Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good Jobs

I have a friend who firmly believes that her job working at McDonald's taught her many life skills and once told me she plans to make all her kids work there for at least a year.  (In about ten years, I will remind her she said this, but I suspect she really meant it.) I never worked at McDonald's, but I did work at two different restaurants - one that I think is what we call these days fast casual as a cashier and one sit down where I bussed tables for breakfast shift and handled drinks, soups and desserts at lunch shift.  Both of them, while I wouldn't say life changing, were really interesting experiences both in learning how frequently wait staff got paid less than minimum wage, since the tips were supposed to get them the rest of the way, and then things that lots of jobs teach you about working with different people and serving customers who may or may not treat you like you must not possess basic life skills to be working there.
So, I found this article listing four jobs everyone should have interesting.  I have hit three out of the four, with manual labor being the one I am missing (unless we are willing to count child care as manual labor, because sometimes it sure feels like it). 
I worked retail as a volunteer in a charity shop, and that was levels upon levels of interesting, especially with people who thought that since it was a charity shop, that they should be able to bargain the prices.  I once walked into the back room to tell the supervisor that the customer wanted me to ask if she could pay half of the tagged price, she started to explain that she hadn't set the prices for those items and I told her I knew, I just needed to tell the customer that I had asked so she could go away and mutter that we were charging high prices for charity.
And those turned out to be great practice for customer service, where it was a toss up if people actually thought that maybe you had information to impart, and listened and let you explain the processes and procedures and information or assumed you were stupid or were low-balling them and maybe if they threatened you with a lawyer you'd cave.  (Let me tell you, no one's lawyer ever really called us.  Not saying it's never happened ever.  Although I would love to talk with the receptionist at a lawyer's office to see how many calls they field about people who can't get the customer service agents to violate policy, or in our case, actual federal law for them.)
So, as we head towards a fresh crop of graduates, this seems like a good list.  (Although certainly I took care of these in summer jobs too.)