There is no such thing as “unskilled labour”

Two Oasis staffers take orders at Fanshawe College. CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE
Some of the skills gained by working in a fast food restaurant include processing orders, remembering orders, problem solving, and prioritizing tasks.

There is no such thing as an unskilled job. Think about any job you might have ever had: cook, cleaner, cab driver, even a crook. Comedian Aziz Ansari said it best: “If you go to Wendy’s and everything goes according to plan, there was some skill involved.”

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of the word skill is “the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance or…dexterity or coordination especially in execution of learned physical tasks.”

If you work at Wendy’s, you most definitely will fall under both of those categories. Some of the skills working in a fast food restaurant chain include processing transactions, remembering orders, problem solving, and prioritizing tasks. You also have to know how to cook the food properly and sanitize those machines or else you may find yourself in the emergency room on a Saturday night. You have to grill, run the ice-cream machine, drop the fries at the exact time and prioritize tasks; that’s what it means to have “organizational skills.”

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In my own search for employment over the years, one of the terms I came across most often in job descriptions was “organizational skills.” According to Workopolis, some of the most essential skills most often listed in Canadian job descriptions included: working well with others (93 per cent), oral communication (84 per cent), computer use (74 per cent), and administrative and organizational skills (64 per cent). It looks like working at Wendy’s (which would unfortunately fall under the unskilled category by many) would encompass nearly all of the most desired skills that the surveys found were the most important.

This brings me to my next point. Don’t shy away from putting those jobs proudly on your resume. Explain to a potential employer why the skills and experience gained at the job were anything but “unskilled.” Highlight the organizational skills gained in the fast paced and stressful environment, how you excelled under pressure, your first-class communication skills and your problem-solving abilities that night shifts after the bars closed have warranted you.

My first job was when I was 14 years-old. I lied about my age to get a job at the A&W in the mall. It was the only job I have ever been fired from. I couldn’t handle the speed, the pressure, the coordination. I worked in the back, putting the burgers together, and I kept sending the burgers down the shoot without any meat in them. It was a nightmare. But my boss at the time taught me a lesson I have carried with me throughout my entire working life. He said, “there are no unskilled jobs, only jobs where intelligence has yet to be applied.” Then he fired me, but you get the point.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.