Fast Food worker to Software Business Development?

[This is a republished post by one of our #Wolfpack team members at MuseFind. You can follow Malcolm’s adventures here]

I got my first job in 2010 as a cashier at McDonalds in Vancouver. As a teenager, it represented my first opportunity to earn money and create value for the world by putting smiles on people’s faces. McDonalds is a gateway for youth to learn time management, interpersonal skills and build self confidence. However the perception of working at a fast food restaurant has been skewed negatively towards the fast-food workers. As my first job though, it had a profound effect in building the foundation of my character.

“The perception of working at a fast food restaurant has been skewed negatively towards the fast-food workers”

This article will talk about the top two things I learned whilst working at McDonalds and how they’ve sown the seed for the traits and mindsets that persist in my role in Business Development at a software company.

Lesson: 1 — working under pressure

I worked at a busy location next to a nightclub in Vancouver with customers and colleagues from all walks of life. Despite the busy nature of the store, it maintained a 100% customer satisfaction rating for many months. The team was an environment for hustlers and people who thrived on pressure. To survive one had to be able to take the heat.

“The team was an environment for hustlers and people who thrived on pressure”

That’s the lesson I learned which has persisted until today: maintaining composure during stressful situations.

It was common to hear beeping buttons all around and see dozens of people in a line that’s backed out all the way to the entrance of the store. In the face of these circumstances, you either live up to the expectations or you get relegated to a role that no one wants, like cleaning the washroom or garbage duty.

Fast forward 6 years, and I’m dubbed the Young Wolf here on team #wolfpack at MuseFind. I’m exhilarated by the pressure and thrill of having client and team meetings back to back (to back).

A week in the life of MuseFind’s Young Wolf — the hustle never stops (names redacted)

The mission is to remain calm and collected in the face of urgency. And this can only be achieved if you have the product knowledge and confidence in your team to deliver on an account (or an order of fries). A large part of my day revolves around client meetings, both in person and over the phone. The constant stream of meetings keeps my mind sharp, just like a wet stone would for a knife.

Lesson 2: Persistence and Tenacity

As a Cashier at McDonald’s I was a front facing member of the roster. As a part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics promotional training, we were taught up-selling techniques and given specific targets for each shift. Getting rejected by customer after customer is tough, and eventually it takes a toll on one’s mentality. But I looked at this opportunity as a challenge. And during the 4 month promotional period of the 2010 Olympics I had risen up as the top sales performer out of a team of thirty. A significant amount of credit goes to the processes in place which gave me a platform to succeed. But the core lesson I learned was that one must have mental tenacity.

My most memorable moment was during a shift in the summer when a colleague two years my junior asked me: “Malcolm, how do you do it? We get turned down by almost everyone but you just keep smiling and going on.”At that moment I realised that I had an intrinsic understanding of my role as a part of the bigger picture in my personal development. The task at hand is never the end goal, it is only part of the process. And this was a unique opportunity for me to show others a new perspective.

Live photo of the Young Wolf at the MuseFind HQ in Vancouver

Whether the goal is to be promoted to a leadership role or to learn to speak more confidently by the end of the month — having an end goal as well as an understanding that each task is an opportunity to learn or improve on a skill has been an acquired mindset from my time at McDonalds.

“The task at hand is never the end goal, its only part of the process”

Translating this back to my current role: Clients rarely come on board after one touch point or one discovery call. It takes time to learn about each other to make sure we’re a good fit before we start a relationship together. From my perspective now, there are multiple layers of complexity to client negotiations and B2B sales, but the same concept of grit and perseverance applies. Customers might say “no” time and time again, but learning why is paramount. Whether it’s our product offering, my way of presenting myself, or customer discovery processes, the core theme that perseveres is always tohave the tenacity to figure out how to improve.

MuseViews from our Campaign Manager’s desk

As my mentor and CEO Jennifer Li puts it, “We’re not here to sell a used car; we’re here to share a powerful piece of technology that can help the people succeed”.

“We’re not here to sell a used car; we’re here to share a powerful piece of technology that can help the people succeed”

To the high school students out there who are working part time jobs; I commend you for stepping out of your comfort zone and setting yourself up for success. Whether you’re a Stock Associate at Safeway, an Office Assistant, or a Cashier at McDonalds, the fact that you’re taking initiative to step into the working world deserves more praise than society gives you credit for.

To parents of teenagers, I implore you to push your children to work at least once a week — it can do wonders for their independence and it gives them a sense of responsibility which can profoundly accelerate the growth of your child in ways traditional education can’t.

“There’s nothing shameful about sweeping. Its just another opportunity to excel — and learn”

“Andrew Carnegie famously put it. There’s nothing shameful about sweeping. It’s just another opportunity to excel — and to learn. But you, you’re so busy thinking about the future, you don’t take any pride in the tasks you’re given right now…. You think, This is just a job, it isn’t who I am, it doesn’t matter… Everything we do matters — whether it’s making smoothies while you save up money or studying for the bar — even after you already achieved the success you sought.” — Ryan Holiday

What was your first job like and how did it shape who you are today? Leave a comment below!

-By Malcolm Yu, aka Yung Wolf aka Influencer Marketing Igniter

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