My heart was pounding out of my chest as I headed over to the office. Why was corporate asking to see me in private? I had been helping open up the newest Miguel’s Jr with all of corporate as well as the founders out in Woodcrest, CA. It was the one day that I had arrived to work late. Seven minutes late to be exact. As I knocked on the heavy white door with reflective windows, I prepared to be scolded or even worse, to receive my very first write up. My manager Larissa opened the door and said to me “Come in, Christianne. I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something.”

I shut the door and waited for the worst to happen. Larissa had always intimidated me. She was about 5’1, had bright red hair and a reputation for being the meanest member of corporate. She broke the intoxicating silence by saying “I’m just going to get right to the point. I know that you’re only 17, but we’ve been watching you work, and we think that you would be the perfect candidate to be part of our management team. Would it be something that you would be interested in?” I stood there for a second, a little speechless. “Me?” I asked. “I would love to! I thought you were going to write me up because I was late today.” She laughed to herself and responded, “No, being a few minutes late is completely alright. It happens to the best of us. I’ll have one of the managers print out your schedule. You’ll most likely be starting out in Moreno Valley on Monday.”

When Monday finally rolled around, I dressed in a royal blue, button down dress shirt with the company logo on the chest, black dress pants and of course, the standard black slip resistant shoes that everyone in the restaurant industry are required to wear. I had never felt so official. I went over the standard protocols, responsibilities and manager menus with my superior Maricela who was an incredibly sweet Hispanic mother of two with light brown hair up until it was time to send the drive thru cashier on her break because it is illegal for anyone to work over 6 hours without getting a break. I spent the next forty-five minutes ringing up cars and then giving them their food until one of our regulars Tom, who was a middle-aged Caucasian man pulled up in a silver Chevy Silverado. “Why are you wearing blue but everyone else is wearing green?” he asked. “Oh, uhh… I guess I’m the manager.” I responded awkwardly as my face turned bright red. “You guess you’re the manager?” he asked me back. “Yeah, I guess. It’s kind of my first day as a manager so I don’t really know what I’m doing.” He laughed at that and told me “My wife and I have been coming here ever since your very first day and have seen potential in you. You’ve always been so helpful and friendly. Don’t worry about the little thing or even about messing up. That’s just a part of life. You’re going to be a great manager.”

A few months and many complaints later, I received a phone call from Larissa. This time she said “I’ve heard that you’ve been doing a really good job in your management position. I don’t know if you’ve heard but we just promoted your coworker Antonio to a manager too. Would you like to help us out by training him?” Antonio was one of my closest friends at the time. He was around 5’11”, had black hair that he consistently had spiked and wore glasses. “Of course, I’ll help you train him! I can’t promise that I’ll be able to teach him everything since I’m kind of learning how to do a lot of stuff myself, but I’ll try to do my best.”

Part of our routine as managers is to keep at least $2,000 in our safe and at least $280 in our change bags. At the beginning of every shift, we are required to count all of the money to make sure there is nothing missing and then to lock it up in our floor safe at the end of the night, as long as everything is there. On my first night closing as a trainer, I had showed Antonio how to count the drawers. I also taught him how to use our money counting machine, how to print up our daily revenue slips, and how to cash out registers. We put all of the money in the floor safe, restocked everything, clocked all of the employees out, and then went home.

The next morning at around 6:15, I was awoken by a phone call. As I looked at the caller ID and it read ‘Work’ I thought to myself, “Dang it, I must’ve taken the key for the front doors home again.” I answered the phone and Maricela answered, “Hey Christianne, I just wanted to let you know that you didn’t lock up the safe last night.” My heart dropped so fast. “What? Are you kidding me?” I squeaked. I knew that I was in big trouble and that I definitely deserved getting my first write up. “It’s okay. It’s happened to me before. I’m not going to write you or Antonio up this time. Just really make sure that you double check or even triple check that you locked up the safe whenever you close.” Not only did I mess up by not double checking the safe, but I almost got my coworker/friend Antonio in trouble too. No matter how much you think you know, or how long you’ve worked in a certain position, you will never know everything and will always have the possibility of screwing things up.

Being promoted as a manager was one of the most rewarding promotions that I have ever been given. I’ve been a manager for three years now and still learn something new every day thanks to those around me as well as from my own mistakes. If Larissa hadn’t seen potential in me and given me the opportunity to grow as a leader. Having regulars as supportive as Tom, gave me the confidence to be learn new things. He ensured me that even if you mess up, it’s not the end of the world. People mess up, it’s just the way life is. Through my management position, I learned that everything, whether it be failing to check that the floor safe is locked or even forgetting somebody’s taco can be turned into a learning experience. Most of all, my management position taught me to always stay positive because people thrive off of positivity.