The year after I graduated from BGSU with my undergrad I stuck around Bowling Green, Ohio, trying to figure out what was next. The most important thing I’d learned in five years earning my bachelor’s of music was that I didn’t want to be a musician (a thing I maybe should have thought about before spending five years of my life earning a degree, but then, life’s made in the mistakes, amirite?).
In any case, I got a job working at the local McDonald’s, in my apparent quest to live as a walking cliche (I would later work several years as a barista while earning my writing cred in the continuation of this admirable goal). For almost a year, I worked the overnight shift at a small town, 24-hour restaurant. It wasn’t as miserable a gig as you might think, and it accomplished the ultimate task of giving me brain-space to think about my next step—and, as an added bonus, gave me lots of material that would eventually become the anchor novella in my thesis collection.
This post is partially a story about how the seemingly insignificant things we do in our lives can circle back and have value beyond what we ever imagined. It’s also partially shameless self-promotion, because that novella, called McBurglar and the Man O’War, is currently being serialized by Novella-T (that’s a link to it, if you want to check it out). It’s the largest thing I’ve gotten published to date, word-count wise, a story that evolved over the course of several years and drafts, and a story that never would have happened if I hadn’t spent a year aimlessly working fast food with a college degree and no clue of what I wanted to do with my life.
Eternal optimist that I am, I’ll call this proof of one adage I embrace whole-heartedly: No time is wasted if you learn something from it. Even time that leaves you smelling like fry grease.