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Cathy's Perspective:
Lessons Learned and Questions Unanswered

April 2009 | Catherine Danola, a high school junior


After eight months of hard work, I decided that is was time to hang up my green apron, throw out my milk-soured shoes, and quit my first job. I realized that even though the job and its monetary benefits were rewarding, that success in school is much more important. While I am happy with my decision, I have my old job to thank for many valuable lessons. I now know that:

• If your job was easy to get, there is a reason.

• Your boss is like a third parent. She has more control over you and your time than your mother.

• You should duck when a cute boy comes to the counter . . . no matter how much you smile, your uniform is not attractive.

• You will meet interesting “sketchy characters” that you would never have associated with otherwise.

• It is possible to act as if you enjoy being up at 5 a.m.

• You should always, always, always be on time. The time clock never lies.

• It is possible to stand for eight hours at a time but your feet will pay the price.

• There is no social life for those that work 20 hours a week and go to school full time. And, it is nearly impossible to study for that physics test that you will take tomorrow morning if you are still at work at 9 p.m.

• The lowest man on the totem pole should expect to work on all major holidays, including the superbowl, without extra holiday pay.

• The services the union provides to hourly workers who have no benefits are unclear, yet expensive.

• The ten dollars per hour (that once sounded like so much) does not go very far after taxes, union dues, and other payroll deductions.

• You have to file federal and state tax returns, even though you are only 17-years old.

• It is hard work to earn a decent wage.

• College is important.





















As you might have guessed, I am back to living on my allowance and, like so many these days, making adjustments in my spending habits. For budgeting purposes, some cash-flow questions still remain. I wonder when Arnold will mail my state refund check, and if the union will refund my dues? I would really like to use that money to get my nails done.



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