When I was seventeen I was offered the opportunity to become a millionaire. I turned it down. I have no regrets.
It was 1973 and I was working at the time for the local McDonald’s, making the princely sum of $1.12 an hour. Summer was ending and I had decided not to return to school, which meant finding a full-time job. I only had a few hours a week at McDonald’s.
When I told my manager I was quitting because I had found a full-time job, he was quite upset. He hadn’t realized I was interested in more work. He said he could offer me full-time hours if I wanted it – I could be the “close-open” person, with the goal for me to move up to management.
I was not really tempted. “Close-open “was an eight hour solo shift closing down the grills and other equipment and getting the restaurant ready to be opened the next day. The money would have been better than the $300 a month my new job was going to pay me, but it would literally have turned my life upside down. I would have been working nights. Everyone else I knew worked in the daytime. It didn’t seem like something I really wanted to do, so I said no.
Back then McDonald’s was still pretty new in Canada, though it was well established in the USA. If I had decided on a career in restaurant management with them I would have been a franchise owner in short time. And a McDonald’s franchise back in the 1970s was a license to print money. Probably still is. I would have been a millionaire in short order. Nowadays in Canada you need $800,000 to get a McDonald’s franchise, but back then I think it was about $15,000.
I understood all that, but decided the disruption to my life wasn’t worth it. I just didn’t have that burning desire to be a restauranteur.
Ten years later I did wind up disrupting my schedule and taking a job that had me working overnights. But that was radio, something that had become a passion for me. No money there, but a lot of fun.
Fun has informed a lot of my employment choices. No regrets there. I tell young people entering the workforce that while there are indeed times when you take a job because otherwise there is no food on the table, it is important to find work that you enjoy. It may not pay as much, but there’s a lot to be said for enjoyment – I know too many people unhappy in their jobs or careers.
So no regrets on not becoming a millionaire. I do wonder though, how would I have answered if the offer had been for a day job?
As Aslan says, no-one is ever told what might have been.
(I just realized that eighteen months ago I promised to tell this story. I’d forgotten that. If there are other posts I have promised that haven’t show up yet, somebody please remind me!)