How to Survive Your First Weeks at McDonalds

At some point in your job hunting, you’ve seen the ad for McDonalds. You clicked on it and saw the perks which includes free uniform and discounted meals. You applied for it because why not. Then suddenly, you got the call to do an interview then the orientation, and now you’re in the crew room, listening to every beeps of the machine and shouting of the crew.

McDonalds is a pretty good place to work, atleast based on my opinion. I’ve worked for McDonalds for two years now and two stores. When I left my first store, I told myself that I would leave the fast food business and go another route. But alas, I found myself applying to the closest McDonalds by my dorm and here I am, still working here.

The first month of working in McDonalds is definitely the most difficult part, as with most jobs. This is the time when you have to learn different steps of the job and work with everyone. Hopefully, this list can help you adjust better to the job.

  • Learn everyone’s name. Working at McDonalds means working with a whole lot of people. You’ve got your front counter team, drive thru team and kitchen team. It leads to easier communication and rapport between all team members. Also, it’s easier to call another crew member by name rather than “Hey” or “You”.
  • You won’t remember everything you’ve learned during training. Training in service consists of three 4-hour days and kitchen is two 4-hour days. In these days, you will be shown how to make drinks, punch order and prepare order (for service) or do grill and table (for kitchen). As a crew trainer, I wouldn’t expect you to memorize how to make all the McCafe drinks or sandwich boxes within the four hours that I trained you. The easiest thing to learn and master what you’ve been taught is to do it many times. Don’t be scared of asking other crew members for help.
  • Expect a lot of shouting. In your first few weeks, you might be still doubting yourself on whether or not to call a sandwich to kitchen even though you’ve waited for 500 seconds already. Then the crew beside you saw your timer and you just heard them call (shout) for the order and you realize you could have done that too 200 seconds ago. During rush hour, you’ll hear a lot of shouting and calling from DT, service and kitchen. Kitchen calling for their levels, service calling for their drinks and DT calling for their ask me’s. If you’re on the side and you hear all the shouting, you would think that everyone’s a mess. But for some reason, it gets the job done.
  • There’s a lot of beeping. And you’ll probably hear them in your sleep. The fry machine beeps. The oven beeps. The CFN fryer beeps. Seriously.
  • If assigned in fries, follow your screen and common sense. Dropping fries is dependent on how many customers you have. No customers? Maybe just one basket just in case. Full house? Drop 6 baskets, listen to the beeps. I’ve seen people drop 2 baskets because their screen said only 4 medium fries. But please look at front counter, there’s a line-up. Look at DT, the cars are lined up. Use your common sense and make sure that you drop the fries in a way that you’re sure that you will be able to cater to the demands of the customers. The last thing you want to hear is, “Waiting fries!”
  • Buy good, non-slip shoes. The first shoes that I’ve bought were from payless and although was good enough for me not to faceplant because of fryer oils on the floor, they weren’t the most comfortable. I knew I needed something that could help me stand for long hours comfortably as well as force some sort of arch to my foot. I settled on a Sketchers non-slip shoes and it has definitely lessened tiredness on my foot after a long shift. Working here includes a lot of walking, bending and standing so make sure that you’re using shoes that are comfortable for you.
  • Always communicate to your team members. We always say in my store, “Guys, communication…”. You already did that iced coffee for the order? Tell your partner so you won’t have duplicates. A pull forward order needs extra ketchup? Tell your runner so they can put it in the bag. A good communication between each members can help make the work flow better.
  • Be a team player. Make sure that you know how to connect to fellow team members and that you can work well with a team. It’s difficult at first to feel like you’re part of the team because everyone has already established a flow around each other. However, the more you incorporate yourself, the more you’ll feel more part of the team.
  • Expect rush hours to be busy. And when I say busy, I mean busy. Where all seats are taken and DT is packed. That’s when you hear all of the shouting and running around. Crew be bumping towards each other and no one cares about those fries on the floor. You’ll hear people complaining in the lobby about waiting for a long time and you’ll see the crew losing their patience. By the time rush hour is done, everyone goes to drink water and savour the down time.

There you are. Hopefully, some of these could help you adjust better to McDonalds. Welcome to the McFamily. 

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Losing the Passion?

Reading might be one of the most cliched things to write on “What is your hobby?”. I mean, that’s what a lot of people would right in order to look more intelligent than they actually are. Writing, though, is something that you don’t see a lot as answer to that question. What kind of writing? Scribbling? News Writing? The Onion-style writing? People can get confuse and be like, “So… like calligraphy?” and you’re stuck shaking and scratching your head.

Growing up, I’ve always loved reading. Stories, poems, ads… you name it, I would read it. I was always scolded for reading while walking because apparently that messes up with your sight or reading in the dark. I don’t actually remember when I learned how to read. All I know was that I used to stand beside my grandma while she teaches her students how to read then I started helping her teach them how to read. Reading has given me a good way to exercise my imagination as well as broaden my vocabulary. I’ve always aced spelling exams as I knew a lot of words that were probably seen as way beyond my age. My family and friends have always encourage me to read more. My dad and his siblings had lots of books and comics collections which I was free to use (as long as I take care of them). My grandma gave me a list called “Basic Sight Words” which I had to read everyday to enhance my vocabulary.

As I grew older, reading still made me happy and then I found about writing. Or more specifically, journalism. I was in Grade 5 when I was invited to train to be part of the journalism team of my school. I enjoyed it a lot and could see myself doing this for a long time. I didn’t end up being part of the team of that year because my teacher legit sabotaged me (but I’m over it… I guess). The next year, I was chosen to be trained again to be part of the journalism team. This time, I made it. I was preparing to be a feature writer but ended up as the editorial writer.

Every time we would have some writing practices during the training, I was always told that my features were more editorial. I would always have some piece of my opinion injected onto them instead of featuring the topic. In the end, I was chosen as part of the school paper. On the paper, I was credited as a feature writer but I was the one who wrote the editorial. The editor-in-chief was the one who wrote the feature. After the weeklong initial training, we stayed later in the school to start preparing for the city-wide journalism competition. We were competing with most of the schools in the country. I didn’t win and that broke my heart. I took me back to when I was little and also failed to win at a reading contest. Two of my biggest passions and I failed at being the top bitch. Anyways, most of my teammates won the top prizes and our school won the over-all top prize for journalism in English (there was another one for Filipino).

When I entered high school, I was motivated to be part of the school paper. I applied and submitted some of my writings, old and new, to them. I’ve never heard from them that year and when the school paper came out, it was obvious that I didn’t make it. The next year, I applied again. But this time, I was less naive and more aware. I knew the type of people that they’ve accepted and I wasn’t part of that cut. However, I still applied half-knowing that I wouldn’t get into the club anyways. I told myself at that time that if I don’t get in, I would stop trying. I did not get in and I stopped trying.

That same year, I won the Tanaga poster making competition. I’ve beaten the writers from that club and I’ve never been happier. It was an unexpected win as I thought that I wouldn’t have a chance with it because I didn’t make up my mind on what to write until the last 20 minutes of my time. I walked up to my stage and picked up my medal.

A year later, a competition was sponsored by the alumni of our school. It was a writing competition and only the honors and semi-honors students were invited to join. Everyone else were cut off from joining and we had no idea that this existed until the winner was announced on a Monday morning. My friends and I looked at each other, aghast at this inequality. Up there is a guy reading his winning piece while majority of the school body had no idea about this competition. I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who felt betrayed and annoyed. Then, another competition sponsored by the same people was announced and this time, it was for everybody. My friends and I decided to join the preliminary part. About a week later, we were called to the Principal’s office to be personally congratulated as we were able to move on to the second and final round of the competition.

On the final round, our Principal gave this long pep talk which I missed most of it as I was late. However, I got to catch the last bit of it. I can never forget his words that up until now I still think about whenever I write something, “Don’t write about what they want to read, write about what you want to say”. With those words in my mind, I wrote what I thought was the most controversial piece of that competition. The topic was ‘I Beliefve…’ and it took me forever to think of what to finish this with. I wish for a better future? I wish to be rich? Then I thought, for all these year, I’ve seen intelligent and talented people in general sections not being given their limelight because the spotlight is always given to the honors’ and semi-honors’ sections. So the essence of my piece was that I believe that the school should not have any sections named as Semi, honors and General Section. As I looked around the room, I see members of the school journalism team and I thought, yikes, with this piece and these trained people, will I get a chance to win?

I won. Second place. Super unexpected and I didn’t exactly know how to react. Here’s a piece that I wrote on behalf of my general section friends. Here’s a piece that I thought they would just put on the side because of how it can be seen as an attack towards treatment of students by the school. As I walked across the stage, in front of the very people who rejected me into the school paper in favour of their peers, I felt a surge of pride. I still had it. I can still write and that rekindled my passion for writing. I knew that this was one path that I would want to walk on and pursue. But my parents had other plans.

I was going to be a nurse, like my mom. I cried and begged them no, but it was nursing or no school. I had no money and was dependent on my parents so I conceded. I took nursing for two miserable years. I can see myself becoming a nurse but I can also see myself not being happy. As years goes by, writing didn’t become my priority anymore and I’ve been abandoning my blog, one of my last connections towards my journalism dream.

As I look at this blog and my other blog (which I had when I was in high school), I could totally see when I started to lose the passion. When I started focusing more on my life and not on myself. Blogging and writing had always been my getaway. As I look at my drafts, I could see half-finished pieces, stories, how-to and memories. It saddens me that there was a time when idea just flow right through me and drafts were merely a way for me to save my progress so that I can finish a blog in a few hours. Now, the draft box has become a graveyard of my non-continuous ideas, writer’s block and loss of hope.

I don’t know if I’m still as passionate in writing as I was before. But writing has already been engraved in me and I couldn’t imagine losing the chance and the ability to write, to be able to convey my feelings. I think the one reason why interest in writing hasn’t been up there lately but because I haven’t been writing. I mean, some people would say that one of the easiest ways to rekindle a relationship is to bond with them again, right? I guess that’s what I have to do. To write more, blog more. Anything under the sun.

23 Years and Counting

A few days ago, I celebrated my 23rd birthday. Of all the birthdays that I’ve had, this was the one where I felt the most alone. Although I spent it with my mom, the loss of my grandma still left a void in my heart. I wished that I could have called her and heard her greet me a  “Nak, happy birthday”.

The past year was a whirlwind for me. I moved out of my mom’s house and officially lived alone. I managed to survive by myself in the big city. I was able to move into my own apartment and finally felt an adult. This was also year where I lost the best person in my life, my Grandma. She was my light and everyday, I wish she’s still with me.

This past year had showed me the importance of family. It showed me the importance of the people that I loved. I thought that everyone would be beside me and could see my accomplishments. But that’s not true.

On my 23rd year in this world, I hope to become the better person that I was. To learn more lessons and commit less mistakes. To be more mature and stable. Cheers.

I’m a Strong, Independent Human Being

It has been over a year now since I’ve moved out of my mom’s house and live on my own. For the first year, I moved into the school dorm which is not bad. It’s actually a great way to ease myself into being independent. I had a bachelor room which gave me sense of how it is to actually live alone. I cooked my own meals and paid my own bills. I had to do grocery shopping for myself or else I would have nothing to eat. I learned how to handle money and control my spending habits.

Halfway through the year, I felt like I had definitely become accustomed into living alone. For the longest time, I’ve already known that I would want to live by myself rather than have a roommate. I see myself as an outgoing introvert, if that makes any sense. I like keeping to myself most of the time but I also enjoy mingling and socializing with people. When at work, I’m happy and bouncy. However, the moment I get home, I just want a peace of mind and I get to do anything that I want. In the perfect world, I can afford all the luxuries in life. But it’s not and I don’t have a whole lot of money which means that having a roommate is an option that I cannot let go. I have friend for years now who also moved into the city the same time as I did and we talked and talked and eventually decided to rent an apartment together. The apartment we found was perfect in size and location. However, a few days into us moving into the apartment, they found cockroaches which means that instead of August, they told us we could only move in around October. Sucks for me, I had to leave the dorms by 3rd of August.

For two weeks, I was stressed out about the apartment. We decided to not go through with the roommate plan and I started to look for apartments. It was tiring. I was on Kijiji days and nights. I was on FB Market looking for rooms, basements and apartments. I went and visited a whole lot of places to no luck. Some were dingy, one was nice but waaay to far and the other one was just too expensive for what I get. I looked and looked until I found this apartment that was marketed cheaper than many of its counterparts and close to the school that I wanted to go. So I messaged the owner that night, got a reply from him in the morning asking me to call him and a minute later after that, I managed to book a viewing.

The place was perfect for me. Or maybe it was just what the tired me thought. Either way, I still got the apartment. On the day that I did my viewing, I signed papers and the next day, I gave my damage deposit. I couldn’t contain my happiness and called my mom about it. I finally got my own apartment! It’s a one bedroom apartment with all utilities included and the only extra is internet. Plus there’s laundry in the building so it’s not a hassle to wash my clothes at a laundromat.

I’ve been living in this apartment for about two weeks now and I’m just starting to settle. Overall, I feel like I need a badge that says “level two adulting” because I finally got myself my own apartment!!