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READING LEVEL 6
Working Like a Donkey
Xiomara Argueta de Lobo
I remember my first day in the chicken plant. I wanted to give up. I was surrounded by chickens and large, noisy machines in an enormous, freezing factory. I didn’t think that the work was for me, but I picked this job because it was okay that I didn’t speak much English. Also, it paid a decent wage and had benefits, and it gave me time to go to school.
I started out working on a line where I had to separate the wings from the breasts. After a few months, my boss recognized my efforts, speed, and responsible behavior by giving me a promotion. I started working as Process Control (PC) and Oven Operator. I like these positions because I get to work with numbers. I check the weight and temperature of the chicken to verify that it meets USDA standards. However, my main goal is to get my GED so that I can study accounting and eventually find a good job in an office or perhaps manage my own business.
In my country, I was a sales manager for a jewelry store. That position offered me great benefits, a good salary, and lots of free time. I also went to university and got degrees in accounting and hotel and tourism management. But those degrees haven’t helped me here one bit because of my lack of English.
That’s why I’m going to English class. I’ve enjoyed studying ever since I was a little child even though my parents didn’t want me to go to school. When I was ten years old, I started working every day before and after school in my school’s cafeteria so that I could pay for my school supplies. As you can see, my career path started a long time ago.
School makes me happy. It helps me prepare for the future. I know that with the help of God, my teacher, and my efforts, a better future awaits me. I’ll never forget what a co-worker told me. She said, “Mija, you are so intelligent. If you study, you won’t have to work like a donkey like me.”
Xiomara is a student at the Adult Education Center in Fort Smith, AR. She is married and loves to paint. She is from El Salvador and has lived in the U.S. for 7 months.