13 Ways Working For Minimum Wage Made Me A Better Human

Working for minimum wage has a lot of downsides. The first and foremost being that you put in a lot of time but do not get a lot of money back in return. I remember working at a movie theater in college, putting in long hours and coming away with barely enough money to cover rent. It was always a struggle in terms of my bank account. But looking back at that job, and many other minimum wage jobs since, I wouldn't have changed any of it for the world.

While having more money at my disposal would theoretically be nice, the experience I gained from working at movie theaters, pharmacies, and lawyer offices was priceless. Seriously! I am a much better person after working in those places and continue to apply the lessons I learned to my everyday life. Sure, cleaning up popcorn from a 200+ seat theater wasn't what I wanted to do on a Saturday night ... but now I appreciate those who do that. And the older I get, the more I realize that money doesn't translate to knowledge.

So the next time you make a comment about a job being too easy or how you wouldn't be caught dead doing it, remember that you are missing out on experience. Working for minimum wage made me a better human for many reasons. Here are just a few:

1. I Am So Much Kinder

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I know what it's like to have people be rude for no reason. I know what it's like to not be valued or to be ignored entirely. Because of this knowledge that I gained working at minimum wage jobs, I am ten times nicer to workers.

2. I Learned To Have Patience

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While my friends are angry with their service or otherwise complain about it, I am very patient. Working terrible hours and having to "be on" all the time has shown me what it takes to work for very little money. I can spare a few minutes while the person figures out what's going on.

3. Dealing With Difficult People Is Easier

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Some people will just never be happy no matter how much you smile or how hard you work. It took me a long time to figure that out. Thanks to my minimum wage jobs, the lesson stuck.

4. Budgeting My Life Is Second Nature

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When you never got paid a lot of money you learn to get creative with what you do have. I am a budgeting master now! You show me any supermarket and I will show you the essentials.

5. I Learned How To Ask For A Raise

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Knowing what you are worth is important. Once you have worked long enough for minimum wage, you can ask for a raise — but knowing that it won't be much anyway takes some of the pressure off, and will allow you to learn how to stick up for yourself and your work. When I got my raise the first time, I felt like a champion.

6. I Learned How To Quit

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On the opposite side of the coin, you learn how to quit. It's hard to learn how to put in your two weeks — even harder to know sometimes when the "right" time to leave is — but it will make it easier for you in the future.

7. I Learned How To Prioritize

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Because minimum wage jobs usually require weird hours, and weekends, you learn to prioritize. Some events are more important than others — so risking your rent that month is worth it. Others, not so much.

8. I Found Humor In My Own Struggle

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Nothing is funnier than hearing horror stories about minimum wage jobs. It's a rite of passage. I learned to take everything in stride — and, y'know, save it for the memoir.

9. I Made Amazing Friends

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Working in the trenches makes you grow closer with the people around you. I am still friends with a lot of those people who I worked with in Boston. I even drove down to San Diego to visit them recently.

10. I Can Handle Any Situation

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I got called a Nazi for not giving a refill to a customer. A woman made me cry on Thanksgiving and another woman made me cry on Christmas. A homeless man licked the side of my face during a shift. I can handle anything now.

11. I've Become A Customer Service Champ

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Learning how to listen and what to say and how to be a friend to people you've never met is an invaluable skill no matter what field you ultimately end up in.

12. I Beefed Up My Resume

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I learned how to describe the skills I gained at those jobs in my resume and use them to make myself an asset. Some of my friends still don't know how to do that.

13. I Overtip, Forever And Always

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I OVERTIP LIKE A CHAMP. I know how hard it is, and even though I don't have a lot of money myself, I value other people's time. Do unto others, as they say.

Images: Giphy (13); Pexels