Can you sing the jingles of McDonald’s from the early to mid-70’s? If you can, it says something about their marketing. However, is that something a fifteen-year-old teen girl is thinking? Possibly, but doubtful. 

Look familiar? The image below is what a McDonald’s restaurant looked like when I was a teen. As you can see, they look a little different today.

Photo Credit: CC

Golden arches, ultra-thin hamburger patties, deep vats of boiling grease, containers of buns stacked high, slippery floors and staff performing their duties orderly while sporting light blue bell bottomed knit uniforms.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it was not. Not at the time. It was hard when all my friends came in laughing and having fun, and I was the one in front of the fryer with beads of sweat pouring down my face from the heat. I longed to be on the other side with them in shorts ready to head on the next adventure.

The reality is that I was left behind by friends to dodge popping grease as it sizzled frozen fries. In my mind being a french fryer was not good for my complexion. The stench of fried food in my hair and clothes after washing them multiple times was appalling. I was confident my parents could understand my reasoning for wanting to leave after just a few weeks. Not so much.

As soon as I mastered the art of deep frying, I was promoted to the front counter to greet customers, take their orders, and serve their food. Burgers were fourteen cents, cheeseburgers were seventeen cents, and a Big Mac was forty-five cents. Fries were only a quarter. You could buy a burger, fries and soft drink, and get change back from a dollar.  Of course, if you got a shake you might need an extra fifteen cents.

I earned $1.25 per hour plus the bonus of free meals. That might not seem like much, but it was better than not having my own money for the movies or Six Flags.

I asked in the beginning if you could sing the jingles. Do you remember the one for the Big Mac?

Sing along two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!

My two-month summer job with McDonald’s was challenging. I had a hard time smelling and looking grease in the face every day. I was anxiety ridden that I might give incorrect change. However, some good lessons came out of my first real job.

I learned teamwork, the value of serving others, the importance of working so I could give and smiling returns a smile. I also learned I did not want to work in a fast food restaurant for another summer and made sure my next job was better suited to my personality.

Working with an optometrist where I helped patients get set up for appointments and select eye glass frames enhancing their look was right up my alley.

Each of these work experiences taught me lessons and skills that are interwoven into the fabric of my current roles of coaching, writing and speaking. These and the experiences over the forty-three years that followed shaped and formed me to live from a place of service, giving, lifting others up, and bringing light into the moment.

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