Working My Way Into Life: Freshmen works around a part-time job and school


Meg Joseph

The pastries at Banksia Bakehouse in Downtown KC. Freshmen Meg Joseph balances out working at her parents’ restaurant with school and sports.

Meg Joseph, Contributor

The weekend is a time for high school kids to go out, hang out with friends, go to parties and sleep in, but those aren’t options for me most weekends.

Every weekend, if I’m not playing sports, I’m at work making coffees and serving customers.

I got my first job at the age of 12 washing dishes for a small business. Every Saturday and Sunday I would work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the restaurant. I will admit it was not my favorite thing to do, but I was making money fast and that’s all I cared about.

The clanking of the dishes and the scalding hot water soon became a norm for my everyday life.

It was a lot of work at first, but soon the constant running back and forth collecting dishes became quite easy.

As I got better and better at my job, the employees began to notice my hard efforts. They brought it up with the boss, and my hard work paid off. I was getting more hours during the weekend and pay was improving heavily. Soon I went from washing dishes to helping customers and taking orders.

Employees began to warm up to me. I always tried to keep a peppy personality, offering to do little tasks around the restaurant. 

While I was now a front of house worker, I still was mostly doing dishes. My fellow workers would always ask me to do dishes instead of taking orders or running food. 

I knew if I wanted to earn my rightful place in the restaurant industry, I would have to prove my worth. I began working during nights on weekdays to improve my customer service skills. I developed those skills relatively quickly, and I could soon talk to any customer and accommodate them easily. 

People recognized that and I finally earned my place. I was now working a proper part time job and a server.

I began making $18 an hour and my bank account was filling up. But soon a problem arose.

I was a very active child,  and I played a lot of sports. So most weekends I would have a variation of a sports competition. So working long hours on the weekend was not an option anymore. My hours were soon cut, and my money began to drain and I was no longer improving at the fast pace I was before.

The beginning of summer was rapidly approaching, and I knew this was my opportunity  to continue my career. I picked up a job at a separate location and began working 36 hours a week. I would pick up double shifts whenever I could. I spent my entire summer working away. While I really did not enjoy it, I developed skills I would never have if I didn’t work that summer.  As high school started I worked less and less, but I still occasionally work. 

My job is definitely not my favorite thing in the world, but I have acquired many skills and experiences that will come in handy when I grow old and look for a new job.