I once worked at a commercial pizza restaurant for about 7 months. At one point I had worked at every position possible except cashier. I bused tables, cleaned dishes, and answered phone calls. My main role was to make the pizza on the production line. The easiest part of the job was my first couple of weeks where I was learning the ropes and no expectations. Afterward, I was expecting to work the assembly line like a machine. The hours were too long as I worked 2-3 hour shifts but I also got the high-intensity shifts typically the Friday and Saturday nights. The shifts usually went over because closing up shop, and cleaning up always started after closing time. The work may have been brutal, but the atmosphere was dire. A hard lesson I learned is that company culture is important. The work may be dull and tedious but if the people are agreeable and cheerful it will rub off on you. Unfortunately for 90 percent of the people I worked with that wasn’t the case. From a manager who wouldn’t answer a phone call if their shift hadn’t started. That same manager would have others make his break pizza even though that was clearly against the restaurant policy. I came close to quitting because of the prick. Yet that wasn’t the worst of it. One of my co-workers at the time was plain lazy. Always slow to get supplies from the storage room. Slow to make pizza’s and couldn’t be bothered to help you. She worked so slow she almost got me fired because I was blamed for her ineptitude. I don’t know what she is doing now but I bet she is either still working there, or at some other dead end job. You may be wondering if that person is the typical American lazy worker but surprisingly she was an immigrant from Africa. The myth that all immigrants are hard workers is simply not true. Even though she may have been a lazy slob she wasn’t a sexist asshole. There was another prick who was always trying to get into the pants of women even though he had a girlfriend. Somehow the ass got promoted with a sexual harassment lawsuit on his rap sheet. Here I learned that office politics can be complicated and at times make no sense.
All these negative experiences drowned on me. Eventually driving me to quit once new management came in to run the show. Yet despite this, I have an impactful memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I sometimes had the pleasure with working one particular person who was also an immigrant from Africa. She was working two jobs for the benefit of her son and his life. Never complained. Worked harder than she had to. Gave it everything she had in a labor intensive job. I am a hard working guy myself, but I also focused on my personal passion and even though I didn’t like my job I did my best. But watching her showed me another level of motivation. The motivation of working for someone you love. She loved her son so much that I bet if she had to dig crap out of a toilet she would for a paycheck(I forgot the mention I had bathroom cleaning duty as well). Later I would get my first desk job and it truly was a world of difference. I envy those whose first job was such a job. Yet as I look back I appreciate the experiences I gained with working the menial job of the service economy. There are more dangerous jobs, and less glamorous but for most citizens, in the western service economy it is as the restaurant, retailer, and the bar where you find the people working the jobs at the minimum wage mark.
Working at a low skilled low wage job gave me the insight and experience I wouldn’t have been able to gain otherwise. For that, I am truly grateful. It is important to never forget the difficult and monotonous life of the common people. People forget that the median household income in the United States is approx. $45,016. That is it. Mortgage or rent, car, kid expenses, health, education, and any other cost you can think of. People are squeezed and the work they must endure is not ‘pleasant’ either.