Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Resolution #1 - "How Can I Better Serve You Today?"

I’m standing in what we call the “accountability room” at work where we drop our money and complete our paperwork for our shift. At every other restaurant I’ve worked, this process was actually done with a manager. Not having to do that anymore is one of the things I really enjoy about my new job. 

As I finish preparing my paperwork next to a few other servers, one of the kitchen chefs squeezes by to get something out of the room. A line cook pops his head in and asks the chef to get him an apron. 

“What do you need an apron for? You are done cooking for the night.” 

“We are cleaning, Chef.” 

“We clean with towels, not aprons” 

The line cook laughs uncomfortably, not sure how to take the comment. The chef tosses him an apron and the cook walks away. 

To no one in particular, the chef says “I need to promote that guy to a server. He works really hard at hardly working.” 

Comments like this are one of the things I dislike about my job. 

I know that a lot of my frustration with my new job is the fact that I got to spend six months without one. Working at Roadrunner with my friend Beau was a nice way to ease myself back into employment because I was in a welcoming environment with friendly people. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay the bills. 

I am genuinely grateful for my new job. My paychecks are good, I make consistent tips and with the exception of dealing with naive and idiotic comments like the one above, if I don’t make any mistakes at my tables, I can go an entire shift without having to interact with any managers. This pleases me. 

My schedule has been troublesome as I am new and, therefore, it has been difficult to get something ideal. I absolutely hate working Sundays... but it’s the most requested day off in my industry and as a newbie, I have to be available this day. I also had to work Thanksgiving, Christmas and have an 11:45pm shift on New Year’s Eve. Awesome. I’ve never had a job where I had to work all three holidays. Something tells me if I stay with the Grand Lux, this is something I’ll just have to anticipate each year. 

My point is, I’ve been complaining a lot about my job lately. And honestly, it’s not that bad. So what if I don’t like some of the people I work with/for? So what if I have to work on holidays? So what if one of my chefs is a douchebag? When did I start spending so much time focusing on the negative things in life? 

Resolution #1: It’s time to be grateful for my good fortune. 

During a time where unemployment is at an all time high (at least in my lifetime), and being able to find a job is no longer a simple process, I have been fortunate enough to get and keep jobs that pay well and fit my personality. Focusing on the annoyances of my job do nothing but make me more aggravated. I find this unproductive. 

My schedule will come around. Being new always has it’s disadvantages. However, every time I ask for a day off, I get it. 

Assholes are everywhere. The only reason I notice it so much more at this job compared to others I’ve had is because I work with a lot more people than I’m used to. There are also some really awesome people at my work and I definitely get to focus on their energy moving forward. 

I was a restaurant manager for six months. And I was miserable. For those managers that can’t seem to say anything productive or positive, all I have to say is - I get it. And I’ll make more of an effort to be empathetic to their own frustrations. I’ll also be sure to avoid them as much as possible. 

I’m still going to have bad days, of course. But it’s time to stop resisting the fact that I’m back to work and start embracing the fact that I have a good serving job on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada - where the service industry is the heart of the city. I make good money not having to work a ton of hours. And the health benefits are excellent. 

I talk down about my profession a lot because I think anyone can be a server, which makes me feel ordinary. But then I get double sat with a party of eight and a party of six, followed up immediately by another double seating of a party of four and a party of two and after running around non-stop for over an hour and a half, I had no issues, no manager was needed, all food came out perfectly, tips were good and I was told by a table that I was the best, friendliest and most attentive server they ever had. And somehow, that makes me feel special. 

So yeah, lucky me. And in the new year, this is a sentiment that I will continue to remind myself of whenever I start to feel a bit frustrated. There are many people who would like to have the job I have. My fortune is not to be taken lightly. 

With all that said, thank goodness I have tomorrow off. Christmas sure brings out the ugly in customers. 

And chefs, apparently. 

2 comments:

  1. (I'm gonna try this again)
    I understand what you're saying completely! One of the most frustrating comments I had during an interview was "I can see you have a lot experience, but when the economy picks up, you'll just go back to being a server. It's an easier job." *grrrr* Serving in concept is easy, but to do it right, in my opinion, is NOT easy. It's physically demanding, fast paced and people are most definitely not nice to you. On top of that, most places, the pay is inconsistent and a lot of times really low. Add to that, at least in my experience, you end up working twice as hard to make up for other employees who don't always pull their weight. I know you are like me in that you won't just do your job, you want to do a good job. And you strive to do a great job.
    With all that said, it's truly a blessing to have a job and double blessing that it also has benefits (most serving gigs don't offer that). It's just hard to remember that some nights after poopy tourists have run you through the ringer and left you a crappy tip after you ran all over the world for them, because they know they can.
    All I can say is take an ipod break with a favorite song and breath.

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