40 Lessons in 40 Years: Entry 19

The more capable a person is, the more a mid-level manager will want to hold the person back.

I worked in food service a lot as a teen and young adult–frying fries, shaking shakes, burging burgers, waiting tables…

As someone who is conscientious about basically anything I do, I found that my managers always tended to be nicest to me when I was about to move on and do better things.

At Hardee’s, a manager spent hours trying to talk me out of going to a state math competition so that I could stay in town and work the drive thru that morning. At IHOP, the manager did everything he could to try and convince me not to move away to begin my freshman year at the university, so I could stay on as the weekday morning server.

Those were just two of my many food-service jobs, but at every food service job I held, I saw it happen to me and to others: If a person shows any promise or merit, a manager will attempt to hold that person in place to get quality work for minimal pay.

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