It’s a Hard-Knock Life

A lot of things have changed in the recent months at the restaurant I work at.  For the most part, these changes have meant the ‘perks’ of the job have all but dissipated.  When I started working here three-ish years ago, these were the perks:

50% off food/drink for staff plus one

One free drink per shift

Two wait-staff per lunch shift

Three wait-staff on Friday nights

Tip the bartender 10% per drink made, 5% per bottle of wine sold

Bartender only on Fridays and Saturdays

Bottles of house wine $8

Pretty sweet, right?  Here is how things have changed:

50% off food/drink when dining in only (no take-out)

One free glass of wine or domestic beer (Miller Lite or Bud Light)

Three wait-staff per lunch shift

Four wait-staff on Friday nights

Tip the bartender 2.5% of sales, or on average 12% of tips

Bartender on Tuesday through Saturday nights

$10 for a bottle of house wine

In other words, fewer perks, less pay, and the same amount of work (hours).  Some of these changes have bothered me more than others, as could be expected.  But all of them have made it less sweet of a job.  For awhile, this really bothered me.  I wish I could say that this didn’t effect my attitude at work, but I would be lying.  I either resented the amount of my tips that I had to give to the bartender (who is also now the front of house manager, meaning there’s no way of getting around it (also called quid pro quo in a weird way)), or how I was serving fewer tables meaning less opportunity to make money, or that I couldn’t order take-out for myself and my wife because it would be full-price (or way out of my budget range).  All of this on top of the fact that for two solid years we received our tip-checks weekly, and now we are receiving them whenever it is convenient for the owner (sometimes waiting up to two weeks to receive our pay).

However, things aren’t really all that bad.  It’s still a good job, and most of the time that I work I make really good money…despite the increase in staff and the increase in the amount I have to give away.  All in all, I think it has meant I make about $200 less per month.  The hard part about that is that I have not done anything to receive a pay-cut – I still am pretty dang good at my job.

Tonight, I let all of that selfishness go.  I didn’t concern myself with how many people I was serving, how big my tips were, or how much I was going to have to give to my manager.  I simply worked.  I treated everyone with kindness, I had a positive attitude, and I genuinely enjoyed work again.  The best part?  It seemingly paid off.  Aside from the $9 I was shorted by one of my tables (on my tip), I was tipped more than 20% by most of my tables.  I tipped my manager/the bartender (same person) $4 more than I owed him, and I left feeling good about things.

I need to keep this outlook at work, because there isn’t a foreseeable end to my time working part-time at the restaurant.  I’m still in school, and I still don’t have a full-time job.  Work isn’t always going to be full of perks.  Sometimes, it’s just work.  And I get paid.  Life is good, and as long as I remember that, it will remain good.  I’m done with selfishness at work.  I’m ready to serve openly, act kindly, and live my life knowing that I am not the only person on earth that matters.  I guess that’s a good start to the new year.


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