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Laptop: $725, iPod: $115, DVD player: $75, knowing you earned the money to buy these luxurious items by working all summer long: priceless.
Having a job as a teenager can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life; however, the social benefits quickly surpass the mere week-by-week paycheck. More important than the sudden cash flow are the people teenagers are forced to cooperate with under any circumstances, their coworkers. As a teenager at any typical teenage job, such as the nearest burger joint or a store in the mall, he or she is experiencing the workplace for the first time, mostly with absolute strangers. Developing relationships, whether they are forced or natural, with one’s coworkers is a challenge taken on by millions of teenagers as they reluctantly clock-in for another day at work. The following are descriptions of diverse types of coworkers found within any teenage work setting in America, and probably throughout the entire world. The names have remained unchanged due to the risk of these people taking their show on the road. In that case, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
The Darrin: Employee of the Century
With his slicked back hair and award-winning smile, the Darrin is the employee who does it all: arrives to work three hours early, takes any and every unwanted shift, and stays late to spot-check and restock after all other employees have left. One cannot help but wonder if the Darrin has any sort of life outside of the work place, for his omnipresence has raised suspicions about his sleeping on a cot in the storage room each night. Although the Darrin’s enthusiasm to please customers has brought in more money than all other employees combined, his arrogance and constant pursuit to be “the best” has caused the entire work staff to loathe him (all except the boss, of course). After one more month of nothing but raises and praises flying in the Darrin’s direction, the boss places yet another cheesy Dollar Store framed picture of the Darrin on the infamous “Employee of the Month” wall (which, by the way, is covered with only pictures of the Darrin’s too-many-teeth-for-one-mouth smile). Though the Darrin may always be number one in the boss’ eyes, the fact that he wears a different Disney character tie to work each day is something you can always hold against him.
The Logan: The Flirt Who Doesn’t Know Your Name
Piercing green eyes, silky brown hair, and muscles bulging from his work shirt are just a few characteristics of the Logan, the gorgeous coworker who girls have daydreams about while they’re taking out the trash. The only problem with this teenage girl’s dream come true is, well, he has about the same IQ as a cardboard box. Although he has managed to give out his phone number (All seven numbers in the right order?! Amazing!) and suggested to “call him sometime,” he doesn’t even know anyone’s first name. The Logan is mere eye candy, not to mention an excuse for any teenage girl to actually go to work… even if she just sits there and drools all over the cash register for forty-five minutes.
The Mary: Your Typical Floozy
The Mary is the type of girl that the Logan will actually take the time to get to know, whether it’s because of her two times too small work uniform or the fact that they have the same IQ. Scary, I know. The Mary is the coworker with the high-pitched voice one can hear screaming from the back, “No! Oh my gosh do not, like, spray me with that hose, Logan! I will, like, kill you if you get my hair wet! Oh my gosh!” Although it may sound as if she’s spending all her time screaming about the deathly effects of water and talking to Logan about the latest flavor of yogurt, don’t be fooled. The Mary successfully struts her stuff in front of all the male staff, including the boss. Such circumstances make one wonder if that’s the only reason the Mary still has her job.
The Ryan: Manager without a Cause
Decked out in dress pants and brown leather loafers that look very inappropriate, the Ryan is the "manager" who is strangely only a few years older than the high school kids working for a little extra cash. Nobody is quite sure how the Ryan got his rather powerful job, and it is very common for the Ryan to have come straight from another city, or even another state, to hold his new position. He has a mysterious background and speaks mostly in riddles and one-word answers. Most of the women workers find themselves oddly attracted to the Ryan, even though they are aware that they have only exchanged two or three words with him at best, not to mention that he is their superior. It is not uncommon for his age to be unknown-- some say he is twenty-seven while others will argue that he is eighteen and fresh out of high school. The Ryan usually has eyes that are some shade of blue and is unafraid to use them to woo female workers when he drops by for the occasional "check-in". As time goes on, it becomes evident that the Ryan is that guy who drank more alcohol during his high school years than the amount the state of Rhode Island sold in 2007. However, it also becomes clearer with time that the Ryan is really not that mysterious-- his weird preying on the younger employees would actually classify him as a creep, not an enigma.
The Bianca: Minimalism at Its Finest
Strolling into work at least forty-five minutes late every day, the Bianca is the co-worker that everybody kind of wishes didn't work there. The Bianca does not hesitate to declare that she doesn't feel like working on any given day, while allowing the person (or people) working with her to do all the work. When one asks this lazy girl to maybe pitch in a little bit, the Bianca will almost always respond with a scowl or a "You're up already, why don't you do it?" Though apparently aware of her lack of work ethic, the Bianca is always shocked when her paycheck does not equal that of every other worker's. The Bianca leaves work before she is relieved, refuses to switch shifts with anyone (especially if it invades her personal time), and takes lunch breaks for thirty minutes longer than what is permitted. If she's not filing her nails or reading the latest issue of Vogue, the Bianca is spreading rumors around the workplace for her own entertainment. However, what's really amusing is that right when the Bianca's presence becomes something close to tolerable, one will arrive at work only to find that he or she has to work the shift all alone because the Bianca has quit without putting in her two-weeks-notice.
With such an array of coworkers found in the teenage workplace, interesting relationships are made between the most unexpected of people. It’s hard to predict what the outcome will be when so many are gathered together over one common goal: payday. The drama, the fights, the raises, and the romances are all a part of the corporate experience and will ultimately prepare teenagers for the real world. Stay hopeful, society, because a Darrin, Logan, Mary, Ryan, or Bianca could one day be ruling a corporate giant near you.