By LAURYN BEST
Being a student is a full time job in and of itself, but some students choose to take on the extra responsibility of working a part time job. I am one of those students. There are a multitude of reasons for why I felt the need to begin the job hunt, besides being able to buy whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Being apart of a family of five in a middle class family means you quickly learn that your wants are not the only things that matter. If my older brother needed a tooth fixed; we didn’t go to the movie theaters for a while. If Mom needed to take her car to the shop; say goodbye to desert in my lunchboxes for a month. When I was younger this seemed like the end of the world, and I was subjected to countless lectures on the importance of “gratefulness” until maturity set in. As I got older the number on the cash register after a trip to the grocery store made me cringe, and I regretted asking for those fruit roll-ups. My parents joking refrain of “do you have *insert item I wanted at the time* money?” no longer went through one ear out the other.
For a while I ignored their suggestion of getting an actual job. But after declining invitations to go out with friends and more anxious trips to the grocery store I did something out of character: I took my parents advice.
Soon afterwards I began to regret this brief moment of insanity, but there was no going back. The process of looking for a job was…discouraging to say the least. As someone used to instant gratification the 4 month search for part time hours was less than desirable. I wanted to give up multiple times, and 50 applications later I began wondering what the heck was so wrong with me. My hopes of a summer job were crushed with school starting in just a week, until I got an email for a place I had been eyeing since my job search began. It had yet to be opened when I inquired about the restaurant, and my constant emails and phone calls must’ve either really annoyed or impressed the owner. I’d like to go with the first option.
So I went to the interview and the rest is history. Happily ever after…right?
Not exactly. I think after months of looking, I lost sight of what it was I was looking for- a job aka physical/mental labor. I was suddenly thrust into the service industry where the customer is king and if they want ketchup on their funnel cake, I have to give it to them gosh darn it. As an introvert scrubbing the toilet at 11pm on a Saturday night is nothing, but constantly interacting with sometimes rude, demanding people for 6 hours at a time is downright exhausting.
It is in this kind of environment where I really have to push myself to my limits. Yes, people are going to scream at me for forgetting to put extra ketchup on their hotdogs. Yes, my face hurts from smiling at people who refuse to smile back. Yes, it’s kind of impossible to listen to 3 managers tell me to do 3 different things in 3 different parts of the store at the same time. But I wouldn’t trade the feeling I get when an elderly lady thanks me for reading the menu aloud to her, when a little boys eyes light up at the sight of his food, or when my boss thanks me for staying past my shift for anything.
You know why?
Because I worked hard for it, and that’s one of the most gratifying feelings in the world.
Categories: Editor Columns