Paid Fun This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Walking out of school with a couple of friends after our last final, we nervously talked about the test questions in hopes that we all agreed on our answers. After figuring out how well we may have done, we decided to let go of all scholastic matters and celebrate summer. We walked to the corner restaurant to indulge in ice cream and plopped down on the vinyl-covered cushions. We didn’t need menus; we had memorized the ice cream list. Everyone had their “usual” and our waitress knew us by name. Little did I know that it would be my last time ordering as a customer.

On our way out, we all grabbed a job application. I knew I would need some money, and the restaurant was just a mile from my house so I could bike there. In the past, our group would meet at least once a day to get ice cream so everything would be exactly the same, except now we’d be paid!

We all started training the same day. It was hard at first but we got the hang of it pretty quickly. We were expected to serve at the ice cream window; refill the napkins, silverware, and condiments; and take a few tables every now and then. I always looked forward to working with my friends because we goofed off most of the night and still managed to get everything done. I worked every day except Sunday, and all I did on Sunday was think about work.

Nothing compares to receiving your first paycheck. I was beaming as my boss placed it in my hand. My first instinct was to spend it, but as I stood in the checkout line at the mall, I couldn’t hand it over. I thought about all the hours I’d spent earning it and got out of the line and returned home where I locked the money in my little safe. It sat there for two weeks before I finally treated myself to dinner and a movie.

Before that summer, it was so easy for me to spend money, and I never thought twice about asking my parents for money. After having a job, I realized how hard they actually work. From then on, I have put all my paychecks in a bank account and used my tip money for fun stuff. It felt good to finally help myself. My summer job definitely taught me the value of a dollar and made me appreciate all that my parents have done for 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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