dressed in my uniform. Black pants and a plain t-shirt wasn't exactly glamorous. I pulled on my old tennis shoes while my mom and dad wished me luck. Arriving a few minutes early, I had to meet with the supervisor before I clocked in at 11: 30. The building was shabby looking. It wasn't a new building like you think most hospitals are in. My supervisor was a really large, black-haired lady. She wasn't just overweight; she was big. So I was scared. I couldn't tell you exactly why. Her size just made me want to run and hide.

In the office Cathy, my supervisor, gave me my handbook and some aprons. Clocking in, I didn't know exactly what to do. My best friend was there to help me. She explained how late we could clock in without being docked and how early we could clock out.

I then had to drive to my dreaded place of work. My hands were shaking as I shoved the heavy, white galley door open. Then, to my surprise, I was greeted by a heavy-set gray-haired lady named Vicky - she was Cathy's sister. She said she was going to train me. I took a deep breath and wanted nothing more than to die. Vicky didn't seem very friendly or nice. She had this attitude written all over her every action that she was boss.

She showed me quickly where I could find everything and explained the job that I would be doing in seconds. My head was spinning. Shouting commands at my new fellow employees, she wasn't going to be my friend.

"Don't worry about her. She may think she is big and bad, but she isn't," Lisa, a short, blonde girl, noticing my dismay. "She scared me at first, but I am still here." I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled.

As this large, gray-haired lady named Vicky (whom I would later rename with not such a nice name) bossed us around like slaves, I realized why they called it the hard, cruel world. In the real world there are the bosses who are in total control of the little people, even if the little people don't know it. The boss may not be any smarter or any better than their employees. Then, in this odd little place known as the real world, there are the little people who do their jobs right and must put up with the big bad boss.

But, as time went on and the days turned into weeks, I began to comprehend how this world worked. My job wasn't as bad or scary as that first day. I started to get to know my fellow workers. I began to make friends with Lisa and some of the others. Catching on quickly, I didn't have to listen to Vicky gripe, and even began to brag about how good I was doing. I soon learned what I could get by with and what I couldn't. Drink the juice - only when Vicky isn't there. Don't throw trash in the trash can after it has been taken out for the night. Don't talk on the phone at certain times, and don't let your friends come out to see you until all the head people are gone. Most of all I learned to put my fears aside and do my best.

I have been at my job for over a year and a half. I have seen many employees come and go. Going from "The new girl" to "She knows what she is doing," I feel as comfortable at work as I do at home. I have survived the bad days and seen some good ones. Though I don't plan to work much longer because I will soon be going to college, I have learned many valuable lessons while I have been there. Now I understand the true meaning of stress when I hear adults talk about it. No longer do I have to say I understand what they mean when they talk about the real world of working; now I can sympathize with them. c


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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