I began working when I was fifteen years old at a little pizza parlor down in Keller, Texas. I had just moved from Whitter, California in the middle of high school so imagine how tough that was. I knew no one, and at first it was really difficult to make friends, since I was considered the outsider from my fellow sophomore classmates. So, I did the next best thing and found myself a job.  I was only fifteen when I got hired on at Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza. I remember my first day. I was outrageously nervous. I thought to myself, what if you mess up? They’re going to laugh at you, they’re not going to take you seriously, you are just a kid, and other thoughts came to mind, but you get the picture. Right? Surprisingly, my first day went extremely well, and I continued to progress. Two weeks later, I received my first paycheck. I remember feeling overzealous because in my hand I held a piece of paper with my name, and a balance of three hundred and sixty-two dollars and twenty-one cents. That was the day I got addicted to making money. I moved around a lot during my high school years, but I always found a job wherever we moved to and I can honestly say beginning to work at a young age taught me a variety of skills that I still incorporate in my life today.

Working at a young age sculpted me into a stronger individual. I was buying my own school clothes at the age of sixteen and supporting myself. Well, as much as a seven dollar and fifty cent salary allowed me to, and it wasn’t because my parents weren’t able to, but because I chose to. I wanted to know the value of a dollar and what it was like to actually earn something. Other than earning twenty dollars a week for completing chores that were commanded by my parents. Over the years, I have had a variety of jobs. I have drizzled marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni on dough. I have also prepared desserts, and even sat behind a desk. I have even had the pleasure of letting you know guacamole is extra on your burrito bowl, but all these jobs weren’t just jobs to me. They were jobs that prepared me for life. They allowed me to interact with different people and cultures. These jobs taught me strong leadership and communication skills.

Something that I have retained from all the jobs I have previously had is time management. For example, I was a high school student who took the bus to and from school. As soon as I arrived home, I immediately got dressed and changed outfits, then proceeded to a ten-minute walk to work. Sometimes, I’d run around frantic like a chicken with its head cut off, but I somehow managed. I would then work four, maybe five hours, and my day didn’t end there. I would go home to complete my homework and eat dinner. Next, I would get all my clothes ready for the next day, and finally it was off to bed to catch some z’s. My head hit the pillow harder than a baseball hits the catcher’s glove. I remember before I had a job, before I even knew the value of time, I would get so annoyed with my parents when they would tell me they didn’t have time. I would always say something like, “what do you mean you don’t have time, taking me to the mall doesn’t take that long you know, all you have to do is pick me up and drop me off.” Little did I know that something so simple as taking a trip down to the mall had so many factors you had to take into account. For instance, what if the car had no gas, and even in present time my car never has gas, so that always requires a trip down to Chevron. Other factors like, the amount of time it actually takes for you to reach your destination, and if you’re getting a ride there and back, that’s four trips, which can feel like a drive to Vegas and back. I never thought anything of it until I had to generate my own schedule. I never again, got mad at my parents for telling me they didn’t have time to take me somewhere. It definitely made me a more considerate soul. I can now say that time management is an area of expertise because of all the experiences I’ve come across.

Another skill I have continued to integrate in my life is money management. Ever since I was little, I have always love to spend money, like a rich lady shopping for diamonds. Whether it was buying hot cheetos, Arizona green tea, and lucas salt from the ice cream man, or buying some new shoes and clothes, I love to spend money. However, sometimes when you have a consistent flow of money trickling in, it is very easy to lose track of it. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. I remember before I had ever become employed, I would ask my parents for five dollars and sometimes they would hand over a crispy twenty, and hours later that twenty-dollar bill became cents. It wasn’t until I started making and spending my own money that I became knowledgeable about the value of a dollar. I worked at Papa Murphy’s a little under a year, and I remember my parents asking me what I had to show for it. Yeah … I was embarrassed to tell them that I only had a hundred dollars. At that point, the lightbulb went off in my head and instead of buying myself a new pair of shoes every week, I created a system to save my money. Every paycheck I saved sixty percent of my earnings and before I knew it I had a little over two grand saved in my account. Believe it or not, but I still use that same system and it has worked very well over the years.

Anyhow, I felt accomplished, but I still wanted more. I wasn’t so embarrassed anymore because I actually had a savings. So, I approached my parents and said “I have a proposition for you guys, I have two grand in my account, my grades are remarkable, and I have been working really hard, will you guys please help me get a car.” My parents quickly responded “yes of course we will, you deserve it.” A week later I received my license and bought myself a pearl white Honda-Crv. Not many teenagers can say they bought their first car, but I can. The process of buying my first car wasn’t easy but it would have definitely been harder if I didn’t learn how to manage my money.

Last but not least, another skill that I have learned from working at a young age is social and interpersonal skills. Ove the years, I have had many different jobs, and each job the demographics have been different. I have worked with people my age, older generations like Betty White, and as young as Hannah Montanna, and I can honestly say that it taught me how to interact with different attitudes, cultures, and personalities. I used to be really shy. I had a loud voice, but did not know how to use it. But since I was surrounded by many different people I developed social skills, and before I knew it I was a social butterfly, I could take to just about anyone. Because of this it broadened my horizons, and each job I’ve had I’ve either become a shift leader or a supervisor. Without interpersonal and social skills, these opportunities would have never been handed to me.

The older I’ve become the more I realize that these skills are essential to everyday life. Usually, they are acquired after high school. Luckily, I acquired them beforehand and it helped me be more prepared for life after high school. Sure, you never know what life is going to hand you, it is like a magician shuffling a deck of cards. But with these skills, you can help prepare for the tornado. They are the stepping stone to becoming a responsible, successful, and productive individual. I am not saying that everyone should get a job in high school, but I highly recommend it. By interacting with a numerous amount a people combined with my own experiences, good and bad, it sculpted me into the strong leader I am today.