Though my blog theme revolves around midlife, sometimes I need to get out of my head and take a break from the here and now. Which I am doing today.
Instead, I’m revisiting a life-lesson I received when I was sixteen years old.
My family had moved cross-country when my father took a new job. I was a sophomore in high school and switched schools mid-year. Fast-forward a few months to the summer of 1976, the Bicentennial! I was working in the kitchen of the country club we belonged to, though I kept that fact a secret from my co-workers.
When I began I washed dishes. I soon moved up the ladder to “busboy”, which paid much better than the minimum wage, $2.30 an hour, I received as dishwasher. I can’t remember exactly how much better because it varied day-by-day.
The country club’s dining room was old school. The waitresses took the orders and served the alcohol while the busboys served the meal. At the end of the night our waitresses tipped us out of their tips.
I didn’t have a ton of friends at the time, so immersed myself in my job. I worked six days a week, five of those days, I worked four to closing. On Saturdays, I had a double-shift, seven to three, four to closing.
Toward the end of the summer, a teen LPGA tournament came through and I got a job caddying on the final day of the tournament.
After a long day caddying I was walking by the kitchen when Charles, the restaurant manager spotted me. He was extremely happy to see me and told me they were short a dishwasher and told me to get in the kitchen.
I explained I was tired. He didn’t care. I told him I wasn’t going to do it and he said I could do it or I was fired.
Without missing a beat, I walked up to the time-clock on the wall, flanked on both sides by slots filled with timecards. I found mine, turned toward Charles and said, “You can’t fire me because I quit!” I dramatically ripped up my timecard and walked out.
I drove home feeling pretty good about myself. I had stood up to a tyrant and taken care of my needs.
On my drive, I saw my father coming from the opposite direction. We both pulled over and he asked me how the tournament had gone, so forth and so on. I proudly told my father I had quit my job!
“No you didn’t.”
“Um, yeah, I’m pretty sure I did. I even ripped up my timecard.”
“No. When you leave a job, you give two weeks notice and get a letter of recommendation from your boss.” He spoke softly, but clearly. I got the message.
Needless to say, I returned to the country club and washed dishes for the rest of the night.
I still have my letter of recommendation.