My First Job ~Beyond the Books

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Today we are talking about our first job. I am really humbled talking about my first job. This is a little embarrassing because it wasn’t very glamorous, or easy. My first job(s) were humiliating.

I started working a few days after I turned 16. I dropped out of school on my 16th birthday. That was an idiot move, but it made sense for me at the time since I never attended school. Yup, I was one of those kids. I partied a lot and hung out with all the bad kids. None of my friends at the time actually attended school. A few days after my birthday I went looking for a job to fund my self destructive lifestyle.

I put in just one application and got the job. I started my awesome career at Checkers.

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We lived about a mile away from Checker’s in Orlando, FL. I can clearly remember the long walk to work in the wee hours of the morning. I had to be there by 8:30 and more often than not it was hot as hell outside. 8:30 was really early for a kid like me. I had a stupid uniform shirt and hat and black pants. I thought I was so cool going to work, little did I realize it would be for the rest of my life.

Once upon a time… child labor laws did not exist. I know this sounds cruel, but for me this was perfect. I worked 40 hours a week right away. I made pretty good money for a kid with no bills. I made like 25¢ over minimum wage. Minimum wage was $4.25. I thought I was doing okay. I started off working the fries, then I graduated to making the burgers (think: frozen hockey puck patties on the grill). Once I did that for a bit, they made me a cashier. I did really well and it wasn’t long before I was running the “busy side”. I even worked it during the busy lunch hour.

Not everything was perfect though. Checkers had a problem keeping people. It didn’t take me long to figure out that revolving staff meant for shitty work conditions. For extra fun sometimes they would ask me to go out front of the store and wave that stupid flag. I hated it. It was really humiliating. I went looking somewhere else after about six months. It was then that I started working at Wendy’s.

wendys

I had to share this picture, it is pretty funny.

In all seriousness, I enjoyed working at Wendy’s. Dave Thomas really had a great concept of keeping food fresh. The burgers came in refrigerated, not frozen. I don’t want to say I was proud to work there, but I was proud of the quality of the food. I mean, as fast food goes, Wendy’s is probably the highest quality. The food is really good and always fresh. I actually ate there, even after working there. I still love Wendy’s.

I worked for Wendy’s for two years. That is a looooong time to work at at any fast food place. This was a time when employers didn’t have to offer medical, but Wendy’s did after one year of full-time employment. They ended up offering me the medical benefits, which I declined because my mother still had me insured. They started me at 75¢ over minimum wage and raised my pay regularly. I think I made $5.25 at the end of my two years.

I did learn a lot from my experience at my first 2 jobs, but mostly it was that I needed to go back to school. I got my GED and started attending college towards the end of my career at fast food. My greatest fear back then was to end up working fast food for the rest of my life.

My kids will not be working fast food as their first jobs. One is going to work on a local farm and the other will work at dog groomers until that job she was promised at the library opens up. I have campaigned against working fast food pretty heavily. I started at fast food because I didn’t think I had a choice, and no one told me anything different. Also, my kids are not dropping out of school like I did. Neither of them want to go to work and ask people “do you want fries with that?

What was your first job?

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By | 2017-12-16T10:20:38+00:00 Thursday, August 11, 2016|Beyond the Books|16 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.

16 Comments

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
    Twitter:
    August 11, 2016 at 10:48 am - Reply

    I had a major Checkers addiction when I was a teenager. Those burgers had the perfect combination of mustard and onion and seriously the fries! I occasionally buy a bag of their fries from the frozen food section and while they’re not quite as good they’re still pretty tasty. All the ones here closed except for one that’s in awful area of town so I haven’t been in years. Both my girls waited tables and hostessed at restaurants but my son started his working career at McDonalds. I think it was an interesting experience for them because they saw people who were doing this as their livelihood and I think it was eye opening for them!
    Check Out Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library’s most recent post- Beyond the Books – My First JobMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      Twitter:
      August 11, 2016 at 10:57 am - Reply

      It was absolutely eye opening for me. My mom worked at a grocery store her whole life, so it was very predictable that I would just settle for a career in fast food. But no way was I gonna settle for that.

  2. La La in the Library August 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    My first job was shoveling horse poo among other horsey things to pay for my riding lessons. Ha ha. Then I graduated to shoveling dog poo and bathing dogs at a show kennel to pay for my dog show expenses. My mother liked to spend her money on herself. XD I loved Wendy’s salad bar! It was one of my cravings when I was pregnant. I was sorry to see it go. We tend to eat there instead of McDonalds, so I am happy to hear the company treats their employees well. 🙂
    Check Out La La in the Library’s most recent post- JULY CHALLENGES UPDATEMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      Twitter:
      August 12, 2016 at 7:08 am - Reply

      Working with animals must have been rewarding, but a lot of work. Thanks for sharing your first jobs!

  3. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    Twitter:
    August 11, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I don’t eat much fast food but I do like me some Wendy’s. My first job was retail in at Michaels the craft store. It wasn’t bad but man working there during the holidays was no fun!!!
    Check Out Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog’s most recent post- Olympic Book TagMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      Twitter:
      August 12, 2016 at 7:09 am - Reply

      I worked at Target one holiday season, what a mad house! People loose their minds around the holidays.

  4. Greg August 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I used to love Checkers too, if I saw one and was hungry I’d be rolling through that bad boy. lol And I love that Wendy’s sign. Wendy’s was alright, compared to McDonalds or whatever I always thought their food was so much better. I dated a girl who worked at taco Bell and she had some stories…
    Check Out Greg’s most recent post- PanicMy Profile

  5. Valerie August 11, 2016 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    I’ve never worked at fast food because I just knew I would get sick of the food. Also Checkers didn’t exist where I lived, but I did hear good things about it once but well it seems like that is not the case haha.

    Finding your first job is horrible. My first job was bagging groceries, and it was only for maybe 2 months tops. I was just way too busy with school and life, that I didn’t get my first real job until junior year in college. I’m just so bad at retail or customer service and just talking to people in general, that I think I would definitely choose lab or research jobs over anything else.

    Ugh I don’t think I could ever go back for searching for a first job again! (Working at the dog groomers sounds fun though! Think of all the doggies!)
    Check Out Valerie’s most recent post- Review: FurthermoreMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      Twitter:
      August 12, 2016 at 7:11 am - Reply

      Checkers isn’t that bad, but I can’t help but think about the hockey puck patties when I think of them. You are so sweet, I can’t imagine you would have issues in retail. Then again, it sucks around the holidays, like Grace said. I am kinda going through it all over again thanks to my kids.

  6. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance August 12, 2016 at 12:57 am - Reply

    That’s good to hear about Wendy’s – the way they made their food and how they tried to help their employees with pay and eventual insurance. My first official job wasn’t until college, actually. I babysat as a teenager and I volunteered at my local library for about two years, but as an undergrad, I worked as a writing center consultant. You helped students with their paper – doing grammar checks, helping with research and citations, etc. It was a nice job and I did really like it. We had a lot of foreign students so sometimes I felt like I couldn’t help them enough with their limited English, but I got more and more used to accents so it wasn’t as difficult to understand them so I felt good about that!
    Check Out Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance’s most recent post- 2 LGBT+ Book Giveaways on GoodreadsMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      Twitter:
      August 12, 2016 at 7:13 am - Reply

      I utilized tutors when I went back to school. They were so important to my success. It is nice to hear you liked it.

  7. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    Twitter:
    August 13, 2016 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    I worked with food too! The pay was crap but when I was in my teens t was an absolute fortune and I loved it!
    Check Out Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings’s most recent post- BEYOND THE BOOKS – My First JobMy Profile

  8. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight
    Twitter:
    August 18, 2016 at 12:35 am - Reply

    I won’t lie, I am pretty excited to hear that you can still vouch for Wendy’s quality, since that is the fast food I choose if I have to 😂 I have never been to a Checkers, I don’t think that’s a “thing” around here, though I’ve seen signs for them on road trips across the country hah. I love that you learned something from those jobs too, it’s pretty awesome that you were able to realize that- and turn things around!

    My first job was lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons. Actually, it was kind of my ONLY job, aside from my one “real person” job- which was still only part time. I didn’t really *want* to work in high school, and was REALLY salty because my brother didn’t have to (even though, ironically, he WANTED to!). I was just spoiled, but also tired, because I had to get up at 5am for swim practice, and then be on my feet all day at the pool (only ONE chair, and about 10 guards so… you do the math 😉 ) and we only got minimum wage too- which was $5.15 at the time, in PA. I thought that was extra dumb because you have to pay a lot of money to take the lifeguarding certification course so like, give me more money 😂

    Then after college, I realized I had a useless degree… so I started lifeguarding again when it was legitimately the only job I could find. Oddly enough, I still only got minimum wage, and in the 6+ years since I had started, it had only raised to $5.50. Good times.
    Check Out Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight’s most recent post- #ShatteringStigmas: Rashika Recommended ReadsMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      Twitter:
      August 18, 2016 at 10:39 am - Reply

      That sucks. I thought lifeguards made more money. I guess there is a lot of sitting around for most of them thou (not you i guess). I so wish I didn’t have to work. I am baller at being unemployed, lol.

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