Ketchup in Our Veins

condiments ketchupWhile I’ve been dying to write a post for the last few weeks, I’ve been having trouble finding time to actually sit down at my computer. One reason for this monstrosity is that I returned to school for my last semester (ever!). While the workload isn’t unreasonable, I’m still trying to adjust to some new changes.

Drumroll, please: I have been promoted to manager!

I feel honored and flattered to have this opportunity, and it has already been extremely rewarding. Stepping up to a higher position has given me a new perspective on my job. It’s very humbling to be in a new position where I’m learning new things every day.

I never expected this, though.

Working at McDonald’s is always something I said I would never do. I remember the sympathy I always had for McDonald’s workers (especially the ones my dad argued with). They just looked frazzled, trapped, and generally unhappy. I understand the danger in making generalizations here, but my childhood experiences with McDonald’s were, quite frankly, extremely negative. Approaching McDonald’s as a potential employee, I gave it another chance. I thought it could very well be gross and awful, but it’s just a job. If I hate it, I can find another one.

But from the very first day, I loved it. I love it even more today.

I love the challenge, the speed, and the unpredictability. I love hearing someone place their order, and trying to having their sandwich almost made before the drive-thru order taker can even ring it up. I love being challenged to keep up with a customer who talks at the speed of light. I love when a customer tells me to “make sure such-and-such is in the bag,” because I will remember to check that bag. And when they ask me at the window if “such-and-such is in the bag,” I can tell them “yes” and know it’s a fact.

I love working in a college town and not knowing who’s going to walk through those doors on a Friday or Saturday night. I love the hilarity of what some of the intoxicated people say, because it’s prime story-telling material that lasts a lifetime. I love seeing my regular customers’ happy faces when they realize I’m the manager on duty. The unpredictability of busy weekends on the overnight shift is what keeps me interested. You never know what will happen, but you have to be prepared for anything.

At management class the other day, one of our supervisors pointed out that we aren’t doing this for the money. If that were the case, we would be long gone.

We do it because we have ketchup in our veins.

I never understood why I loved working at McDonald’s so much. It’s not the food, and it’s not going through the motions that I find attractive. There’s just something in me that “clicks” with this place. A job at McDonald’s isn’t perfect for everyone. From what I’ve seen, there are people that just aren’t a good fit. Too many people come in with good intentions, but fail to find that passion or attention to detail that makes all the difference.

It takes a certain degree of humility, mixed with a solid sense of humor, topped with a hunger for that good feeling you get when you make someone happy.

It makes perfect sense to me why people make McDonald’s a career. It will always be fun, and it will always be challenging.

Too often I hear people criticize workers who decide to stay with the company for years. In fact, you should envy those people. Those McDonald’s managers come to work every day because they love what they’re doing. Furthermore, they care about you. Customer service isn’t a check-off on their daily to-do list.

It’s their calling.

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