I worked at McDonald’s as a high school senior.
It was mostly a weekend job, since I had school, and my one year on the varsity basketball team.
The McD’s I worked at was a new location, opened in Plymouth Meeting Mall. Aside from the managers, all us workers were new to the company. The job wasn’t too hard; McDonald’s is what it is because of the simplicity of the system. Anyone can flip burgers and fry fries.
McDonald’s had 3 work areas: front line (registers, dealing with customers); fries (usually just one person); and grill/sandwich prep. Go to any fast food or fast-casual restaurant — Shake Shack, Chipotle — and you can see their whole operation, inspired by the McDonald’s system.
I was in the back on the grill and sandwich line, where there would normally be four people working. The store’s entire kitchen staff was seven or eight people, with maybe two females.
Me and the other males goofed off in the kitchen while “working.” While we never tampered with the food you ate, we did have nugget-eating contests, consumed food that we never rang up as “employee meals,” and put food time stamps on each other’s backs as practical jokes.
We saw McDonald’s as a temporary job, something to pass time and make a few bucks as teens since our parents demanded that we get jobs as soon as we turned 16.
One guy who worked in the back never joined in on our shenanigans, though.
His name was Cecil. Cecil was the same age as me, which I know for a fact because Cecil and I had been classmates in the second and third grades. I’d never seen him since elementary school when we both popped up at this McDonald’s 10 years later.
Funny thing is, Cecil and I never spoke about the fact that we’d been elementary school friends. As a matter of fact, I don’t think Cecil and I ever spoke at all while we both worked at McDonald’s.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t remember Cecil speaking at all any time he was at work with us in the back.
Me and the other goof-offs would be in the back counting the nuggets we ate, arguing about rap music, and playing “basketball” with the nuggets in the trash can as we mindlessly assembled Big Macs and cheeseburgers.
And Cecil would just quietly… work.
The most we ever got out of Cecil was a small smirk. Something had to be really funny to see even that.
We kept working every Friday-Sunday and random weekdays, goofing off and eating McNuggets. And one day we noticed that Cecil wasn’t hanging in the back with us as much as before.
Cecil was still at work, but now he’d float around from the back, to the fry area, to the register. When someone on the front line had an issue with the computer or needed to issue a refund, they’d call on Cecil to do it instead of calling on one of the managers.
I heard through the staff grapevine that Cecil had been promoted to “key holder.” He now had managerial duties, and presumably a pay raise. Though we cool kids in the back had pretty much ignored Cecil, apparently management had noticed his quiet diligence and rewarded him.
The story ends when I quit McDonald’s to take a better-paying (and better-smelling) job at Hat World up on the second floor at Plymouth Meeting Mall.
I have no idea what happened with Cecil. Here’s hoping he’s a McD’s franchisee by now.
I built myself up online through a reputation for showing up, working hard, and getting better one day at a time. At McDonald’s, I was the exact opposite of all of that. Just going off of my McD’s work production, you could have perceived me as someone who’d be flipping burgers for the rest of my life.
When I found the right jobs for me though, everything clicked.
Why? What’s the big idea?
Sometimes, the person and the opportunity just don’t match. The loser at one job could be a superstar in another job. Don’t be too quick to judge someone who hasn’t yet found exactly where they belong in life.
By the way, I have a FREE book that will help you find your right opportunity by starting with getting yourself right.
Claim your free copy of The Mirror Of Motivation here: http://MirrorOfMotivation.com