Column: Smooth approach can make bad jobs bearable

By Susan Kantor

I can unwrap the paper on a straw faster than anyone else I have ever met.

You can gain a lot of special talents by making and selling smoothies for almost three years. I began working at my job during senior year of high school. I go back to work there every time I’m home for more than a weekend. My record for making a smoothie is 11 seconds. I’m pretty sure the recipes will be burned into my mind for years to come. One day I lifted 50 pounds of carrots. I can talk for hours about the benefits of eating large amounts of fruit. I have even perfected my pouring technique – it’s flawless.

I will admit that it’s not the most glamorous job.

Sometimes I cringe when I have to tell people that I’m approaching my 21st birthday and I still work in food service. There are days when I just don’t want to put on my all-black non-slip shoes, logo visor, polo and apron. There are some days when making smoothies for eight hours is just too much.

These are the days that I really appreciate having my job at The Daily Illini.

I get to come to this job every day and do what I hope to do in my real career after I graduate. Of course there are difficult days and problems to solve. When I compare these problems to the ones I face when I work at home, I’m very thankful these problems aren’t related to a customer’s smoothie being too thick.

I hope that making smoothies will not turn into my lifelong career. But I have learned much more at the store than how to blend and pour the perfect drink. I learned how to keep a smile on my face and be nice to people even when there is nothing I would rather do than go home. I have gotten over the idea of having imperfect nails because I have to do dishes and mop the floors. I understand how to manage people to make sure the store will run smoothly.

There are opportunities everywhere and it may be that even the most mundane job can will make you better for another job in the future.

Find a career that is going to make you happy. But before you do that, make sure you spend enough time in a job that does not. Then you will really appreciate the day when you are making bank instead of smoothies.