Yes, yes, I love my job. Yes, yes, I love everyone I work with. Yes, yes, it’s all perfect. Everyone is just super. 🙂
Oh, please. Really. After almost three months here, um, no. 90 percent is great, 10 percent is not so great. Now, that ratio is still pretty damn decent. But the 10 percent is a very big pain in my you-know. And, at my current job, the annoying stuff is occurring for such perplexing reasons.
I work with three managers on a regular basis. Two are those with whom I would consider myself to be a peer; and they would tell you, I am absolutely a peer. One is a woman I will be replacing when she moves away in a month or so. Another is an old-salt maitre d’ who drives my GM crazy, but with whom I get along incredibly, suprisingly well.
The third is also a peer, at least in my mind, but he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that I am. I am, instead, in his mind, “Just a hostess” because we are down three hostesses right now, and I work the door as a host, many nights out of seven, to help out.
“Just a hostess.” Isn’t that a nice phrase? No, it is not. It oozes thoughts that are both demeaning and degrading. And I used to like this guy, whom I am sure thinks these thoughts, most of all. Now, I just hope he quits. Soon.
Of all the restaurant jobs, the host position is both key and the hardest to fill and keep filled. Hosts come and go through a revolving door of sore feet that refuse to wear flats, of guests who ask to switch tables one too many times, of servers who bitch a thousand too many times that they were sat unfairly, of maitre d’s who blame hosts for their own incompetence, and of the last person who calls them “the girl” or “she” as if she has no name, because you are, after all, just a hostess.
Yeah, so what’s the big deal? All a host/hostess does is seat people. How hard could it be?
Hard enough to have guests grab you, throw things at you, spank you, curse at you, laugh at you at your expense. Hard enough to have the servers call you an idiot, a jerk, a brainless one, and anything else they can think of while not serving the guests you just seated in their section. Hard enough to be the fall guy or gal for anyone and anything that can’t be blamed on anyone else. And you rarely, if ever, get tipped for this.
Interestingly, I love the host job. Seriously, I do. Because it is the role I was given when I re-entered this biz more than two years ago, and I absolutely love the challenge and the brisk pace. Most of all, I love the few moments to connect with guests who tell me this is where they went on a first date with their wife, got engaged, sealed a business deal, had the best meal ever, made a life-changing decision. People tell hosts these things every night. A good host will actually listen to them, remember them.
The way guests see it at my restuarant, I, the host, am mostly on their side. The maitre d’, they quickly deduce, is not. Why? I don’t wear the tie, I don’t assign the table, and I am not the one to tell them there’s an hour wait. I agree that another table will work better, I explain the menus I hand out, I smile. I smile and I mean it. Because guests have to cross a lot of lines to get me upset enough to not smile.
This one co-worker, however, the other manager–well, he can make me want to scream and cry all at the same time, with an intensity that no guest or server or GM ever could. I used to smile with him. Now I grit my teeth at him. He has dug himself a black hole these past few months, and while I empathize with the black-hole thing, because I have lived it first-hand, I am tired of the arrogance he employs to mask it.
I am tired of him pointing to the phone for me to answer it, while he silently stares straight ahead. I am tired of him saying, “Yes, you can show them the private rooms, but get back here quickly,” when guests ask me about private events–a job I was, as he knows, hired to do. I am tired of him screwing up cover counts and blaming me for not seating the right tables, even though I seat every damned table just as he calls them out. I am tired of him calling out tables as if he is telling a dog to sit. I am very, very tired of him.
I also feel so sorry for him. He is in personal crisis. And I get personal crisis, especially his. I could be an empathetic ear, a sounding board. I could be his friend. I could help him professionally in his next step; I could be an older, wiser pal who knows what the nightmare feels like, and how the other side will eventually play out.
Too bad he won’t let me. Alas, I am, after all, just a hostess, every time I work the door with him. Which is the only time I work with him.
Sometimes people in pain have to inflict pain on all those around them, even when they have no clue that they do so.
More than one person recently commented on RG that my being an empath makes me extra prone to being hurt by those I work with. By those I like.
I hate it when my readers know more than I do before I know it.