Doesn’t it ever seem that the more work you put into something, the higher the benchmark is set for your achievements? I feel that this is what is happening to me at work. I’ve managed to become one of the most diligent workers at my workplace, and although people who work with me also have the capacity to do what I do, I don’t see anyone else actually doing it– so I don’t know if whether I’m conceited about my work or I just happen to generate a lot of comments from the customer base. Maybe I put way too much passion into what others would consider a terrible job.
I remember one day, my shift supervisor was having a hard day, or a bad day– you never can tell with this person. Anyhow, s/he tells me that if I don’t pick up the pace of my work that I’ll get written up. The next day, I amped my speed up and the shift supervisor took notice about it. Later on, at the next “bread bash” (what used to be a quarterly meeting regarding up-and-coming menu items and recognizing employees for their achievements, et al [which I’ll not go into]) I was presented with a WOW! pin to tack to my hat. The reason for it was “fastest improvement of an employee.” It seems one can get a WOW! pin for just about anything, but perhaps it was more to not let me feel left out because all the coworkers whom had been hired alongside me also got themselves some WOW! pins. From that day, I continually worked my way into a routine which was befitting me, and now I’m really able to enjoy speaking with the customers for a bit regarding their meals and even shoot a breeze or two with some regulars because I’ve mastered my particular position.
Well, it seems that the hard work I was putting in wasn’t going noticed because I was beginning to feel myself in a rut from which there was no escape. Washing hundreds of dishes in a day while cleaning 31 tables (7 of which are dedicated booths, 5 of which are combination booths and free-standing chairs, and the remaining 19 solely tables, arranged meticulously at 45-degree angles with chairs turned at 45 degrees to allow for maximum walking space)(Yes, I’ve been there too long. This is what the post is about, after all), re-stocking condiments and dry goods to include small, medium, and large-sized lids, three sugar substitutes, two different types of packet sugars, salt, pepper, mayonnaise with olive oil, mustard, spicy mustard, Tabasco sauce, butter, honey and lemons for tea, straws, napkins, drink stirring sticks, coffee lids, and coffee sleeves– as well as brewing four different coffees once per hour, two at a time only, three different iced teas and one iced coffee– and topping off with actually filling a sink with the water that you need to wash four different sizes of bowls (two dedicated to soups and two dedicated to salads, one of the salad bowls being used for broth bowls), large trays, small yellow trays dedicated to pastries, knives, forks, spoons, and a plethora of pans provided by the line people, silicone or rubber spatulas, scoops with the little swingy arm thingy, souffle pans, cookie sheets, whisks, and and assortment of non-serrated chef knives and serrated knives– seems like a lot to memorize for a 6-hour shift and can easily lead to burnout, exhaustion, and irritable moods. But hey, $Dollars an hour seems like it’s worth all the while. This last “bread bash” they recognized my achievements with dining room etiquette, customer service, and I suppose a whole host of comments in favor of my working habits by customers. And it does hang on the wall at this moment.
But if it wasn’t making me feel an eternal sense of entrapment in time, where all of the same exact routine-driven drivel seems to always await me every time I clock in, and impending doom every time I see an irate manager or shift supervisor seems to surge from within on a nearly daily basis, then I would not be sitting here talking about it. For you see, I’m what they call a “human being.” We’re a species that has limits! Recently, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to– nay, today I was HIRED. Screw it, it’s out on the plate now. I am going to my orientation this Monday and Tuesday. They called me after an intensive background check (military base jobs for civilians can be very thorough) showed that I am as clean as a whistle and ready to be trained. What I’m going to do is ensure that I balance working between the two places. Anyhow, back to my human comment– I’m always scheduled to do the exact same job. I’ve reached the limits of all that is exciting in that area of expertise. Whenever they do have me work somewhere else, the manager always says, “You did a good job today. Why don’t you do this more often?” Oh, well maybe if you talked to the schedule-writing person I could. They won’t even let me train for cashier even though I always beat everyone at counting change before they have a chance to push their buttons to give me the purchase total for lunches (Hey, 65% discount! Can’t really beat that perk).
I know I may be getting into a bit of exhaustive life changes by sacrificing a weekend, but at least I’ll be doing something with myself– but ultimately, I’m aiming my perspective towards a greater-paying job that is less physically stressful and more mentally stressful. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how things are turning out for me, and a low-paying job without benefits is not a future. That is not a sustainable way of life. Knowing my skills in typing were at least enough to submit my typing test to a recent job opening as an Office Assistant, I went ahead and applied for that job last week. The day before the position closed, I took my state typing test and scored 50 WPM at 95% accuracy. Their minimum was 35 WPM.
Some of you may be shaming employees in the workforce who are in menial grunt jobs and always feel that they’re not motivated enough to do anything else. This can’t necessarily be true because I have an image to keep up, and although I work in the restaurant business at the lowest pay for my region and have worked these types of jobs in the past for a majority of my life, I’ve always known that I am far too intelligent for such degrading work– but until recently, I never really saw where my greatest potential lie until I started my Morning Pages routine a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a matter of intelligence, it’s about providing a working environment for many different walks of life. I’m not suited for engineering work and somehow my ASVAB scored me strongest in engineering. Years later I would find out that I don’t have knowledge of advanced mathematics (read: algebra), and this would get in the way of my access to even an Associate’s Degree.
I sometimes wonder why we even have schooling when none of it pertains to actual education in financial matters, business, or arts and music, unless it’s an “elective” class or you go out of your way to find educational institutions which specialize in this type of work. Go to school and get a job? It’s far too generalized when we don’t even always know the best way to teach a child because they don’t know the style of learning they know. I blame television, games, and instant gratification practices. That’s just me and my opinion, but those who agree would be on what I feel is the right track towards reforming the education system.
So, wrapping things up here– not everyone in the lowly fast food job sector looks forward to staying there forever. Because our education system is so screwy, I find that many people simply stay put out of sheer fear for difficulty, or wish to remain in their comfort zones for an extended period of time. I’m only waiting until a new, higher-paying job opportunity comes along, and feel that many are also awaiting the same things. Some people are naturally suited for business ownership, teaching, music, writing, video editing, typist work, philosophy– and some people are naturally suited to accepting what’s given to them and stick to it just because it’s a job. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel that my time for food working has come to an end. I need a more meaningful job, and I’m searching around until it comes along. But I’ll also not stop and settle either. I’m needing access to more money to pay for bills and make it easier for me to discover a hobby which I can turn into a specialization. I feel that a handcrafted item for Christmas is better than anything made in China purchased at a chain store, and that I can actually benefit from creativity– not in the financial sense, but in the sense of well-being and goodwill.
Right. Now go out and celebrate Halloween if I don’t see you here before! And as always, until the next time I show up to write here,