As RedLegg is expanding and growing with different generations and kinds of people I’m feeling the need to reflect of my first job experience. Note this is not my first job out of college, but when I was 15 years old in high school.
All job experiences matter and build and grow you somehow.
My dad drove me and it was during summer break of my junior year of high school. I was immediately excited to learn the menu and to work and serve. The pay was $2.25/hour with tips. A paycheck was not the motivation for the job (good thing) but instead a want to make a paycheck rather chores around the house.
Sure, I babysat but I was doing that at people’s houses and I wanted a work environment. Soon discovered that a work environment was a little over rated. The kitchen had a strong fake clean odor and there was a dirty mop sitting in a bucket of dirty water. The manager was an angry 40 plus year old woman and I wanted to learn from her but also knew to stay out of her way. I was nervous about all of the mistakes I was going to make.
Each dinner came with a salad but wanted to make sure the lettuce was good. Sometimes the lettuce in the back did not look so good so I took the better lettuce from salad bar. I needed to pretend the managers were not rolling their eyes at me so I could function and focus on my tables.
Every Day Was Different
People had very interesting needs and interests. No we did not have beef stew, no we did not have lobster.
The different people were challenging but fun to see what they were exactly looking for with their Big Boy experience.
If I was there for years or months it may get boring filling up those salt and pepper shakers and ketchups etc. But it was different for me and people and there outings were fun to be a part of.
A table of 60 + people arrived and all the veteran waitresses were all off that day. Very excited and I knew I would be able to knock this out. I did deliver, I promise. Nothing was missed.
After I was done splitting all their checks and they left, I was cleaning their table and noticed a pile of pennies and a note that said "Tip: Do not swim with sharks." Ouch. Maybe I was not so great. Maybe I did something wrong. I don’t think I did but that note did change me.
Because of that note, I thought a little different with new people coming in. I still did the best that I could with the food and the salad and I was going to try to make it the best for them.
For the most part people were happy and I got a lot of thanks and smiles and I felt good out on the floor. However, the manager lady was always mad at me and when familiar people came back she made sure they went to her section instead. That is fine, I get it. It is her thing.
Because of that manager I started to harden up a bit. Ok so this is how it is outside of babysitting. Don’t be sad, deal and make the most of it. Don’t take anything personal, keep trying to make good salads, make sure good food goes out to my tables and make sure to ask good questions to the customers so they get what they want.
I wanted more. I’m not sure exactly what more but it was no longer the best experience for me. It was nothing concrete or life changing just that I no longer wanted to be there.
A table had finished their dinner and ordered 7 chocolate milk shakes. I went to the back made my best milkshakes ever.
Then I brought the shakes to the table and then walked out the front door.
Did not occur to me until 10+ years later I never got that monthly paycheck. But what I did get is that the working world was a little tougher than I thought.
But was Big Boy a representation of the entire world? Nah. Just one small experience.
I learned that it is important to embrace each experience like it is the most important thing in your life. Treat each customer like this is the last person that you will be serving. It is very easy to call out people that don’t care or are just going through the motions like my old manager.
I don’t want to be that cranky manager but still have the excitement and motivation of that 15-year-old kid. It is not too hard to do.