A Thank-You to Fast Food Managers

We all likely have fond memories of our first bosses.

Well, perhaps not all so fond. But I do.

At my first job (Taco Johns’, in case you were dying of curiosity), I had a GM named Cyndi. She was hilarious, compassionate, efficient, a great trainer, and on top of her job. Kind of like a mom to us young pups, she listened, understood, encouraged, and kept smiles on our faces. She gave us rides to work when we needed (and may or may not have handed her closing crew a Chaco Taco on the sly every once in a while). It’s so important to have someone like that to guide you over your first steps into the working world – or perhaps your return to it.

When someone is struggling to get back into the workforce – maybe down on their luck, perhaps without a lot of high-end skills, trying to finally beat a substance rap, or just fresh out of 9th grade – it’s typically not high-powered jobs that they search for. Most law firms won’t be hiring them, if we’re honest. It’s fast food, or grocery, or retail they’ll be going after.

And store managers are the ones holding the keys. They hire, they supervise, they develop. You’re not getting or keeping a job without them.

If you think about it, store managers play a underappreciated and frankly crucial role in our society. In light of that, perhaps McDonald’s general managers are not a target for mockery, no matter how they feel. A lot of down-and-out people rely on their goodwill to get back into the game. That’s power. They’re gatekeepers, in a way.

And there seem to be more and more broken people pounding on these gates with each passing year.

Such managers often lead pretty thankless existences. They have to deal with constant turnover; a competent crew lasting months would be a dream for them. They often don’t make much. They’ve got families they battle to feed, just like us. They get plenty of abuse from their own bosses and have to bear the weight of firing people (which, hopefully, is a weight for them, no matter how much the fired deserve it). They can’t please everybody, and there are days when it seems they can’t please anybody. And if anything goes wrong – the product, an employee, something completely out of anyone’s control – and the customer comes calling, guess who gets blamed?

Of course, not every manager is an angel. And with poverty and rising cost of living such a prevalent point of discussion, bosses are in the spotlight more than ever. It used to be that a household could get by with just one breadwinner. Now it seems to take both parents working – and building and selling a house. The pressure is on. And managers have a role.

To the fast food bosses out there, I’d say this: you’re not ruler of a henhouse, but a steward of the poor and suffering. You have not gained power and authority by accident; you’ve been given it by God. That’s a great privilege, and it holds great potential.

As Spiderman often heard, with great power comes great responsibility. In light of their struggle, I would simply say, I hope you will put your people first. Make decisions that treat your employees as more important than yourself. Their livelihoods depend on you. God does not give a person power for his or her own comfort or control, but for the welfare of those beneath you. And God brings it back around to you. I’d be glad to help out most of my former bosses even today. Remember the saying: we are judged not by how we treat our peers, but by how we treat those beneath us.

To the bosses who have helped salvage lives by bringing in the misfit, recovering, recently released, or marginally skilled, and getting a paycheck to them and their kids, you are part of what keeps the world turning. Thank you.

Just figured you wouldn’t mind hearing such things on a Monday. May your grills be hot and your hands fully washed.

 

I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!