Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The end of the tunnel!

Tonight I had a very encouraging job interview. Before I went to the interview I was talking to my friend Robert, NYC jazz pianist, about my job woes. I was saying that I feel surrounded by co-workers who crave the tidal wave of customers that crush you and then recede. I said I feel like a bad server because I DON'T want the shift to be incredibly busy and tip-generating and over with as soon as possible. Ironically, I feel like I don't belong in a restaurant at all because I'm the only one I know who actually wants to be there. I don't constantly long for the moment I can leave my workplace and go home.

I refuse to take that attitude. I refuse to wish my life away. People who get to work and immediately wish the workday were over are wishing their lives away in eight-hour chunks of time.

I've never understood people who don't prioritize enjoying life. I've never understood people who prioritize earning money or getting promoted or raising a family or staying married (or getting married) OVER the goal of enjoying life.

I enjoy being a server because I enjoy all the little parts that make up the job: talking with customers, carrying things back and forth, straightening/stocking/cleaning, etc. Those aren't tasks I try to avoid. They aren't tasks I try to get out of the way as quickly as possible. If I don't want to do them, it's time for me to find a new job.

I want to enjoy my restaurant work and I can't do that if I'm stressed out with co-worker personality clashes or a kitchen that won't cooperate or such a TIDAL WAVE of customers that I can't see straight. And a job with any of these conditions as an ongoing part of the job is just not worth any amount of money to me.

So I'll leave the I-want to-earn-a-pile-of-money-as-quickly-as-possible-and-get-the-hell-out-of-here attitude to the rock star servers with the "sudden death" approach to waiting tables. Robert said there must be restaurants with more of a family orientation, where the restaurant forms a community of people who are focused on serving customers, but not in a turn-and-burn kind of way.

And that's exactly what my job interviewer described tonight. She said they are basing their service on the custom of serving travellers food and treating them as if they were members of the family, VERY different from the downtown lunch rush dynamic. The restaurant also wants to form a family-like community among its staff. I'm home!

Or I'm not, but whether or not this job works out, I'm changing my job search. I'm not even going to consider any more downtown jobs. I want OUT of downtown with it's lunch crush and its maniac restaurant workers. Let me join a staff with something else on its mind besides MAKING MONEY.

Modigli just quit a part-time job that was seriously ruining her quality of life. I think soon it will be time for me to get out of my purgatory, too.

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