Because pg 4 8-8-19

Category: Current Issue

Because I Had To      Have “Fun”!

I have been working in the restaurant business, in one way or another, since I was a teenager.  I have washed dishes, waitressed, cooked, bartended, managed and owned.  Over the decades, customers have asked me questions ranging from “Will you be the mother of my children?” (in my youthful bartending days) to, more recently, “What are the specific ingredients in this particular mustard?” (in todays’ growing food sensitivities population).

Bottom line, I have enough experience in the restaurant business to understand that, just when I think I’ve seen and heard it all, I KNOW that I haven’t!  I enjoy my job and the unknown is what keeps it challenging and always, interesting.  The biggest misconception, however, about working in a restaurant, is that it is FUN!

Typically, people go to restaurants to celebrate something, even if it is simply that they don’t have to cook.  Going out for an anniversary dinner or party is fun and because the guests are having fun, they assume that everyone helping to make their experience enjoyable is having fun, too.

When I was in college, I worked one day a week.  Of course, that one day started at 10:30 a.m., waitressing through lunch and dinner and then switching over to bartending until 2 a.m.  It was a long day of hard work, but I earned in tips, in that one day, almost double the amount of some of my friends who worked 20 hours in a mall.

During those days, I ran around in ultra-hot kitchens, at cheetah-like speeds, making sure that the right guests had the right food at the right time.  I burnt my hands and fingers on plates that were too hot to carry.  I had trays of drinks spilled on me because a customer decided to get up quickly, without looking.  I stocked food and supplies and picked up crumbs and washed glasses by the hundreds.  And today, the work still feels like the same. 

In my field, guests having FUN is the mark for success and I love my job because I get to help bring joy to people, but if I am any good at all at my job, FUN is the last thing I have.

A few weeks ago, I met one of our happy party-goers as I was coming out of the bathroom after having just washed and bandaged a cut I had sustained on my finger after picking up the pieces of a broken glass I discovered on a shelf.  I was approaching hour 14 of my day and my feet were throbbing.  My cleverly concealed back was dripping with sweat and I still had to redo a schedule to accommodate a sick employee.  The cheerful party goer hugged me and thanked me for making it such a fun party and then said “I want your job.  It’s so much fun!”  I smiled warmly at him and thought to myself, ‘another job well done.’

Party! Party!

Kathy Naumann, possessor of NATURALLY curly hair and the understanding that you can’t control everything!