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Longevity at McDonald's: Meet the 66-Year-Old Employee Who Never Expected it to be a Lifelong Career

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The Unexpected Journey of Paul Hendel: From McDonald's Employee to Owner/Operator

Paul Hendel's story is a testament to the unforeseen paths that careers can take. In the 1970s, Hendel started working at a newly opened McDonald's in Merrick, New York, as a 16-year-old. Little did he know that this job, which paid $1.85 an hour, would become his lifelong passion.

A Job that Transformed into a Career

Initially, Hendel saw his McDonald's job as a temporary gig, planning to pursue a degree in business and join his father on Wall Street. However, fate had other plans. Fifty years later, Hendel owns and operates 31 McDonald's locations across Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, including the flagship restaurant in Times Square. Reflecting on his unexpected journey, Hendel admits, "I never thought it would be my forever job, but I also can't imagine working anywhere else."

Seizing Opportunities and Overcoming Doubts

Throughout his career, Hendel faced pivotal moments that shaped his trajectory. In 1975, he was on the verge of quitting his job at McDonald's to attend college when a promotion opportunity arose. Hendel accepted the role of assistant manager at a new McDonald's location, recognizing the potential for financial stability and valuable work experience. This decision paid off, leading to further promotions and eventually the opportunity to become an owner/operator.
Embracing Passion and Family Legacy
Hendel's dedication to McDonald's stems from his genuine love for the work. When faced with the choice between joining his father on Wall Street or continuing at McDonald's, Hendel sought his father's advice. His father's simple question, "Do you like what you do?" and the realization that work is more than just a paycheck, solidified Hendel's commitment to his McDonald's career. Today, Hendel continues to work five days a week, actively involved in the day-to-day operations of his restaurants. While retirement is not yet on his mind, he envisions gradually passing on responsibilities to his children, who have also become owner/operators of McDonald's franchises. In summary, Paul Hendel's journey from McDonald's employee to successful owner/operator showcases the unexpected turns that careers can take. His story highlights the importance of seizing opportunities, embracing passion, and finding fulfillment in one's work. Hendel's remarkable journey serves as an inspiration for those who may find their lifelong careers in unexpected places.

Implications of Paul Hendel's Journey for New Business Ventures

Paul Hendel's unexpected career trajectory from a McDonald's employee to a successful owner/operator offers valuable insights for new businesses. His journey underscores the importance of flexibility and adaptability in career paths, which can be particularly relevant for entrepreneurs.

Embracing Unexpected Opportunities

Hendel's story highlights how seizing unexpected opportunities can lead to significant career advancements. For new businesses, this suggests the importance of being open to unforeseen possibilities that may arise, even if they diverge from the original business plan. This adaptability could potentially lead to greater business growth and success.
Passion as a Driving Force
Another key takeaway from Hendel's journey is the role of passion in career fulfillment and success. His decision to continue with McDonald's, driven by his genuine love for the work, resulted in a rewarding and successful career. For new businesses, this emphasizes the importance of passion in driving the business. It suggests that entrepreneurs who are genuinely passionate about their work are more likely to succeed and find fulfillment in their business ventures. In essence, Paul Hendel's journey provides a compelling example of how unexpected career paths can lead to success. His story offers valuable insights for new businesses, emphasizing the importance of adaptability, seizing opportunities, and the power of passion. These lessons could serve as guiding principles for entrepreneurs as they navigate the unpredictable journey of business formation and growth.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/11/05/66-year-old-has-worked-at-mcdonalds-for-50-years-how-he-found-his-forever-job.html
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