Or something like that.
I don’t know how but that’s a pretty catchy title. Don’t you think? 💁🏾♀️
So, I quit McDonald’s last week. Actually, I informed the management of my resignation two weeks ago, but my last shift was last week Friday.
Most people have no idea that I worked there, and some people are very much aware of that phase of my life.
What I really want to talk about is that phase. That phase felt like the end of a show when the writers had nothing else to do but make the cast miserable. In the show, I am the side character to myself, and I wouldn’t say I liked every second of it. The bus would pull up at the bus stop, and I would ride for an hour while taking a short nap before starting my 5-hour shift.
On my lucky days, I would miss my bus, forcing me to book an Uber that would cost me almost 3 hours of my shift, but it gave me a sense of luxury and allowed me to daydream about a life when I could afford the ride.
I’m not criticizing that job because the income was a lifeline, and I’d be willing to take on a few more shifts even today if I didn’t feel overwhelmed lately. I have learned from several attempts to overwork myself that the recovery is the worst part of being burnt out. “Speaking for myself.” So, I try my best not to get too tired before taking a break.
Those times, I would ignore myself and just focus on “the grind.” And I know you can relate to how easy it is to do just that—concentrating on what you can see, like your bills and an empty bank account, lol. But I remembered the last time I did that, everything in me suffered, spiritually, mentally, academically and every “lly” out there.
Literally, this time last year, I was battling two jobs and school. I knew other people were doing it, and I thought I could, too, but it was pretty demanding. In the midst of chronic sleep deprivation and a lack of leisure, I lost a sense of self. I was tuned into survival mode, neglecting my identity for survival. In addition to just overcoming a mental blackout, I leaped into whatever would give me a sense of accomplishment. And I still wasn’t thriving.
Anyway, In my quest to find something purposeful, I found God in a new light last September, and it was a calm but strong wave in my life when I decided to find whoever created this beautiful pit of joy we call life. To be honest, I don’t know what exactly pushed me, but one day, I got tired, and I just wanted peace and quiet.
As I sent in my resignation letter, I remembered the last time I quit a job last December. I had to because I was wearing myself out, and I had missed assignments and failed tests. So, even though I knew it needed to be done, I was still scared. By the way, I still had the McDonald’s Job and some savings. So, there was really no reason for me to be scared anymore. But I was.
I convinced myself that I was afraid of not finding happiness, losing someone dear, failing to achieve my goals, failing school, letting my parents down, struggling to meet my basic needs, losing my job, never reaching my aspirations, or never finding love (quite a list, right?).
But looking back, I realize that I genuinely feared the idea of being nothing.
So, I held on to anything that seemed to be working out, which was packing fries and attending to the worst customers in my career in customer service. Every shift I resumed after a long class or my long shift second job at the gym, I would blank out and count down to the end of my day.
I started with closing shifts that ran from 5 pm to 12 am and would jump for joy when I got at least two changes. Every Wednesday evening, I would run to my email and refresh until I heard that ping. I would quickly compare it with my customer service job at school and ensure I got at least 6 hours of sleep between the shifts.
After my last shift, I experienced an overwhelming sense of relief as I walked out those doors, knowing I’d never have to wear that uniform again. I wouldn’t be taking a bus at midnight back home while fighting sleep and hoping I don’t miss my stop. I don’t know if I ever told you the story of when I missed my stop at 12:30 AM and had a shift to cover at 6 a.m. If I did, I know I was definitely laughing when I told the story.
My life was a bit of a mess, and my thoughts were all over the place. I gave up on getting to places early or following up on appointments; I just went with the flow and arrived on time.
This may have frustrated some people, but I didn’t care. It was one thing in my life that I could control: my time! At some point, I was convinced an angel was organizing my schedule because everything started falling into place without me trying one day.
I was late even the first time I started working at McDonald’s. The TTC had arrived late, and I needed a few minutes in the restroom to dry my eyes. So, I arrived about 20 minutes after the scheduled time of 10 PM. I’ve come a long way since then, that I don’t even remember why I cried that day.
I remember working diligently, always ensuring I was busy and not caught doing nothing, as I was terrified of being fired. I couldn’t afford to lose my job, especially when I was already on thin ice at my other job due to my “tardiness.”
Anyway, I give God all the glory for McDonald’s because I have no idea what I would have done without it. During those long commutes in traffic, I listened to sermons and read books. Even two months after starting, I started drinking tea as the weather turned colder. I invested in a $37 Starbucks flask that kept my tea hot for hours. I might dislike that flask now, but it was a lifesaver during those late-night shifts. I’d prepare my tea at home, put it in my bag, and enjoy it at the end of my shift.
By the way, I didn’t like tea since I was way younger because of how it made me feel inside. Only to find out I was just lactose intolerant and my whole family used milk as much as we used sugar.
Interestingly, when I received the call for the job, I was at another job, whispering my acceptance of the position. Right after work, I grabbed my bag two weeks later, ran off to the bus station, and used my last dollars to load the Presto. I headed to the training and came back home. The funny part is that I initially planned to attend the paid training, collect the payment, and then inform them that I couldn’t continue. I have started from quitting during training to quitting a year later.
The next day, I anxiously went to Walmart for the black, non-slip shoes. This time, I prayed to God that buying those shoes wouldn’t result in a loss like the last work shoes I got. Guys, those shoes are my favourite investment ever.
If I were to tell you the story of how I got the job, it would involve me being fired from a warehouse job after just one day, and I was heading home in anger with my $120 steel-toe boots in my bag.
Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t take the offer. I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself as much as I did those nights. I would probably not understand what it really means to step out of my comfort zone and do more. I would not have created the beautiful playlist I made in the summer or found my seasonal love for tea or a new level of patience.
I see the expressions on people’s faces when I enthusiastically share how I got the job and how surprised I was to land it. Maybe learning how to make fries isn’t the most ideal and beautiful job, but at that moment, it felt like the most therapeutic thing for me, especially when that was the first thing that gave me hope that things would be better.
I am not where I dream to be, guys, but I am well on my way, and I have so much faith that God has a lot in store for me. So, when I quit, I quit in faith that He would provide another source of income for me in January.
I don’t know how it’s going to work out after now, but my perspective and troubles have dynamically changed in the last 12 months, and it didn’t take a snap of a finger. I wasn’t conscious of my growth, and stepping out of that shift at 12 a.m. last week brought me back to the first night I resumed.
However, the primary purpose of this message is to inspire hope. Your worries might not be the same as mine were at that time, but I wish I had a reminder back then that it’s all part of the process. I wish I had read or heard something that told me some experiences are meant to build you, not diminish you. Something like this piece would have been a blessing. But I was blessed with the experience, and I want you to see yours as a blessing.
Because if you don’t give up, the worst that can happen is you die. And if you are dead, there is no need for all the wild goose chase. Simple!
Many people know me as hopeful, but during that time, I had stopped making long-term plans. I didn’t care about what the next year would bring. That’s why I’m writing this. By now, you’ve probably figured out this isn’t just about the job but my state of mind back then. It took me quitting (because I disappeared and came back several times over the course of a year) to realize how far I’ve come from the girl who walked into the store with teary eyes.
So, my point is I was in such a peculiar place that working at McDonald’s was the highlight of my life. I was excited to tell anyone who cared to listen. Some people might have been dismissive, but if only they knew how much it changed my life.
In conclusion, I find it so weird that what you think was the best thing that happened at that moment would end up being something you must let go for a more significant best thing.
Also, if you know who is hiring part-time in January, ABEG!
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