Working for a dollar an hour …

My first job (besides babysitting) was in produce department.  I started out sorting potatoes; taking out the stinky rotten ones. This was not fun, and I wanted to get it done quickly. I learned that “slopping” through it was immediately apparent, so I just got a rhythm going and got it done efficiently. This led to getting to sort other produce that stunk less. Soon I was able to help do some of the more fun stuff that the boss worked on. 

The day came when the boss was out sick. The truck had delivered produce and I knew that it had to be put in the cooler. I also had been taught to “rotate” the cooler first. I went to work and got it done.  I was back to sorting the produce when the store manager came up apologizing that he was sorry, time and had gotten away from him and we were going to hurry to get that stock in. He was totally shocked when he came out of the stockroom and asked if the truck had not come. He nearly hit the floor when I showed him it was already done. The next day the produce boss was there, but one of the butchers in the meat department was sick. The manager came and got me, and I learned how to wrap and price the meat.

After that I worked both departments. It all came apart when the USDA inspectors came in when I was cubing steaks.  The store was fined (because of my age), I could not work in meat department, and my hours were cut.

I was finally offered a job as a cashier.  Soon when it was not busy, I started cleaning up the check stands. Before long they were keeping stock in the office, so I could refill the gum and snacks.  My hours increased, and I was again the person with the most part-time hours. A friend of mine asked how this was possible. I told her my story and she started doing the same and getting more hours. Some of the others started to complain but were told to work as hard as us and they would get more hours. I even heard the owner that ours was the best run store he owned.   

I certainly learned valuable lessons from that first job:

  1.  There is always something that needs to be done.
  2. If you are always doing something, whether it’s your job or not, you will be rewarded.
  3. Even if you are not monetarily rewarded, the feeling of accomplishment I felt was well worth it.
  4.  Always do all your job and as much as possible of your boss’s job, they will notice!

I was extremely fortunate to have had such a wonderful experience there. I did not even understand it at the time, but what I was learning was LEADERSHIP!

-Joyce Guest, July 6th, 2018

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