Free lunch at school for washing dishes

I really like the amount of money saved–$1.75/day–for 20 minutes of work. What? We’re not supposed to trade hours for dollars? Here are the twists that are pieces in the puzzle of getting ahead.

Upsides of working for school lunch

Mid-day moving keeps your mind energized

The food given even at a top-end school is heavier than one might pack themselves. Sitting all morning less the shuffling from room-to-room is a recipe for stagnation. The challenge to finish faster gives a few extra minutes to catch up with friends at the end.

Facetime with faculty and admin

The teachers rotate through lunch-time moderation, while the rest are in the teachers lounge for lunch (pretty posh lounge, too). When they see yours truly pouring, flipping and stacking like a controlled maniac, I think the hustle makes a good impression. I don’t have the resources most other students do here, I don’t have the time to play sports when I have to work to pay for things I need, so every opportunity for a few seconds of positive impression is worthwhile.

Facetime with students

This is a marketing opportunity! Since students rotate lunch periods every semester, I get to see a new crop of faces, most of whom I don’t have class with. I have already sold some of the salvaged and repaired studio equipment as a result–that was a couple years’ worth of lunches in profit! They also tip me off if they know someone in their well-off neighborhood has something they don’t want. People feel good about helping a kid out, particularly one who is boot-strapping his way out of his situation via entrepreneurship.

Downsides of working for school lunch

A slightly damp shirt (it dries quickly).