It was probably the third time I had spilled a cup of ice cream on me that the thoughts made their way into my head: How did I get myself into this? Is this what adult life is going to be like? How did I get ice cream there?! It was only day two of my first ever job at an ice cream shop, and I was not sure how I was still surviving. Sure, almost every single person that worked there was nice and patient with me, creating an amazing environment, but there was also ice cream in my shoe. All I could think in that moment was that if this is what adulting is like, count me out.
I was sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings with my dad when he sprung it on me: I needed to be more responsible for myself monetarily. I was fifteen-years-old, already driving with my temps, and it was about time I seriously started saving money for a car of my own. Over the past few years I had been keeping money from birthdays, babysitting, and selling things of mine in order to buy a car, but my parents and I knew it was barely enough to buy four tires. I had assumed that it was not my responsibility in life to buy things that made me “happy.” Wasn’t that what parents were for? How was I supposed to find a job that would allow me to afford a $50 American Eagle sweater? And then it hit me. My parents were thinking the same thing. So, in the words of Rachel Green, I needed to get “one of those job things.”
To get this desired job, I did what any other person looking for a job would do… apply everywhere. After several rejections and three interviews, I finally was hired at an ice cream shop in the mall close to where I live. I believe “harmless” was the word that popped into my head first. How hard could scooping ice cream actually be? Well, on day one of my training, I found the answer to that question out the hard way. Seven o’clock on a Friday night was my first real shift. My boss was not there to walk me through it and I was not simply going to assist others in performing their work. Instead, I was the one doing the work. There I was, standing prepared for the long line of people I knew was coming in a few seconds. And, come it did. Who wins in a battle between four workers and twenty customers? The customer does, 100% of the time.
The only thing worse than the customers themselves is the mess they leave. No one–and I mean no one–has the common courtesy to clean up after themselves. First of all, why would anyone need fourteen napkins for three people? Second of all, how did all fourteen of the napkins end up on the floor? If there is anything I have learned from this job so far, it’s that I should never underestimate the carelessness in human beings. To further expand on the topic of messes, I have to bring up sprinkles. As someone who was always in the mood for complimentary sprinkles on my ice cream, I saw no reason as to why my other Team Members despised such a delicious topping. In fact, I even defended sprinkles when people would complain after a group of little kids would request it as a topping on their scoop of Blue Cosmo. However, all of this changed after experiencing my first closing shift.
When closing for the first time, you are assigned to the task of floors. From a distance, cleaning floors seems like a fairly easy task: sweeping, mopping, and so on. But, someone taking a more objective observation would see the footprints from a little kid walking through a puddle of ice cream or the stuck-on sprinkles and chocolate shavings from the multitude of people that both spilled and stepped on them. However, the arduous job of floors also includes changing trash bags and taking the trash down through the creepy alleyway that houses the trash compactor. However, the alleyway is not the most frightening thing about taking the trash down. That title would belong to the eerie maze-like hallways and creaky elevator that take you there. These corridors are the closest someone could get to being on the set of Saw.
However, there are so many plus sides that cancel out the negatives of my job. As I stated previously, everyone who works at the ice cream shop always has a smile on their face no matter what. The environment is more of a social gathering than a real job, even though work is still getting done. Additionally, even though I may have dropped ice cream on myself multiple times while working and seem to always be getting corrected by elderly people, the environment, the responsibility I feel when working and paycheck I get every other week continue to be the reason why I love my job so much. Not to mention the free ice cream I get while on the job.
While I might complain tirelessly about my job, I still show up to work with a smile on my face and anticipation of what the day will bring. Although the job may be completely terrifying at times, it is certainly an entertaining experience. But, most of all, my time at this job has allowed me to feel more responsible, mature, and to feel like I was truly becoming an adult.