6 Career Building Tips I Learned from McDonald’s

Yes – I am an alumnus of Mickey D’s.  I worked there for 8 months when I was 15 years old – it was my very first job.  While I knew from the moment I accepted the job that I did not want to work there forever, my experience taught me a lot and helped me develop my work ethic.

Today, McDonald’s is claiming that they are going to hire 50,000 people nationwide.  This would be quite a feat – and probably one for the recruiting record books. For those who seek work experience – either teenagers or new immigrants, McDonald’s can actually be a great place to get started.

Some of the key things I learned from my stint at McDonald’s:

  • Stay busy ­– I worked hard for my minimum wage!  We were not allowed to stand idly by waiting for customers.  There was always something to do – wipe down the counters, reorganize the walk-in fridge, or restock the buns.
  • Teamwork matters – I was a part of team that needed to work cohesively to service our customers – if the burger griller wasn’t pulling his/her weight – the sandwich maker couldn’t do their job.
  • Make the most of it – the job was not challenging, nor the work interesting, but every job has such components to it.  I had to find the importance in all of the work I did – and this has helped me keep a positive attitude about the less sexy aspect of every job I’ve had since.
  • Service with a smile – this was my first exposure to customer service.  And while McDonald’s is not renowned for offering world-class customer service, the restaurant I worked in brought a customer-centric approach to all roles within the team.
  • What makes a good manager – while there was one manager in particular who set an excellent example for her young staff, most of the other “shift managers” were young and in their first managerial role.  Power often went to their heads, and I learned a lot about what qualities a good manager has vs. a bad one.
  • Turquoise is not my color – my uniform was a turquoise polo with a matching baseball hat.  I’ve never worn this color since.

I didn’t love my job at McDonald’s, but I was able to use the experience there to leverage bigger and better work opportunities.  For that, I will always be appreciative of my time there.

What lessons are you learning or have you learned from your first job?  Post and help others be successful!

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