Leaving Behind My Second Family

Leaving Behind My Second Family

I have been working at Panda Express for more than 2 years now. Let me give you a break down on those years. This was the second job application that I have ever filled out in my life and the first and only interview that I have ever been in. The experience was quite strange for a first time interview. I waited in the lobby for almost a half hour and then the manager came my way and said “Sorry, someone is trying to steal my money.” I knew right then and there that this job was going to be very interesting. And I was totally right.

The people I work with are honestly the reason why I haven’t quit yet. And the pay is nice, but still. I have met so many different people from different backgrounds that I have worked with. Different ages range from my age to almost 50 years old. I’ve had coworkers from Russia, Mexico, and people who haven’t left the valley. I have some very interesting stories to say about my job and the people I have met.

The first one is my shift leader, Jessica. She is a woman in her 40s and is kind of like my second mom and friend. She was honestly always there for anyone if they needed her. I bet if I were stranded in the middle of nowhere and called her to help me, she honestly would. She is one of my day-ones. She actually bought my whole store water guns and we acted like children shooting each other. She brings the fun and energy to a job that is honestly really tiring. This specific Panda Express that I work at is always super busy and the line is out the door every single day. So, having just the slightest bit of fun makes everything so much more enjoyable. I can also have serious conversations with her and she can give really good advice. We are both there for each other and I’m going to be really sad when I leave for college.

Two of my other coworkers, Caiden and Kaniel are also some of the highlights of my shift. They both work in the back and cook the food and clean the back of the kitchen while I help the customers. From the beginning of me showing up on my first shift with Kaniel, he was instantly funny and super cool. Now he is a little too comfortable around me but that’s ok, it builds character. He is honestly a professional yapper. I’m so serious when I say this because he will sit there and talk to you for hours on end about the most random things ever. It is enjoyable, though, and it gets my mind off of things that I go through outside of work. Caiden can speak to me about the most random stuff and can also get pretty serious with me. I can completely rant to him and won’t care. He gives his input and advice while also cracking a few jokes here and there. He also finds himself so funny. He will literally place stickers on my arm and pretend to pour water over my head just to be funny. He started working after me when I was working there for a good 6 months, and he got comfortable real fast. So, they both definitely have a special place in my heart.

Valeria is also another really good person that I work with. She came also later on while I was working there, but when I met her she was really sweet. We joke around and always laugh about stories we tell one another. Whether it is school or friendship drama, there is always something. We are the same age roughly (she’s a little older) so we get along really well. Every time we see each other, she gets so happy. She usually works during the night on the weekdays while I work some nights on the weekdays and mornings on the weekends. So, whenever we get to work together, we get happy.

My boss, David, is honestly unlike any boss I have ever had. I have had 8 bosses during my time at Panda, and all of them were extremely nice. Some from different backgrounds, but at the end of the day, they act like your boss. David acts like my boss, of course, but also treats me like I am an actual person. He tells me about his life and we talk like some of my normal coworkers do. We joke and he literally bullies me. That’s how comfortable he is. Of course sometimes with schedules and orders it can get irritating but then I think “it’s David, so who cares?” He is super chill and doesn’t really care about certain jokes we all say to each other because he claps back with something too. I can’t get too mad for too long because he is pretty enjoyable to be around.

My beloved work best friend position goes to Melissa. She works in the front with me and whenever we work together, we are always laughing. I swear we sound like little school girls just yapping away. We still do our work of course, but, like I said before, you have to have fun also to not make it so miserable. She is a woman of about 23 and is 6’3. She gets asked a lot how tall she is and it irritates her every time a customer asks. I quite literally look up while talking to her, but the super tall and short duos are always the best. She is one of the people that I especially don’t want to lose because she is a person that will be straight up with me and also not judge me. Ok, maybe a little, but its with love. We are so silly and goofy with each other that we jam out to any song that comes on. I actually want to take her with me when I leave so that I can’t end up losing her, and we can save on rent because the Bay Area is EXPENSIVE! I can’t wait to potentially have her go with me to experience a new chapter in my life 🙂

I know that this article is extremely long and if you are still here reading, you’re a real one. I am so incredibly grateful for each and every one of these people that I have had the pleasure to meet. In life, you meet incredible people that can change your life for the better and these people did that for me. I wouldn’t still be at this job and saving up for college if it wasn’t for them giving me a reason to stay. I will be very emotional when I transfer to a store in the Bay because leaving behind people is difficult.

But maturing is realizing that a new beginning is as scary as it is exciting. The lesson here is, always find joy in your work place, even though you have little speed bumps along the way. Don’t be afraid to be yourself around people because, who knows? They might become a second family.

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