Would You Like a Side of Guacamole With That? Lessons From Working at Tippy's Tacos

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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“You’re hired. Here’s our menu, along with abbreviations to the side of all menu items. Go home and study it and you can start tomorrow morning.”

 Tippys Tacos menu

I was home for an extra six weeks following my first year of college after my summer job teaching at a kids sailing camp ended. Being on the quarter system at college as opposed to semesters like the rest of my friends, my classes didn’t start until the end of September and I needed to fill the time and make some extra money.


Not many places were willing to hire someone full-time for only six weeks so my options were limited.


I wasn’t too thrilled with retail. Been there, done that.


I needed connections to land a serving job that paid any money.


So, Tippy’s Tacos it was for minimum wage. A semi-fast food Mexican joint where you ordered at the counter and then your food was brought out to you, I applied to work the register taking orders.


I arrived a little nervous the next morning proudly wearing my Tippy’s Tacos t-shirt and name tag. When the doors opened at 11am and customers started trickling in, I promptly started writing down orders short hand, abbreviations and all, handing the tickets to the kitchen in the back.


My boss, the owner manager, watched me silently for a while. After a few minutes, she told me in an incredulous tone that I was the first employee she ever hired that actually followed her instructions and memorized the menu, pricing, and ticket abbreviations for taking orders.


I was shocked. If your boss instructs you to do something, you do it, right? And you do it to the best of your ability, right?


Apparently for this minimum wage gig, Tippy’s Tacos attracted high school drop outs, pot heads, and drama queens who could hardly bother to show up to work consistently.


I’m ashamed to admit that I was a little embarrassed when a guy I knew from high school showed up one day and was shocked to see me working there.


“Didn’t you go off to Dartmouth College? What happened? Why are you working here?”


I learned three very important lessons during those six weeks working at Tippy’s Tacos.


  1. You’re never too good for any job. Working for minimum wage at a semi-fast food establishment was not beneath this future Ivy League graduate. I needed the money and they needed reliable help. Win-win for everyone.

  2. Any job worth doing is worth doing well. Don’t be a slacker just because a job is “easy” or “temporary.”

  3. Don’t care what other people think. No one else is living your life except you. Other people are not paying your bills and until they do, they don’t get a vote on how you make your money.


When I left six weeks later to return to college, I was extended an open-ended opportunity to return to work for any of my college breaks.


As with Tippy’s Tacos, we at My Pink Lawyer® strive to provide the best service and experience possible to our Florida estate planning, probate, and guardianship clients. You can find out for yourself by scheduling an appointment online here.


Tippy’s Tacos has grown since I worked there and is now a franchised Tex-Mex restaurant in Northern Virginia with multiple locations. Although it’s probably hogwash, I like to think that I played a small part in their future success!


Kristen “Would You Like a Side of Guacamole With That?” Marks


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