When I was in high school, my mom decided that it is was necessary for me to have a part-time job. Once I turned 15, I had until the end of the year to find one and if I didn’t, I had to go work at McDonald’s. Needless to say, I didn’t find a job and in December, I had my first shift McSlavin’ it.
I don’t think it’s a secret that working in fast-food is not the best time in the world, but here’re the 8 worst things about working at McDonald’s.
- The Hours
It was a requirement that high school students be available to close the restaurant one night of the school week and work overnight on weekends. I’m no genius, but I’m fairly sure forcing a student to stay at work until 2 AM when they have to be in class at 8 AM is pretty much insane. Not to mention, making them stay up all night when they went to school all day, is not healthy in the slightest.
- The Holidays
Over summer specifically, college kids would come home and get their jobs back. The first year, I was pumped because I assumed this meant not working the worst shifts all the time and actually somewhat enjoying my youth…WRONG. High school kids were still forced into terrible hours so that the college kids could enjoy their break (which began in April anyway).
- Your Clique-y Co-Workers
If it wasn’t enough that you already have to go to high school daily, the drama at work was worse. Everyone’s gossiping about who slept with who and making decisions with their little group about who should be hated this week. Work is exhausting enough as it is so you found it helpful to dodge giving your number out to any of these people.
- Working The First Window
If you worked first window drive-thru in winter, you hated your life. You were opening the window and having snow infest your face, clothes, and work area. All the while your customer counted out $7 in dimes while you tried not to get hypothermia. Then you were going over to work on dishwashing in ridiculously hot water. So, for 8 hours, you’d go back and forth between scalding hot water and freezing cold air. Don’t forget, you were expected to feel guilty if your chapped hands bled everywhere.
- The Smell
It was a given that your uniform and literally anything you ever wore to work, including underwear, would need to be washed separately. They would also most likely become a total write-off from your day-to-day wardrobe. The McDonald’s smell is forever and it’s nasty. It’s a combination of spoiled milk, fried food, sweat, and maybe some tears. The smell is bad enough to remind you that you really need to stay in school so you can leave this place.
- The Grease
It was always sad to see new people show up. So beautiful, such lovely skin, and so healthy looking. It was a given that within 2 months, they will have break outs that make you cringe and have put on at least a few pounds from eating the food so often. I had sensitive skin to begin with so the greasy environment did me no favors. I ended up with acne so bad I needed medication. Within 2 weeks of quitting, my skin had cleared up completely. Nasty.
- The Work Injuries
I didn’t work with anyone who didn’t have at least one scar from burning themselves on something. Maybe you burned yourself on hot water rushing to make coffees or accidentally touched the grill putting down burgers. If you worked fries, there’s a good chance you had a hot fry bin touch your arm. It’s even possible that (yes, this did happen) you slipped and stuck your hands in the fryer trying not to fall. It was it’s own kind of battlefield in there.
While I appreciate many of the people I met along the way, fast food was just not fun. But at the end of the day, despite what you might think, I don’t mind how awful my job was. If the job had been pleasant, I might have settled and I would’ve always regretted it. Having a less than perfect student job is good for kids. It pushes us to keep working towards our goals. Yes, I hated working for McDonald’s but I am happy I did it because now, I’m exactly where I need to be.
Featured Image via Screengrab of Good Burger