By: Makailey Cookis Twitter: @makcookis Instagram: @mcookis
When you get your first job, you think it is nothing more than an added activity to your weekly agenda.
But what your mom or dad forgot to tell you is that getting your first job also means opening yourself up to a variety of experiences that fall everywhere on the spectrum.
Your first job is the beginning of another chapter in your life.
Money no longer produces itself from the wallet of your caregiver, you spend six-hour shifts being treated as an adult only to return home as the teenager everyone other than your co-workers see you as, and you begin to understand the minimum wage industry.
I have worked at a local restaurant in the town right next to my home for almost 6 years. I am currently a sophomore in college and I began my employment at the tavern the day I was legally allowed to (Literally- my sister picked me up from middle school and drove me to fill out the application on my birthday).
At fourteen years old, I was unable to fathom how a restaurant job could influence anything other than my bank account. However, at nineteen years old, I now understand just how much this job has helped shape me as a person.
The tavern I have worked at truly knows how to train you in all of the areas of the restaurant business. In this former barn, I have gained multiple friendships and made even more connections.
This tavern does not just teach you how to serve.
It teaches you how to problem solve and how to master skills that are useful in all aspects of life.
As a busser, my main tasks were to clean dirty tables as well as help the wait staff complete tasks they were too busy to do themselves. As a hostess, I had to work more with customers, as well as assist both the bussers and wait staff. As a bartender and waitress, I had to completely focus on customers. And finally, as a manager- I had to oversee it all.
In almost six years, I learned how to navigate myself and others through all of these parts of the restaurant business. Most importantly though, all of my jobs throughout the years had to do with customer service.
I have always considered myself a “people person”.
But in this business? I gained so much strength.
One important thing to note is that this tavern is not just any other restaurant. It is an incredibly busy business where all seasons have sales peaks that top almost any other restaurant in the area.
Dealing with a hectic environment (though exceedingly stressful) has taught me tremendously how to handle multiple tasks, various conversations, and how to maintain a positive attitude throughout it all at once. Now, outside of the restaurant, I have far more skills in tackling challenges that would have been very intimidating to me if I had never worked there.
The restaurant business has allowed me to embrace my inner social-butterfly.
But enough about me and my experiences.
Your first job truly influences who you are.
It is more than those paychecks.
It is more than something for the resume.
Ultimately, your first job helps you grow up.
So, to anyone fourteen and sitting on the couch after school or at the end of the night, it might be a good idea to get a job. Because if you do, you’ll acquire skills that can very easily make you a stronger, and even better, person.