No Shame in Waiting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I’m not ashamed. I like my job. I mean, it isn’t my life’s passion, but somehow I manage to have fun with it. I enjoy meeting new people, and sometimes I am fortunate enough to learn something interesting about someone. It may be my nature that draws me to this kind of job. I work at Izzy’s Pizza Bar and Buffet.

Today an elderly couple came in just after 3 p.m. The first thing they said was, “Where is Nan?” Nan normally opens Monday through Thursday and gets off at 4, but today she asked me to come in an hour early. I agreed since Nan is my mother.

You could say this couple was fairly disappointed to learn that Nan would not be in today, since they enjoyed the gabfest with her during the restaurant down time. But when I explained I was her daughter, they were thrilled to meet me. It seemed my mom had bragged about me to all her regular customers. They asked me about school and my sister. We had a nice conversation, comparable to a girl speaking with her grandparents. These are the type of people who give me pleasure in doing my job.

Later that night, I waited on two men. It took some effort to get them to be friendly. I explained I was waitressing over the summer to make some extra cash for school. I also said I was grateful that my mom had trained me, since she was also my coworker. I was new to serving and the restaurant business, but her tips and training have helped me tremendously. They were taken aback at the idea of me and my mother working at the same restaurant. I was a bit confused because I had always received a surprised but positive response from everyone I had told.

Once all the customers had finished eating, I began my closing duties. All alone in the lobby, I worked, using the time to reflect on my day, or rather, life. I rushed around getting everything done, thinking about those two men. Why did they get under my skin? I couldn’t even count the number of times I had talked about my mom at work, but this time was different. This time I was different.

Not very long ago, my mom was a single parent raising two daughters. Although I am now legally an adult, I still haven’t figured out who I really am. I often think of where I came from and wonder where life will take me. I feel blessed to have a mother who believes in me with all of her being. What kept her going all those mornings when she was totally exhausted from working three jobs was her belief that things would get better and that good things would come to those who work hard.
I believe that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I could have let those men make me feel ashamed, but I didn’t. Why should I be ashamed? I feel overwhelming pride.

Tonight I realized that your job doesn’t have to define who you are as a person. My mother treats people with respect, regardless of their occupation. I meet about a hundred people in a day of work and few leave a lasting impression. Today I met four people who redefined my outlook and left me a step closer to finding my identity. Past, present, and future, I will strive to always have pride in the person I was, am, and aspire to be.

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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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

spency said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm
100/100 good job
Defiance_14 said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 12:41 am
Where's the 'like' button?
Chinesegirl said...
Apr. 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm
Wow! It sounds just like me, I'm almost 18 and i felt the same way as you do. Don't worry girl just be your self and i'm sure you'll be ok. Maybe thinking about dating or just chill out with your friend.
ntaoleng T. said...
Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm
the story is quite true for most if not all teens. its as if we are searching for "us"!!!! i loved it lots.
ilovemyBFF's4ev said...
Jan. 15, 2009 at 12:25 am
i love this story,,, it is really good.
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