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Financial Literacy

Michael’s Story

You always think that your first job experience is going to be the worst one. For me it has been a blast. The whole experience of getting my first job was actually great, but it’s not just a walk in the park. Hopefully after you read about how I found my job, the interview, my first day of work, how managers can be … you will be prepared and psyched to get your first job.

People think that it’s really hard to find out where you could apply for a job. Luckily for me I found out that Sonic was hiring car hops from my mom. Word of mouth is the best way to find out about job openings and whether the job will be fun and pay well. The next thing I did was I got one of my friends to come and apply with me. It relieves a lot of the pressure when you have a friend there who has been through the job application process before. After you have chosen a place to apply and you have suckered a friend to go with you, you need to prepare yourself mentally for the interview.

Now everyone says that one of their most nerve-wracking times was their first interview. All you have to do is relax and you’ll be fine. In fact, if you have ever had to converse with a girlfriend’s parents, you have all the experience you need to get through a first interview. On thing to remember is you need to look presentable; you don’t want to scare the managers. Personally, I toned down my unique style for the interview. Be ready to answer questions like: do you have visible tattoos or piercings; what times are you available to work; what is your transportation situation; do you have a driver’s license; and are you a citizen. You need to bring two forms of identification and have your social security number memorized. Of course you will need to fill out tons of boring paperwork. I was surprised to find out they were ready to give you the benefit of the doubt—the job was yours to lose.

The best advice I can give to anyone is DO NOT PANIC on your first day. If you are going into a job that’s in the food business, keep the customer happy, follow the manager’s instructions, and hustle—and most likely you will keep the job. My first day at Sonic I dropped a drink and the second day I was short $2.75 when I cashed out. They expect a learning curve; if you have a good work ethic the managers will cut you a break.

If you have friends that have a job, what is the thing they say the most about it? “I hate my managers so much!” Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you are nice to your managers right from the start, then they can be really fun people to work with. I’ll admit there is always going to be one *&@# manager but all you have to do is smile, do what he or she says and they will go bother someone else.

Even though you have to take your work seriously always remember you can have fun on the job. I have made a ton of new friends, we have our own inside jokes and yes, it has been a great way to meet the opposite sex. Of course tips and payday always make a good day better.

I have to say that I am very happy with my first job experience. Finding the job was easy (thanks, mom), and the interview was not stressful. I have good managers; my first day wasn’t too intimidating; and now I have fun all the time hanging out with my new friends—and I’m getting paid to do it.


Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Young Entrepreneurs Story (YES) Project—like Michael did above—and share your successes, challenges, and advice with other young leaders and entrepreneurs.