Maureen Hutchinson tells workingwise.co.uk about her working life and her job in meeting and greeting customers at McDonald’s – a job that she says has given her a new lease of life.
Maureen Hutchinson is 65 and at Christmas she will be celebrating her third anniversary in customer care at McDonald’s restaurant in Donegall Place, Belfast. Celebrating is the right word because Maureen clearly loves her job.
Having been a home help before she had her children, she only went back to work when she turned 55 after raising her three sons as a single parent. Maureen then completed a six-month placement through a work refresh programme run by the Job Centre. That helped build her confidence back after such a long time out of the workplace, but it took nearly a year before she found a job in a local coffee shop. Unfortunately, that shop closed down in late 2020 four weeks before Christmas.
Maureen saw the job at McDonald’s advertised and applied. The rest is history. She loves her role meeting and greeting the customers and knows all the regulars. “I talk to everyone,” she says. “Younger people are often on their mobile phones and don’t take the time to talk to people, but just asking how people are and making them feel welcome is important and it makes me enjoy my work more.”
She loves being with her younger colleagues, though, and says they keep her young. “They call me granny,” she says, adding that they tell her their troubles and have a laugh together.
She loves the fact that the restaurant is so busy too. “I can leave my troubles behind and enjoy being with people. And I feel appreciated. Some of the customers say they have come just to see me,” she states.
Maureen works full time on a shift basis. She says she gets on well with her manager, Joe, who “keeps me right”. “He’s very helpful with the training and showing me what to do,” she states. “I really enjoy being out. It has given me a new lease of life. It keeps my mind active and it gives me a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.”
In return, Maureen says, her employer gets someone with a lot of life experience and understanding of people as well as deep reserves of patience.
She says she has no plans to retire yet, but takes each day as it comes. “I won’t retire until I have to go,” she says.