Your first job will be at a restaurant or car wash

Your first job will be at a restaurant or car wash

Getting a job in the US, my El Dorado, is a very complicated matter because your experience will depend on whether you have legal papers or not.

I was lucky that we had papers, so we could legally apply for jobs.  Now, that’s just the easy part. As a new inhabitant of El Dorado, and especially coming from West Africa, you have many things going against you. For example, if you are staying with friends who have been working at low paying jobs, their whole stay here, guess what, they will steer you towards those kind of jobs. Also whether you are coming from an English, of French speaking country, you will have communication problem, and as result, that will limit the jobs you can apply for.


Ultimately, a having a ride available is crucial to getting around.


If you are lucky, you will have a bus route close by, otherwise you are out of luck, because nobody, and I mean nobody, will be happy to give you a ride daily to your job.


Eldorado Stories


For my part, my first job was at McDonald. Amazing, isn’t it? The funny and sad thing is that it is commonly accepted that as a young man, you should be looking for those types of jobs (fast food, car washing places) first. Thinking back, there were better paying jobs, I could’ve applied for, but well, I ended up at a McDonald. I never worked a day in my life before, and boom, all of a sudden, I had to go to school, get off then go to work, get off late, come back home, and then do my homework. It was one hell of a shock, but you get used to anything in life. Also soccer is my stress reliever, and as long as I could play, I was always good. 

In Togo, workers have some much freedom, and, flexibility as far as actually being at work and working. In El Dorado, you are paid by the hour, and trust me, you really earn that hourly money. Also when you are scheduled to be at work at 7, you better be there by 7 because more often than not, your supervisor will be there by 6:30. There is no such thing at CPT (Color People Time). I remember, playing in soccer league, where there was an African team, and they came like 30 min late to their game. Of course, they were forfeited, and got the customarily 0 – 3 loss. These people had the nerves to get mad, and protest the loss, saying there were only 30 min late!

Back to my McDonald days, the hardest part was to stand up the whole time you are working, and dealing with rude customers.


In El Dorado, the customer is always right, and in Togo, the customer is always wrong.


For example, a customer can eat most of their meal, then make some complain, and might get reimbursed!! Imagine, how hard it can be to adjust. Actually, lot of African stores and restaurants, still treat customers like they are back in the motherland. So I worked there for a few months, going through my first cold period in the US (Winter is no joke when you lived most of you life in a tropical country, and I think I started to wear my thick winter jacket in September). Freezing one self at a bus station, and not daring to go back inside and wait , because you do not want to miss the last bus.Then, you really are screwed.