Reality Paycheck: A Lesson Learned About Money

Growing up in Missouri, there were any number of ways to make money as a teenager. Even before I could drive, I mowed several yards each summer (thanks to my dad, who served as my chauffeur). In the winter, we usually got at least one “good” snow, and I would make a few dollars shoveling driveways. After I graduated high school, I decided I needed to make as much money as possible before heading off to college. Of course, I kept mowing some yards, but I felt as if I needed to get a “real” job and make some “real” money, too. Since the mother of one of my friends was a manager at a local fast food restaurant, I applied and she gave me a job. Thankfully, she allowed me to work mornings, and only Monday through Saturday, so I would not miss any services of the Church. I couldn’t wait for that first real paycheck. I just knew that it would pay for my entire college career; or, at least, my freshman year. Was I ever in for a shock! I had worked two full weeks, about 7 hours each day, in the hot summertime, dealing with on-the-job training, some rude customers, and those pesky ice cream machines (I still can’t make a cone that looks all swirly and pretty). And my reward? An already small paycheck, that had all sorts of money taken out of it! I wondered, “Who is this ‘FICA’ fellow, and how come he gets some of my money?” I figured taxes would be taken out, but state and federal taxes? From a 17-year-old? It was a reality paycheck, but that summer in the fast food industry gave me some valuable lessons that I hope will help you as well. It’s not really “my” money . As a Christian, I should have known this already, but it really became clear when I saw those large amounts going to the government. It also, sadly, made me think twice about giving, because I had already “given” to the government. (I’m glad to say that I did give anyway.) You are working for yourself, no matter what you do . That summer, I continued to mow yards (earning more money doing that 3-4 times each week than working 30 hours+ per week in fast food). However, even at the fast food joint, I was working for myself. How I performed–including treating customers well, being efficient, and working hard–meant me keeping my job or not, and would have given me opportunities to advance, if I had continued there for more than the summer. No matter what you do, remember that you are working for you. You are working, ultimately, for the Lord!  Even if you are in a job that some might look down on, you are representing Christ in that environment. How do you let your light shine when customers are unruly or when you are working despite being very tired? (See Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:23) There is valuable training in any job . Any more, I do not make fun of anyone who works at a fast food joint. I also have empathy when I see a customer being rude to anyone in such industries. It helps me keep my cool when something does not go my way at a restaurant, grocery store, or other establishment, knowing something of what those workers are going through. A dollar earned is just that:  earned . I didn’t make much that summer from the fast food place, but I valued each dollar that I did make, knowing how long and how hard I worked for them. Far too many of us take our money for granted, and don’t take the time to think of how hard we work to earn even just one dollar. Today, I look back on that summer and laugh a little, remembering how naive I was to think that working in such a place was “my ticket” for college. But I’m also grateful to God that I went through it, so I could learn these lessons and grow in both work ethic and financial responsibility. What lessons have you learned from “low-paying” or “low-respect” jobs that help you now? Meet us in the comments! This guest post is part of the  CPF Writer Auditions . Adam Faughn is a preacher from Nashville, Tennessee. He is married and has two children. You may read  his blog here , or follow him in  Twitter here . Photo by  hummyhummy Related Articles: What I Learned From My First Jobs 4 Things I Learned as a Grocery Bag Boy How much should you tip a bad waiter or waitress? How to Charge Top Dollar for Your Freelance Services The trick to saving money 2 Lessons Learned by Throwing Money Away Save money while eating out This article was written by a Guest Author. If you would like to write a guest post for our personal finance blog , you can find out how here . The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Also, many of the CPF articles help us pay the bills by using affiliate relationships with Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Find out more here .

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Reality Paycheck: A Lesson Learned About Money

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