I’ve only worked in two industries since my first job at age sixteen. I’ve worked for various employers throughout the years, but my skill set has been consistently improved upon.
Currently, I work for a giant in the financial industry. A few times over the years I have mentioned my beginnings at McDonald’s and watched as those listening shifted in unease. I’m sure my humble beginnings aren’t unique in my workplace, however such beginnings aren’t mentioned as a rule. People here talk about their corporate tenures at other financial juggernauts (the older ones). The younger ones talk about their study at affluent universities and their connections that landed them their positions. As an administrative assistant in the financial industry, I’m not expected to join in with the chest puffing rituals. I don’t, but it’s very interesting to observe.
My current career path is nothing I planned. Take note. My professional goals had nothing to do with being someone’s administrative assistant. As I’ve grown in my walk with Christ I’ve grown to enjoy my role as an assistant. It’s actually a personality trait for me. I love helping people. And when I got over how my social network would look at me for being an “admin” I was able to appreciate how my day job was assisting me with my life job (perfecting my character). I will tell you, my current role has increased and prospered me far more than anything I had planned for myself.
God knows what He has planned for you. He knows where you’re going to end up and what skills and experiences you need to be a success when you get there. Your natural inclinations (gifts) will be used to further His Kingdom and prosper your physical life. Relationships will be used to sharpen you (friction). If you learn well from those experiences, you will eventually be gifted with relationships that compliment you (melding of talents).
My performance in my current role has roots in skills and habits I learned while working at McDonald’s.
I’m one of those people who get slightly offended when people flippantly comment that someone is only good for flipping burgers. I always reply that flipping burgers requires some skill. I didn’t always think that way. My aunt made me apply to McDonald’s because I wasn’t accepted to any internships my junior year in high school. I had reached an age where she refused to pay for my toiletries and entertainment. I remember being so embarrassed handing in my McDonald’s application. But that embarrassment only lasted as long as the first day of training.
I feel truly blessed to have had McDonald’s as my first job, especially with the group of people I was placed with. I cleaned toilets, baseboards, swept and mopped, scrubbed floors, washed dishes, picked up trash, took out trash, unloaded stock, took inventory, flipped burgers, made sandwiches, worked the fry station, took orders, prepared orders, backed up order takers, trained the burger flippers and order takers (as well as the maintenance staff and hostesses), trained managers, and then I was managing the crew and other managers. I was a superb manager; ask anyone who didn’t like me. One thing I never did was ask someone to do something I wasn’t willing to do. I had a few challengers. When a couple of people refused to do certain jobs, they were asked to punch out. I saw no need to pay them if I had to do their job for them. That quirk of mine usually saved me from having uncomfortable altercations with employees.
I was diligent in my job and responsibilities. I expected everyone working with me to be the same. If you weren’t a hard worker, I didn’t want you on my shift. Sloppy work reflected not just on me as a manager but the restaurant and the company.
Fast forward nearly twenty years. Ninety seconds or less is still evident in my work flow. I get an assignment I start on it immediately and usually don’t stop until it’s complete or in motion in some way. I support a high level executive. One veteran executive assistant once shared a list of things she did not do for her boss – run errands, get coffee, etc. I’m okay with nearly anything that’s a professional courtesy. I’ve served coffee and water, I’ve run out to grab lunch for my boss when she’s been in a block of meetings. I’ll hang your coat, take messages, and print copies for you. I don’t like filing, but it improves organization and work product, so I do it and do it well. I don’t care for the attitudes of everyone I work with, but they are always greeted with a smile and sent away with a thank you.
A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. ~ Proverbs 18:16
This post comes about because recently I was asked to sit in on a meeting with my boss and her directs (all attorneys for more than twenty years). The meeting was to brainstorm and develop a project she put me in charge of. When she announced to the others that I was going to sit in on the meeting, I felt that ripple of unease move through the group, even among the people who were calling in. There was a moment of silence. Then people started talking fast to make up for it. I’m not a threat to them, I don’t have their specialized training or credentials. However, calling me into such a meeting to participate said to me and others that our collective boss values and appreciates my opinion and my work. And that humbled me like no other work experience I’ve ever had.
I can guarantee you, had I entered my role with Bosslady with an attitude of what I will and won’t do and an inconsistent work ethic she wouldn’t have trusted me with this project and certainly wouldn’t have sat me at the table across from her.
I just want to encourage those of you who believe for more while holding what seems to be little. Do everything as you would unto the LORD your God (1 Cor. 10:31-33). Don’t shortchange anyone with your gifts and skills. Don’t hide your talent (Matt 25:14-30). Do your best in everything you do, even if you’re starting off with very little. Some people may not appreciate your best, but the ones who do will usually be in a position to help you to another level.
His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys. ~ Matthew 25:21 AMP
May you seek to partner with the Lord and be blessed in all your endeavors!