Swan Songs Not Quite Sung

“At least one of our employees got a compliment for making a difference for two of our guests,” said the biggest of the management trifecta early on my last day last week. Thank you, RG.”

Oh for God’s sake.

“This is our new manager, RG,” smiled the second biggest of the management trifecta later on my last day. “And this is RG,” he said, introducing me to the new manager, “Who we are so very sorry to see leave us.”

Huh? Sorry to see the gal go who couldn’t hack food prep and who could never seem to sell enough food to keep you and the rest of the trifecta happy? Sorry to see the gal go who garnered nothing but complaints from the three of you, well, until a couple of guests complemented me?

“Do I need to talk her into staying?” asked the confident new manager.

We all awkwardly laughed.

“So what happened?” asked the new manager a few minutes later, when it was just the two of us surveying a slow-for-the-moment lounge on my last day.

“Wait a half hour, and you’ll see,” I laughed, because it was easy to sustain laughter on my last day.

And when a half hour passed, almost to the second, the new manager cornered me in the kitchen while I was frantically tossing lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers onto a plate.

“What the hell are you doing back here and not serving behind your bar?” he asked, incredulous.

“This,” I smiled, “Is exactly what happened.”

He was dumfounded.

“No, no, no,” he scolded me. “You stay behind the bar and I’ll prep and run all your food. How can a bartender be in the kitchen doing all this and still do her job as a bartender?”

No kidding.

To be fair, my wonderful former manager felt the same way, and he always helped me as much as he could, until room service weeds grew thick and tangled as the restaurant staff hacked through their own tables’ brambles and vines. Then it was back to ladling soup and plating desserts–complete with fruit and whipped cream garnish–for this gal. And yet, something was very different about this new guy’s attitude. Something commanding. Something certain. Something I wish I’d known was about to land on my floor before I gave my notice and accepted a job that required carrying trays of eggs that I was sure I would drop on day one.

On my last day, I sold enough. On my last day, I garnered a few more “excellent” comment cards. On my last day, I worked with a manager who not only got it, he acted upon it 100 percent.


Background checks and drug tests passed and accounted for, I start the new job tomorrow. But my new manager on my last day of my old job asked me to come in tonight “to help out for a few hours.” Which I did, of course. Because gaps between hospitality jobs–even a week–mean no income for days, which is followed by the dreaded “training” period, which means a meager income for more days, at best, and zero tips.

Swan songs aren’t always sung in perfect harmony. Sometimes, you just have to hum along for a bit, and hope your voice is heard during an instant replay.







7 responses to “Swan Songs Not Quite Sung”

  1. Jenni G Avatar
    Jenni G

    Ahh, the restaurant industry. Isn’t that the way it always goes. I wish you the best of luck in your new job!

  2. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    Jenni G–Many thanks. I have so many on-call bartending jobs, if two would just call more often, I could ditch the new egg-slinging gig!

  3. Mary Avatar

    But my new manager on my last day of my old job asked me to come in tonight “to help out for a few hours.”

    OKAY – I do understand the economics, having been there in a different context – but they won’t remember what you did to help them out. Sometimes it’s more satisfying to “just say no”… Good wishes for the next job 🙂

  4. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    Mary–It wasn’t at all about hoping they’d remember I helped them out; it was, however, all about the money and working again with the new guy to see if my first impression was accurate. He’ll likely call me in a few times a week, which is fine. Thanks for the good wishes. Stay tuned for the next round.

  5. joeinvegas Avatar

    Better to have a backup job to fill in the slow times. Hope it all works out.

  6. Angie Avatar

    They will most likely run this new manager off too. Best of luck in the new job!

  7. jali Avatar

    Sending you a big hug!