We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofKabita Rai

“get a job!” My auntie used to tell me to find a job all the time. I was so frustrated by the same words that she repeated to me every day. One day, I applied online for Walmart, but it didn’t go as planned,  so I stopped the online process when I was only halfway done. I was not worried about working at that time, since I really wasn’t interested in get- ting a job.  Two months later, my dad couldn’t work for a while. Then, when he could work, I had to drive him to work each day. I had a hard time waking up early and my schoolwork started to go downhill. I was always tired in class and even fell asleep at times.  One day, I heard that my parents didn’t have much money and they were having problems. I was very upset about this, and I felt pressured to apply for work again. I started thinking of seriously applying for a job, which was tough for me because it would be my first job. I ended up getting a job, and I was very happy with the money I was earning. I started making twelve dollars per hour. I was proud that I earned enough money to pay for some of my family’s bills and was able to handle my schoolwork. After working long hours, it was tough for me to wake up. I felt too tired to wake up. I was exhausted, and I had to do that daily, but eventually I got into the habit of it. Soon enough, my dad began driving again.  On my first day at McDonalds, the people were nice to me, especially one older guy and another man who helped me out a lot. They were very funny and were good to talk to. They entertained me and my friends a lot by dancing and being funny, but our happiness didn’t last long. After a few months, our good managers were replaced with different managers that came from another location. I felt sad that they left. When two of the new managers came to our location, they seemed pretty nice, but as the days went by, I started disliking them because they were not very kind. One time, when I was stocking food in the freezer, one of the new managers came into the freezer. I thought she was helping me, but instead, she started to push the boxes of food at me. I didn’t know if she was joking around or not, but I was so angry. I could not yell at her though, since she was a manager.  As the days went by, I noticed that the managers started to be stricter. They changed our schedules, and I felt like they ruined our lives. I went from loving my job to hating it. They couldn’t understand, or they did not want to understand, our problems. They fired many people and hired new ones. One day, I had to go pick up my dad from work, and I wanted to go on my break, but I couldn’t go because I had too few hours. I was very angry.  I learned that working is not easy, especially for a high school student. Many people don’t have to work when they are in high school, because their par- ents are able to provide for them and pay the bills. I think that working has been hard, but I know that it was the best thing to do. I will always help my family and I will be there for them if they need me. 

© Kabita Rai. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.