I’m Lovin’ It

I don’t often reflect on my time in the fast-food industry with great affection or nostalgia.  But it’s nice to know that it possibly provided some real benefits beyond a paycheck.

According to this article, over 20 million Americans have worked at McDonald’s.  (Actually, I’m not sure from this article if that is the total number of Americans who have ever worked there, or just the number of Americans for whom McDonald’s was their first job).  In either case, the number is a cumulatively impressive one.
I worked for McDonald’s competition, Burger King, on and off through late high school.  However I did hire on at McDonald’s for the span of roughly five days as I graduated high school.  I found a job that didn’t require me to submerge my arms up to my elbows in pickle vats, however, and I jumped ship before I ever had to work an actual shift.  
This article is nice because it makes me feel better about my fast-food experience, and I certainly can vouch that the things this article highlights are true for me.  I wasn’t the best student of these principles – and certainly a poor student at the time – but in hindsight I can see that they were things that the job reinforced.  
The are also things that are important to a healthy understanding of vocation, the Christian notion that what we do is important, regardless of what we do.  Whether I’m slinging a burger or putting a piece of equipment on Mars, my work can benefit those around me and therefore it has dignity.  While I can think of a lot more dignified jobs I’d like to have, I know that countless times in my life, my needs (or wants) for food (if not nutrition) were fulfilled by the boys and girls, men and women who worked in a fast food restaurant.  
Besides, slinging burgers might be a thing of the past.  As cultured meat becomes a reality, who knows what might be involved in making a hamburger?  If you haven’t just eaten, and don’t plan on eating any meat real soon (or wearing leather), you might find this article both fascinating and disturbing.  
What sort of work did you do in high school or college (or later in life!) to make ends meet?  Did you learn anything valuable in the process?

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