“Like I told you, what I said…Steal Your Face right off your head.”He’s Gone – Grateful Dead
Seven of Swords is the theme card for this week. This card depicts a figure heading out with all the swords she can carry while no one is watching. She disappears in the middle of naptime in the afternoon while everyone is safely in their beds. A thief, an apparition – someone who takes what does not belong to them and fades off into the distance.
Working in a Coalmine…Going Down, Down
As some of you may know, I started working at a restaurant a few weeks ago after accepting I could not bring in enough at T313 to pay (all) my bills. Over the summer it was okay because Will helped me out when I was short on money. That was no longer an option for me in August or September – he’s not working because he’s recovering from his surgery.
On August 20th, I began working at a place where I knew I could bring in fast cash: IHOP.
There is no perfect restaurant; every place has its problems. The reason I took this particular job over any other was the manager. I like him. He’s a former Marine and doesn’t fuck around. He’s straight with people about whatever is going on. I respect that. It was definitely him – not the place itself – that drew me to work there.
I’ve worked restaurants on and off for twenty years. I don’t usually thrive in that type of environment because of the high-pressure involved with hard labor and moving quickly with no mistakes. This place is no different. I found myself spiraling into a bipolar episode about two weeks into my employment.
This happened for several reasons:
- I was overscheduled – I worked 60 hours just last week. Way too much for me!!
- We are understaffed, so call-offs fell on my shoulders more than once.
- The girls I work with on certain day shifts don’t do their sidework, leaving me in a bad position as the only server on the floor at night – cleaning up after their messes.
- The manager-in-training (MIT) is a total prick and I want to punch his smug face.
- The assistant manager kept trying to steal my tables, and I had to call him out.
About ten days ago, I found myself becoming extremely agitated with the place. The fact that I was scheduled more than anyone (even management was getting two days off!) really began wearing on me. I only signed up for 30-40 hours a week. I told the boss man when I got hired that I have a side business doing Tarot, and I needed to be available for Will during his recovery. What did I get? Slammed with so many hours I didn’t even have time to think.
At that point, I warned the assistant manager (whom I work with more frequently) I would be looking for another job if things with the schedule do not change. I wanted to tell my manager directly but he hadn’t been around, so I planted the seed with lower management. I told him if I don’t get some down time that I will wind up hospitalized. I know my limits.
He didn’t respond to my concerns, nor did he share them with my upper manager. When the next schedule came out last Sunday, I still had six days on there, including one double shift. I didn’t have a chance to talk to the boss again, he was gone all week for some reason.
Seven of Swords-ing My Tables
Last Wednesday night, I worked with the assistant manager once again. He kept trying to take tables that he didn’t need to take, in the name of helping me out. Funny, he only wants to “help me out” with the tables he thinks will tip well. Everyone else can wait. Yes, you read that right – if a manager picks up a table at my restaurant, it becomes theirs and they keep the tip. This is fine when we are busy. However, if I don’t need you to pick up a table for me, you need to back off – you make a salary, motherfucker!
This guy actually had the nerve to accuse me of stealing his table that night. I had only one active table in the restaurant. He seated a new table and got their drinks. When he went to answer the phone, I took their order. While I was ringing it in, he approached me about it.
Him: “You took my table…”
Me: “Technically, you took my table, since I’m the server.”
Him: “I was just trying to help you out.”
Me: “Well, why don’t you ask me to see if I need your help before you assume I need it.”
Moral of the story: Don’t steal from me, asshole!
Although he backed off from taking my tables after that incident, the little remarks did not stop. Since I started there, every time I had a tip over 40% on a credit card, I had to get manager approval, and he would make a comment about it. “Good for you,” and nonsense like that. Passive-aggressive bullshit.
Hey Bud, if you are jealous of my tips, maybe you should become a server instead of managing. I promise you, though, you will not make the money I do. People love me because I take good care of them. It’s easy to give good service when you only pick up a few tables here and there. Now, making good tips consistently every night, that’s much harder!
Seven of Swords-ing the Restaurant
By Friday 9/10, I was completely on edge. I had gone past the point of no return (mentally) and I knew it. I called off that day to let them know I could not make it in. I felt like I was going to blow my top if I went in, and it would not end well. Once again, I know my limits.
No one responded to my texts to see if I was okay, or what was wrong. I felt slighted; I care about others so much, but no one even gave a shit to see what was going on with me. They know I have a brother who killed himself. They also know I have mental health problems. Not one person checked in.
Yesterday, I did a reading at T313 before I was supposed to go into IHOP at 2pm. My reading told me to cut things off. I decided to tell them I would not be coming back.
I know, I should not quit a job without another one lined up, but it felt like life or death at that moment. I texted the assistant manager a meme which stated that hurtful joking, even between friends, can only be funny for so long.
The meme was directed at him, as a way for him to understand that his little running commentary about my tips was not funny to me. He didn’t get the hint. He shared it with boss, who promptly called me. I did not answer. Three times they called, no answer.
Finally, the Boss texted me and said he deserves an explanation. I agreed, so I responded and explained that I was burned out, the MIT is a POS, and the assistant manager has been trying to steal tables from me. He was surprised to hear about the assistant manager, he said he thought we got along. I told him we do get along, but the passive-aggressive remarks are really pissing me off. Every time he makes a comment, it detracts from our relationship. It’s unprofessional and uncalled-for.
Side note: If I am making *fat* tips, it’s a reflection of my excellent service and nothing else. You should be glad for me, not jealous.
Ultimately, the Boss convinced me to come back to the restaurant, with fewer hours. I will have to make sure the snide little comments are put to rest – Queen of Swords, here – because I know they will not stop otherwise. Hopefully, I will not have to work quite so many shifts with him in the future, but I know it’s up to me to call him out when we do.
Many (Happy?) Returns
I’m going back to work today; I have a conversation scheduled with the boss to talk things out. My last blog post discussed talking things through without emotional attachment. I knew that I was not in a place to do that yesterday or Friday. My brain had been hijacked by my amygdala. (Seven of Swords, again.)
We’ll see if this is going to work out. I don’t know right now, and that’s okay. They need me much more than I need them, so if things don’t change, I’m out.
P.S. In case you don’t know yet: It’s not that people don’t want to work anymore – it’s that we don’t want to put up with bullshit.