4 Most Important Lessons I Learned in an Entry-Level Fast Food Job

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  • I got my first job, in a fast food restaurant, about a year ago.
  • It taught me the value of money and the importance of attention to detail.
  • I also learned the importance of having good co-workers and having empathy for other restaurant workers.

The week after I turned 15, I got my first job at a fast food restaurant.

I had really wanted to find a job because I was always stressed about not having money, and I thought having a little extra money would help me feel less stressed. When I started working, I realized that while earning extra money was fun, it wasn’t as exciting as I thought.

Now that I’ve been working in retail for over a year, I’ve learned a lot about retail and working in general, which I think will be valuable for the rest of my life.

1. Attention to detail is important

When I started working, I quickly realized that I had to pay attention to the little things. Attention to detail is quite important, especially in retail.

Working in retail involves talking to people a lot, especially if you work at the cash register (which I do). Using active listening instead of half-listening really shows the customer that you understand them. I learned how to show a spirited attitude and really speak clearly to put my best foot forward.

2. The people you work with make a difference

Whenever I have a shift, it’s always much more enjoyable if I’m scheduled with a colleague I like.

If the day is slow, having someone to talk to or just hang out with you speeds up the workday. I don’t really like it when there’s nothing to do and I just have to stand at the counter for hours and hours. I’m very outgoing and have noticed that when I’m with co-workers I like, I’m much happier throughout my shift.

3. I have a better idea of ​​the relationship between work and money

When I want to buy something, I try to think, “Is it worth the number of hours I have to work for it?” If so, then I’m happy to work those hours. If I don’t think those hours worked are worth it, then I can save myself from buying something that I don’t really want and won’t really enjoy.

I recently bought tickets for Taylor Swift’s The Eras tour. We were able to get the presale code and waited five hours in an online queue. I feel really lucky that I was able to get tickets, but since it was so hard to get any, I wasn’t sure about the price of my ticket. Even the cheap upper-tier seats we ended up with cost $126 per ticket.

Since I only make about $11 an hour, that means I had to work about 11-12 hours to pay for those tickets. I had to manage my time to be able to work so much while being able to do all my other things. I’m very grateful to have a job so I can buy the things I want.

4. I have more empathy for others

I think the thing I’ve learned the most from working in retail is how to have empathy for other people. I now know what it is like to work in retail and how difficult it can be.

One thing that is difficult for me in my job is that I have to stand for a very long time, which hurts my feet. So when I was doing a restaurant in my Animal Crossing game, I made sure to put a chair behind the cashier for the cashier to sit on. If I work a long shift, my legs and back hurt by the time I get home.

Every time I go to the restaurant now I make sure to be very polite to the workers as I know they work hard to make our experience enjoyable.

Even though my job can be difficult, I’m grateful to have him and I’m grateful for the lessons he taught me.

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