I can remember the exact day I began the process of looking for my first real job. I was 16 and had just driven to my driver’s test. After passing and earning my license, my dad decided to drive us home using a quicker route than we took to get there. I may have been legally allowed to drive, but he wasn’t letting me loose on the highway just yet. On the way home, we stopped at a Dairy Queen, and I marched in and asked for a job. They told me to come back the next day for an interview. Soon enough, I was a full-fledged, part-time member of the American workforce, making a staggering $4.25 an hour. I started out working the counter, making Blizzards, and doing whatever else they asked of me. For whatever reason, the grill was reserved for guys, but, other than that, I did it all. I remember when I got the prestigious duty of working the drive-thru, a task reserved only for those who were quick, efficient, and could remember an order without hesitation. It was obviously a huge deal to me. A VERY CHILL GIG MEMORIES FROM MY FIRST JOB
John at his first job!
business. I remember suggesting we host birthday parties. I’m pretty sure we never had a single one, but the idea was appreciated all the same. I even once received a $5 bonus for being such an active participant in our discussions. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it let me know I was valued. One time, I gave a customer change for a $10 bill. I turned around, thought nothing of it, and returned to the counter to see her still standing there. “Excuse me,” she said, “I gave you a $20, and you only gave me change for a $10.” I thought she had given me $10, but I was flustered, so I handed over another $10. Then, I talked to my manager about it. She told that when those situations arose, I had to count down the drawer to ensure the customer was correct. Turns out, she wasn’t. The drawer was short $10 and I, little miss goodie two shoes, was in a panic. But when I counted down the drawer at the end of my shift, that $10 shortage magically disappeared. One of my coworkers had snuck a bill into my drawer when I wasn’t looking. He denied and denied and denied it, but I knew what he did. In return, a gift card was purchased and left with his belongings at work. Who bought the gift card? I think you can probably figure that one out. I tell that story because it illustrates the sense of camaraderie we had at my job. It’s a feeling I strive to instill in my team today. When you love working together, not only do you feel it, but your clients also feel it. That matters whether you’re making Blizzards or helping people after a car accident.
Eventually, I moved to another Dairy Queen location to work with a better group of people. I took a pay cut to do it and
“Oftentimes, work environment
had to drive a little farther, but it was an awesome decision. Thanks to the people I worked with, I can truly say I have fond memories of working in fast food. One of the things I learned there, in fact, was the value of creating an awesome work environment. Oftentimes, work
and quality of life are more important than making an extra $1 per hour. I’ve seen this play out in myself and others throughout my career, and
it’s something I first experienced at good ol’ DQ.”
environment and quality of life are more important than making an extra $1per hour. I’ve seen this play out in myself and others throughout my career, and it’s something I first experienced at good ol’ DQ.
You see, that second location was a great place to work. We weren’t doing anything important like saving the world, but we put smiles on people’s faces and had plenty of laughs ourselves. The management always asked us for our ideas about how to upsell customers or how to generate extra revenue for the
P.S. My eldest son, John, just so happened to get his first job at a Dairy Queen, as well. I swear I didn’t plan it.
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