I got my first restaurant job 10 years ago. I was a hostess at a well-respected rib joint. I got my first serving job a few summers later. It was pretty awful—I was stressed and sweaty and angry most of the time. But the money was good, better than I’d known in my many years of working thus far. So I’ve stuck with it.
My first job out of college was at a popular restaurant/sports bar in Baltimore. I’d never heard of it before the interview. I spent nearly 4 years there. Hired as a hostess, I also began serving a year or so later. By the time I left I was the head server—I tailored my own schedule, trained new hires, ate for free, pretty much drank for free, and was getting paid an hourly wage in cash. I’d done a little bartending, done big events, parties, and festivals. For a while I was even in charge of organizing and dispaying the merchandise. As a gift, I created a 4×2 sign depicting thier name in bottlecaps. Hundreds of them (they helped me gather them). It took me forver. But they were my family.
I really became a part of that place. And I let it become a part of me. The good and the bad. Sometimes, however it seemed like the bad was taking over. Too much drinking, too much drama, and anger and resentment, and frustrations. And the fear of getting STUCK. It’s happened to others. It happened to me for a bit.
So when I left for my roadtrip, I knew I wouldn’t be back. Even if I came back to Baltimore, I didn’t want to work there again.
And I haven’t.
It wasn’t easy. I’m not a fan of job hunting, and after a couple of dud jobs, and an ever-dwindling bank account, I was getting desperate… but I never caved.
Then one day I got set up with a new place that was opening up. It was to be an oyster house at a waterfront location.
It’s going very well.
Great reviews, top listings on tripadvisor, busy busy busy fairly consistently. The money is good.
But busy can take it’s toll sometimes. Actually, any restaurant can take it’s toll really. There are good nights and bad nights. Sometimes the bad nights are very bad nights. Like apologize for my attitude and demeanor kind of bad nights. Go home and feel like shit about myself kind of bad nights. I’d get weeded at work, I’d get annoyed, impatient, accusatory. I’d shut down, I’d fume, I’d snap. I still do.
Maybe I’m getting burnt out of the whole gig, who knows. I didn’t think I’d be doing this for this long. But the hours fit in with my schedule/laziness, the money’s adequate or better, and let’s face it I enjoy being surrounded by food and booze, but mostly food, at all times.
Plus I really do enjoy helping people have a pleasant and memorable experience when they go out to eat. I like going out, especially somewhere I’ve never been. Why wouldn’t I want to share that with others?
But it’s when I get in my mood that shit gets fucked. I forget what this industry can bring me, and what I can bring to it. I just see red….I need to work on stopping, taking a breath, and remaining positive and pleasant.15 months ago