Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 157 - How My First Job at McDonalds Helped Me Succeed

My first semester in college, I learned the true meaning of poverty. We would scavenge any quarters we would find in the dormitory common sofa for laundry.  We brought home food from the cafeteria for later when the cafeteria was closed.  But other than studying and walking around campus, there was absolutely no money to do anything.  We didn't have video games to occupy our minds and books cost money so unless we found an old newspaper lying around to read, the library was our next best option.  I decided to get a job.  I applied at the local McDonalds and got hired right away.

This plastic FIFO stand helps organize cupboards
I learned two systems that have stayed with me since then: FIFO and Clean As You Go.  FIFO was First In, First Out.  In other words, when you get new inventory in, put it in the back so that the oldest inventory gets used first so that the product is always fresh.  I do this in my cupboards after going to the grocery store. If I have two of something (now a days that is not so often) I put the newer item behind the older item in the cupboard so when I need that item, I am using the item that was bought on a previous trip to the store.

My manager gave me my first thirty day review and told me that I was "the perfect employee with one exception."  He mentioned that I came across to other employees as snappy when I talked to them due to the tone in my voice.  I come by this naturally and still have to work hard not to do this.  When I'm tired or really frustrated the tone goes back to this same manner.  I realized how lucky I was to have someone who cared enough about me to give me constructive criticism.

This happens in coaching.  Players are often discouraged because they keep getting yelled at.  But the reality is if someone is yelling at you (in a constructive manner) they care enough about you to make you better.  The real worrying should come when they stop talking to you all together.  As a referee, standing on the free throw line next to someone who has just gotten chewed out by their coach, I offer a word of encouragement along these lines and this usually has their head back in the game in record time.  The right thing to do is to accept constructive criticism and ask for suggestions on how to overcome the obstacles that seem to be in the way.  The person who cared about you enough to tell you about a problem, will surely give some guidance.  It is not just good enough to hear the negatives and not have solutions to the problems that were presented.

Dust Mop Flip Flops!
My manager that day, after telling me about my issue, provided guidance and taught me how to be a team player.  I went on to be come a middle manager and worked full-time the rest of my college career.  I never had to scavenge for quarters again but I did have to buy a lot of macaroni and cheese and tuna.  He left me with one other suggestion about using the other process called Clean-as-you-go.  He explained if I was walking back to the sink with dishes and I see dirty towels laying along my path (McDonalds does not allow you to say rags) to pick them up and put them in the dirty laundry on the way.  It is a process which saves me an immense amount of time to this day.  While I'm taking dishes to the sink, I pick up the trash on the counter, or on the way to take out the trash, I straighten the rug.

I am thankful for the advice given to me that day by my manager.  He provided the way for me to make money to survive, literally. during my last three years at college.  I ate many Filet-o-Fish sandwiches and Big Macs as I picked up trash (McDonalds doesn't allow you to say garbage either)...cleaning as I went. Now that I'm older and wiser, I'll add that what is even better than Clean-as-you-go is to Clean-up-after-yourself.  If the dirty towels were never placed there by someone else to begin with, there would be no need to clean as you go.  Hint Hint: I'm providing the advice because I care about you.

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