“Oh… you work at Chick-fil-A…”
Pretty much an exact quote of anyone who found out that my job, my main job, was at a fast food restaurant. Yes, I am a senior in college. Yes, I am aware that many people my age are in their fields already, getting paid for amazing and super successful internships and fellowships. And, I worked at Chick-fil-A. I’ve worked for the company for over four years actually, and my last day is tomorrow. While getting more hours at my other job is great, (it’s on campus and it’s an office job with 9-5 hours and no weekends,) Chick-fil-A was a great job that taught me a lot and made me a better person. Here’s why.
- It taught me, above anything else, that patience is a virtue. People will always try your patience. Whether it’s a customer threatening to sue you personally for false advertising because they thought the #1 sandwich comes with lettuce on it, or another customer calling you incompetent/ugly/stupid, I’ve learned to have patience. There’s no way you can know what these people have gone through, as we learned in the This is Water video, and if yelling at me makes them feel better about themselves and about their day, so be it.
- Stopping for a second to speak to someone can make a difference. There are many times that people walked in looking rushed and frazzled, and stopped for a second when I asked them how their day was. Sometimes people just said they were fine and rushed through the rest of their order, but sometimes people took a second to stop and smile and tell me how their day actually was.
- Delegation, delegation, delegation. I can’t stress this enough. Many times, I was left to be in charge of things while one of the managers was tied up with something else, and it’s impossible to take every order, personally speak to every customer, and clean up everything yourself. It’s okay to ask others to help you, as long as you aren’t giving yourself the easy way out with nothing to do.
- Give respect, get respect. I learned this firsthand. I found myself getting along incredibly well with the managers who cared about my opinions and trusted me to get things done my own way. Hence, I tried my best to extend this to other team members, and give others the same amount of respect that I expect from other people.
- It’s okay to work at a fast food job. There were people I worked with from all walks of life. There were high schoolers, other college students, recent grads, and older. We were all there. We were all doing the same thing and trying to accomplish the same goals. It was mostly a place of mutual respect, with an understanding that at the end of the day you were trying to provide for yourself. Like I said earlier, I was working two jobs to put myself through school, and I don’t know if I would have received the same amount of support if I had worked anywhere else. So for that, I thank Chick-fil-A.
In the end, I’m proud to say I worked four years here (politics aside.) I can grin and bear it with the best of them, and if you think I’ll stop saying “My pleasure,” just because I don’t work there anymore, you’re terribly wrong. It’s pretty much second nature at this point.