Breathe, Just Breathe

To observe that the past few days have been a roller-coaster experience would be the understatement of the week.

Will I be “talked to” about something else I’ve done wrong or not enough of? Will I have to keep begging for private party menus and details to send to people so I can really sell our place, or should I just give it up and learn to run food?

Will I be fired?

Right, not too positive. And yet, if I had to rank Tuesday and Wednesday (recognizing that Monday sucked about as much as any Monday can), I would label Tuesday as neutral and today as, well, okay. Dare I admit it, almost good.

Problem is, I now constantly wait for that other shoe to drop. Will it, won’t it, when will it, how will it feel?

So how good can good really be under that shadow?

Here’s what is good, though. The second “real” private dinner I booked went okay. Not great, but okay, which in my mind is great because it was the first of a kind for us, because of the large number of people.

They spent a lot of money, had a blast, loved their server (who is so wonderful), and asked about hosting even larger events with us in the future. Cha-ching.

The kitchen kind of fast-forwarded their meal, which was not so great. But I don’t think the table noticed, and we all hung in there.

Um, and yeah, I ran some food and cleared plates, and all that. OKAY??? Guess that begins to prove my worth at some level to someone.

The undermining coworker chilled a tad. But when I couldn’t find my file on this party, and then suddenly found it in a bizarre spot on top of the file cabinet, I did wonder–for just a brief second–how that had happened, then blamed myself for living in a fog the past few days.

And I dealt with Open Table tangles without asking anyone how to do it, I interviewed some potential hires, I worked on schedules with my GM, and, oh yeah, did my best at writing up and presenting a proposal to a group that may buy out the house next month. That got everyone excited when they ran the numbers. Suddenly I had menus and bar pricing and whatever the hell else I needed.

So, might it be possible that someone thought, “Gee, this private party chick isn’t such a deadbeat after all.”

After all, she did run some food and clear plates tonight….

Breathe in. Breathe out. Day by day.

I have absolutely no clue what is next.






13 responses to “Breathe, Just Breathe”

  1. The Merry Rose Avatar

    RG – I hope it all goes really well for you. You are a pro, and that person who is trying to be nasty will have it returned to them. You have proved your worth otherwise your GM would have you around anymore. New jobs always take time to settle into. As you said – “Breathe in, Breathe out, Day by day.” You will make it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Aaron DeLay Avatar

    It’s not a job without the adventure…:)

  3. Duckie Avatar

    Hang in there!

  4. David Avatar

    Just a gentle criticism (from a chef and 15 year restaurant professional), because I like your blog generally, but in a restaurant nobody is “above” any job. Even clearing plates and running food. I don’t know if that’s the way you intend for it to sound, but the last two posts have been very sarcastic about that part of the job, as if you’re far above that menial sort of labor. If that is the way you feel about it, I might understand why some of your co-workers are grumbling. I run my own restaurant, and occasionally I go out to the dining room for some reason or another (usually to talk to a diner), and, you know what, if there’s food to be run, I run it. If I spy a table with empty plates, I clear them. There is nothing more aggravating to a chef than FOH staff who feel like they are “above” any part of the job. I even have to do dishes sometimes. This is what we do in this industry.
    Keep up the good work, though, and, although this might have seemed like a harsh comment, I mean it in the most constructive sense.

  5. Zazzy Avatar

    I always count on 6 months to adjust to a new job. There’s a lot involved – and most of it really doesn’t have much to do with how you are doing your job. In your case, everyone there is doing this same balancing act. It’s got to be really stressful.

    I only know you from what I read here, but you seem to be a strong, resourceful person. I suspect you will make it through this. I hope that everything around you settles down soon.

  6. LB Avatar

    I haven’t gotten the feeling that you feel you are “above” running food, just that you feel like it’s the only type of activity that anyone notices when you do it. You just have to hang in there though, Duckie’s right. When I first started working full-time at my job, I was positive that they were going to replace me at any moment. Here I am, 9 months later and I’ve made this place my home. Just keep heading down the road that you’re on, because I really think that you’re on the right one.

  7. Mary Dee Avatar
    Mary Dee

    I’m not in the restaurant biz, but I agree with LB’s comment; I’ve “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” as to perceptions from supervisors (I don’t call them “superiors” because sometimes they aren’t, but I do recognize them as supervisors). Whomever you were criticized by may have a different perception about what you “should” be doing. I think rounding up private parties, etc., shows a lot of initiative as well as a belief in the new restaurant and it’s a pity that it may not be recognized by the supervisor-type. Please do hang in there for some more time. Keep booking the parties! Good luck to you.

  8. Suz Avatar

    I agree. I didn’t take it as RG is “above” doing waiting duties, but that as LB and Mary Dee said, it is what seems to get the attention of those above her. But then, therein lies the problem with communicating via the typed word. We do so miss those little nuances in the inflected meaning, don’t we? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I understand the tight rope RG walks in her daily routine…and I think she will reach the other side very, verrry proud of herself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Restaurant Gal Avatar

    David–I really appreciate the comment, and I get what you are getting at. What this tells me, however, is that my writing is not as sharp as it could/should be, or else you wouldn’t have picked up on that as my feeling superior. The reality is, my GM set out very clear goals for me, knowing my background and experience. “Play to our strengths the first month, and gain skills we need to know along the way.” Which is exactly what I have been doing. At my first restaurant job after my career switch, I was “thrown to the wolves” to hack it. I panicked, had second thoughts, all that. At about the three-week mark, I chilled a little. Then, at the 6-week mark, I got it. Totally. And never looked back.

    Really and truly never looked back.

    Until now.

    Not since the bad office days of a few jobs ago have I encountered the poison in a coworker that I have now. He is gunning for me and I am not sure why; we could all compliment each other in so many ways.

    But he has fed Chef a steady pablum of my ineptness, my lack of worth, etc., and it began to sink in with Chef. Really? Yes. The Gal just knows. And just when I was feeling comfortable with the touching tables thing beyond talk.

    Bottom line, I hear you, and i promise you these “chores” are merely used to illustrate a point: I am running as fast as I can, and doing the best I can.

    Thanks for your honest thoughts. I very much appreciate them.

    Best, The Gal

  10. Jess Avatar

    RG, I see David’s point, but what your poisonous co-worker isn’t keeping in mind is that running food and clearing tables? NOT WORTH THE SALARY YOU ARE EARNING. That is why the restaurant has food runners, bussers and waiters. If the need for the manager to do those things constantly is so dire, it’s time to reconsider the restaurants staffing because apparently someone else isn’t doing their job well.

    You were hired for a specific skill set and you might gently try to remind the powers that be of that. Not all managers are created equal- some are better at certain things than others, that’s why you have a team.

    I hope things take a turn for the better, but do try and be proactive (don’t you just hate that word?) about bettering your reputation. If it turns out that you get fired, at least it would be nice to have the comfort of knowing that you fought the good fight.

    Best of luck!

  11. David Avatar

    Thanks for the comments and clarification; Like I said, I certainly didn’t think you were being “above the job,” just that I could see how it might come across as that.
    As I know, restaurants, especially high-stakes ones such as yours seems to be, can be high-pressure, low reward places in which one poisonous personality can ruin it for everybody. I’m sorry you have to deal with that. I worked my way through many fine dining places in a big city for a few years, and there was always one or two of those types lurking around, trying to find fault with anything I did. (That might explain the stints at the dish machine!). And sometimes, unfortuantely, Chefs can be very oblivious to what goes on outside the kitchen, and rely on somebody to give them the “lowdown” – and then accept that person’s version of events as gospel. After dealing with that in several restaurants I decided that once I had my own place I was going to be bound and determined to keep up on every facet of the place, from the Kitchen to the Res book to the nuts and bolts stuff (like how to fix the compressors on the cooler or the hinges on the bathroom doors). It’s too bad your Chef chooses not to take the same tack, and I’m sorry you have become the target of his wrath. Hopefully it gets better for you; I would hate for you to get such a negative impression of fine-dining (or an exciting new restaurant) because of such narrow-mindedness and petty meanness. Good Luck. And enjoy your birthday!

  12. Mary Dee Avatar
    Mary Dee

    Re: But he has fed Chef a steady pablum of my ineptness, my lack of worth, etc., and it began to sink in with Chef. Really? Yes. The Gal just knows. And just when I was feeling comfortable with the touching tables thing beyond talk.

    I worked with two people like that; it’s disconcerting, especially when you know “DA BOSS” buys totally into what that person is saying. When we were told we were getting a new “DA BOSS”, I happened to run into someone who knew him — I just asked if the new “DA BOSS” formed his own opinions and was told “yes” — that really helped my comfort level. Interestingly enough, one of the aforementioned people married the first “DA BOSS”… Hmmmmmmmmmm…

    Oh, and the second aforementioned person went to another department and really wanted to be involved in the selection process for his replacement with the second “DA BOSS”; he wasn’t. That made me feel better.

    I was just stubborn enough not to give up, because I knew I had the skills and I did other stuff to help out. Keep the faith and enjoy the visits!

  13. Jenni Avatar

    I really wish I could offer some advise.. but alas, all I have is encouragement.

    keep breathing, keep knowing who you are and what you know. YOU are The Restaraunt Gal… and not a deadbeat after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

    have an awesome birthday =)