I worked for Chipotle from the summer of my first year of college until the summer coming into my senior year. Unlike a lot of fast food jobs, Chipotle was very committed to creating a culture that encourages employees to work their way up into a management position. Although my end goal was not to become a manager, I did not take my time at my first job lightly.
While employed at Chipotle, I truly learned the importance of overall teamwork; working together and taking accountability for your actions. There were many times I and others had to pick up on the slack of our coworkers who did not show up for shifts or improperly completed tasks. I would sometimes have to work two positions to make up for our understaffing. At the end of the day, we had a business to run and I understood that. But looking back now, I can also see the negative effect on picking up someone else’s slack. If you are always fixing someone else’s problem (or in our case working their shift) and they receive no penalty, they are not going to realize the importance of being accountable for their actions. So yes, as a team it is important to get the job done. But it is also important for teammates to take ownership of the mistakes they make and for the other teammates to address it to the other team member or members.
I gained very valuable customer service skills as well. There were more times that I was praised for my customer service than others. I always felt like I was as helpful as I could be. But one thing I learned, especially when I received complaints, was that it is impossible to please everyone. I remember one time I had a customer who tried to call me out for “being smart.” I think that situation just goes to show no matter how well you may perceive yourself, other people may not see yourself from your perception. And that’s okay because those who know your intentions will.
Lastly, I learned the importance of relationship building. Having a positive relationship with my coworkers really got me through the job. Without some of our fun times, I don’t think I would have stayed as long as I did. Additionally, I came to build casual relationships with the customers. I think it was comforting to some of them that I remembered their orders and even came to remember their names (people love when you remember them). Building and maintaining relationships with everyone there, whether they were a coworker, manager, or customer, were some of the most memorable experiences and pleasures that I had.