Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Obligatory Fast Food Gig

My eldest has been looking for a job. Kind of. She's had her eye out for places that seemed to be hiring and put her application in at a couple, to no avail. So a couple Sundays ago, when we were picking up a gift card at Freddy's, she saw the "Help Wanted" sign and filled out an application. Two days later, she started training.

And life suddenly changed very quickly.

Here's what I don't get about this job: she never knows exactly when she's going to work. She's given a start time -- like, 11am. But she doesn't know when she gets off. She just gets off when they tell her she can go. That meant that last Saturday, when she started at 11am, they didn't tell her she could go until 8pm.

A nine-hour work day -- that's a long day, to begin with. But more than that, how is she supposed to plan her life around this? How can she make any commitments for activities in the evenings if she has no idea when she gets off work? That particular evening, she had agreed to babysit for a neighbor (agreed to it before she even got the Freddy's job), so she had to get her sister to cover for her until she could get there -- and then she was babysitting for three hours AFTER her nine hours doing fast food.

Is this legit? Do all fast food places run this way? I understand that they have to deal with unreliable workers who will choose to show up or not show up as their mood strikes, but still.

And there's more. The weekly work schedule begins on Thursdays. As of today (Wednesday), she doesn't know when she is scheduled to work beyond just today. We're hoping she finds out the upcoming week's schedule when she goes in at lunch. But again, how is she supposed to plan her life when she doesn't know more than a couple days ahead when she's working? How can she ever agree to babysit for anyone again if she doesn't know if she'll get off work in time? This is Easter weekend -- her boyfriend is flying down for a visit -- and she has NO IDEA when she's free for anything. We may not be able to do any Easter activities together as a family. He may spend all that money to come see her and hardly ever get to see her (a good possibility since she's at the bottom of the totem pole there and most likely to be scheduled on a holiday weekend, I would assume).

I remember a woman on my drama team in Sioux City had the same problem with her job at Chik-Fil-A. We couldn't schedule rehearsals with her more than a week ahead because she didn't know her work schedule. (But at least she knew what time she was getting off!)

This is aggravating. I don't like that kind of unpredictability.

Her first week of training was hard. It's her first "real" job. She was nervous. Her trainer was apparently not a great trainer (even the other workers told her that). And that nine-hour day while she still felt so uncertain about what she was doing really did her in. She came home from babysitting in tears about what a failure she was at this job.

We tried to reassure her -- you're still learning. Think of all the friends you know who have half a brain in their head and still work successfully in fast food. You will get the hang of this. But I felt her pain. I wrote a while back about my unsuccessful two weeks at TCBY when I was her age. It's a terrible feeling when you are given expectations and not given the means to meet those expectations.

But two days ago, somebody from corporate (in Wichita! my hometown!) was in our Freddy's here to observe. And apparently, this man told the manager, "We need more people like this girl here" -- indicating my daughter.

Boo yah! Told you, hon.

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