To my first manager:
When I first met you I almost cried. At 16, adults made me nervous and you were no exception. It was the first and only job I had applied for and I knew that if you didn't hire me I would beat myself up over it, scrutinizing every single detail to figure out what I did wrong. I was shaking during the entire interview, stressed over what to wear for two hours and spent multiple days googling interview questions trying to prepare. But when we first sat down you smiled and complimented my bracelets (which we later on would share a mutual love for) and then proceeded to put your papers on the table and say "so tell me about yourself". And just like that, my first job interview was over in under fifteen minutes. So thank you for that question, because you managed to ask me the one thing I wasn't prepared to answer.
Thank you for always pushing me to be better. You had confidence in me when nobody else did and constantly reminded me of my potential. From the very first birthday party you let me work to the time "Host Assist" was next to my name on the schedule instead of the usual "Server", you helped me believe in myself and motivated me to be a better worker. You let me show you what I was capable of and watched me grow, guiding me along the way.
Thank you for being stern when you needed to be. There will always be one situation I will remember where you pulled me aside and talked to me about something I did, and I'm surprisingly grateful for that. From the very beginning you weren't afraid to tell me that I needed to mature if I wanted to keep the job. I grew up a lot when I was an employee under you, and that helped me outside of the workplace.
Thank you for knowing how to do your job. You always made an effort to learn new things and improve our surroundings, and I think it helped us all somehow knowing that you were once in the same position as the rest of us. You somehow accommodated the needs of 30+ employees and never failed to forget important events going on in our lives. You showed me what it was like to have a boss who was great at being a boss, and you'll always be someone I compare future employers to.
Thank you for being someone I could talk to. Because you didn't just see us as your employees, you saw us as people. You managed to care about us all individually, and at the end of the night it was comforting to know I could come to you about what was on my mind. You somehow managed to be 100% professional while still being understanding, and I hope that's a trait I will learn one day.
Thank you for making work a place I didn't dread going to. I ended up looking forward to the three hours a night I spent at work, and it helped me forget about any stressful things going on in my life.
Thank you for making us all feel like family. You helped us understand that teamwork was one of the most important aspects of our job, and created an environment we all felt comfortable in. You helped us bond and in return we became stronger workers. Because of that, I met some of my best friends, and it wasn't unusual to catch us all sitting in the parking lot after work laughing together.
Thank you for treating us like adults. Even though a majority of your employees were under 18, you never once treated us like children. You respected us and because of that, we all held a large amount of respect for you.
Thank you for all of the lessons you taught me. The biggest one can be summed up in the quote you left in your very last email to us; “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
Thank you for leaving. While that may sound strange, I'm glad you did. You taught me the difference between giving up and knowing when it is time to let go. You taught me to chase happiness, which I genuinely hope you have found.
Lastly, thank you for making my first job one of the best things that happened to me in my teenage years. Thank you for being the most wonderful boss any employee could hope for, and for being someone I could look up to as a person. I would dress up as you for Halloween any day.