How Working at McDonald's Prepares You For Bigger and Better Jobs

ABJREK Las Vegas, Nevada, America

The opportunity to build new skills can be staring you in the face. It's up to you to take advantage of it.

Sara Baldwin, founder of New Ravenna Mosaics, a This Built America company in Exmore, Virginia, says the best job training anyone can get is to work at McDonald's. Yes, the fast-food chain. She worked there from age 16 - 18 and among the transferable skills she learned are:

  • Attention to detail

  • Basic math

  • Inventory management

  • Systems and processes

  • Communications skills

"You learn efficiency," she adds. "There's one way where you get the order. Before you fill it, you fill the drink order, and put the top on it. There are all sorts of little things like that."

Her advice to those who are just starting out?

"It's probably good to retain your sense of humor. Getting to work on time matters and being consistent with your work habits matters. That's really important and is something difficult to find sometimes.

"Practice looking people in the eye and shaking their hands," she adds. "A general sense of willingness is wonderful to have."

Sara Baldwin New Ravenna Mosaics
Kory SmithSara Baldwin values someone who can look you in the eye.

Baldwin's best overall career advice, apart from getting a gig in your youth at McDonald's?

1. Build relationships with as many people as you can. Always be looking for ways you can help people. I meet some of the most fascinating people on the plane. It's really easy to put your headset on and not be open.

2. Continue to develop your sense of curiosity. If you have a sense of curiosity, it makes you wonder: What does this guy sitting next to you on the plane do? You might have something to offer them and they you. If you have a sense of curiosity, you're always wondering how to build a better mousetrap.

3. Don't stop your education. People who are perpetual students end up being more successful in general. It goes with having an open mind.

4. Develop a sense of trust in the future. When you worry too much about the future, it affects your performance today. It stops you from taking the leap you need to take.

When hiring, Baldwin looks for:

  • Good attendance

  • Good work ethic

  • Good communication skills (She reiterates it's really important to have the ability to look someone in the eye and shake their hand.)

  • A sense of humor

  • Good attitude and energy level

"Someone who jumps when something needs to be done goes a long way in my department," Baldwin says.

New Ravenna has two positions it's hiring for in a month or two. One is fixed and the other variable. (If you've never worked at McDonald's, Baldwin also has a soft spot for wait staff.)

> Find a restaurant job.

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