After all the hoopla died down, from the unexpectedly lengthy and complicated process of Derek actually getting hired for his first job, he kicked off his brand new Working Life on Sunday night, with the 5-9 p.m. shift at Subway. As an added…bonus…because Husband’s out of town, he had to endure the dreaded Mom Taxi scenario, but strangely enough, he declined my generous and heartfelt offer to walk him in..like I was sending him off to Kindergarten, or something. (I just can’t imagine WHY!) I had to settle for repeating the time-honored “first day” advice: play nicely with others, learn something new, and try your best. (Which cracks me up—it never occurred to me before, how well those kiddie rules just naturally apply to grown-up situations as well!)
Then…presumably he toiled away diligently—at whatever tasks they might see fit to assign to a newbie, I suppose--until it was time for me to go and retrieve him. When he plopped himself heavily into the car with a sigh, I asked him for his impressions on how it had gone. “Fine,” he replied, and then interjected, “I’m exhausted! This is the only time I’ve sat down since 5:00!” Ah, yes…welcome to the lightning-paced world of the fast-food-ish restaurant biz…where you just survived your inaugural Sunday evening dinner rush. Whoo hoo—congrats!
Of course, I pressed him for more details, and he further described his experience as “pretty stressful, having to put things together quickly and get everyone’s order right.” It seems that he’d been busy doing other…supportive-type activities…in the back, but the manager had called him out to help with customer service because they had a line of hungry people to feed. Alrighty, then, “trial by fire” it is!
He told us that he did some general cleaning, restocking when things ran low, (the oh-so-thrilling), mopping, and adding vegetables to sandwiches, but not meat, because “that comes later.” (Although as a vegetarian I have some pretty specific ideas about the…dangers…of deli products, I don’t have a clue why Subway deems them so much more challenging that they don’t train employees in their use until they’re considered fully ready for such knowledge…) Oh, and he shared that he’s “not so good at the folding and wrapping part yet [of the sandwiches for presentation to the customer]”.
On the definite plus side, he found out that he gets to keep a portion of the tips, when satisfied sandwich-purchasers are pleased with his work and choose to leave some money. (Since it was his first night, the manager let him keep the whole amount this time, which was very sweet of her.) On the downside, he really thought one would get something to eat, during a break or after the shift, and apparently this isn’t the case. (To be around all that food, for hours, and not be able to partake in it must be a special kind of torture to a perpetually hungry adolescent boy! Eh, it’ll be good for strengthening his…willpower…or whatever.)
The next step was for him to stop by on Tuesday to check the schedule for the coming week, and see when he was supposed to show up again. With Husband still away, I drove him over once more. He returned to the car and reported with exasperation, “She put me down to work two days while we’re in Maryland…so I have to text her and let her know to change it.” As we I was exiting the parking lot it occurred to me to ask, “So, what other days are you scheduled?” He shrugged and mumbled, “I’ll have Trevor take a picture and send it to me.”
“Um…sweetie? Couldn’t you have, I don’t know, done that yourself while you were there…like 30 seconds ago? ‘Cuz it’s not like any of the REST of us—such as, just as a minor example, the person whose car you need to borrow on a regular basis to get yourself to and from your new gig--need to know what you’re doing, right? I mean, I know it’s Summertime and all, but do me a favor and try to use your Teenage Boy Brain at least once in a while, ‘kay?”
So we turned around and went BACK, for him to do just that…prompting him to utter the best comment of the afternoon, by far: “I don’t wanna have a job…it’s too much WORK!” (Hahahahaha! Nice one, son. Oh, and also “too bad”; you’re stuck in the ranks of the Employed Folks now, and there’s no turning back!) And would you believe that when we returned home and he was reading his shifts to me so I could add them to the master calendar, he hadn’t noticed that he was also scheduled for July 7th…the day he’s getting his wisdom teeth removed. You guessed it--he has to go back one more time to leave a note for the manager saying why he can’t come in that day…or he’ll have poor Trevor do it for him. Siiiighhhhh.
Clearly there are going to be some…growing pains…with this endeavor. When Husband returned from his trip, he asked a question that I hadn’t—had Derek enjoyed himself? His response kind of summed up the undertaking, “It’s not like I’m passionate about sandwich making. Is it FUN? No. Can I tolerate it? Yes.” Yep, sounds about right for a part-time minimum wage first job. But for now, by all accounts (including the manager’s), he completed a successful “debut”, he’s gaining all kinds of Valuable Life Skills, blah blah blah…and he gets to wear kind of a cool t-shirt in lieu of a uniform. All in all, we’ll take it!