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Ignorance is bliss…sometimes

Okay, so here’s the post about my new job, finally. I’m not going to give too many details away, just to protect my coworkers and my place of business.

I got this job with the help of my mom, as she is the manager. I needed a job badly; so when she came home one day upset with the lack of skilled individuals at her new job, I offered to apply, for no reason other than I am a poor college student!

My mom has worked in the dietary industry my whole life, be it in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc. She is in charge of meal planning, resident nutrition, and keeping everything running in the kitchen.  At her current job, she serves as the Dietary Manager at a nursing home. My job? Loosely, a “Dietetic Aide.” Basically, working in an incredibly understaffed kitchen.

On my first day, I was completely overwhelmed and underprepared for the kind of work I’d be doing. I didn’t realize that it was up to me and two or three other people to prepare EVERYTHING for resident meals. This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Cooking the meal
  • Pouring 100+ individual order drinks
  • Wrapping silverware
  • Preparing a trayline
  • Making snacks for the diabetic patients
  • Making specialized meals for residents on special diets
  • Preparing and delivering 100+ hot trays, to be served on 5 carts
  • THE DISHES. Definitely the worst part.

I’ll be completely honest in saying that this job absolutely sucked the first day. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I realized why this job sucked on the first day. I am spoiled. I have been lucky enough to have never had to work a low-end job, be familiar with this process, and work together with individuals who may or may not be at my skill level.

I’ve already learned so much from this job about the real world. And, let me just add in my PSA for the day: go to college so that you don’t have to rely on this type of job just to get by. While I go home and go about my daily routine, (ie. not worrying about paying bills, taking care of a family of my own at 19) my co-workers go home to worrying about the phone bill they cannot pay, the family they struggle to feed, and counting the days until Friday’s paycheck so they can buy a belt for their baggy pants.

This job has made me learn a few hard lessons, and that I am so lucky to have grown up with parents who made life easy for me so that I could be ignorant. However, I am happy that my mom exposed me to this kind of job, so that I’m not completely ignorant. I think too many young adults have no idea what life is like for so many people struggling to get by in this country. So, while some may say “ignorance is bliss,” I tend to think it’s not in this situation. For example, yesterday I just learned what Job Corp was. When I asked, my co-worker (who’s about 22) said that she wasn’t surprised I didn’t know, because it’s for “ghetto black people.” I had no response. Later that day, my other co-worker got frustrated because I have difficulty understanding her choppy English. I’m learning to take these situations in stride; and more importantly, as learning experiences.

My time working for my mom is quickly coming to a close; and while I can’t say I’ll miss scraping pureed sweet potatoes off untouched plates, (and coming home to realize I have crusty leftovers on my arms) I am so very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.

Training update: Today, I completed a 10-mile run as part of my half-marathon training plan. Initally, my plan was to complete the run outside…but pouring rain sidelined that plan. Instead, I completed back-to-back 5-mile treadmill workouts. I used the same ClifBar goo that I liked last week, except in the chocolate flavor 🙂 Although a different workout than I planned, I think it’ll be just fine. I always find that I push myself to go faster on the treadmill, especially when doing interval runs like today.

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