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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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