Since my last post about deciding what sort of job to get after ending my internship with Live Nation, and completely freaking out because I don’t have a salary, benefits, or a 401k (are those even important anymore?), I found a job as a server at, Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe.
Now, those who know me best, know that there are somethings I wasn’t born to do. When contemplating what my next move ought to be after ending my internship, I mentioned becoming a nanny. My dear friend Emma flat out told me it was a bad idea. She just kind shook her head and said, “That’s not you.” And she was right, I don’t think I’m very good w/kids or have the patience required for such a feat (thankfully, I still have lots of time before having to have my own!).
So, I got a job at a Rio Grande, where they only hire one in thirty people who come in for an application. Having never been a server, I was surprised I made it through the interviews, but apparently, my “ability to communicate” was the deciding factor that got me the job. Much like the nannying proposition, serving wasn’t really me. I’m clumsy, kinda quirky, and more useful collaborating on a team about marketing proposals than making sure your enchiladas come with green sauce instead of beef sauce.
Regardless, I decided to accept the offer and attend a two week training session that was anything but a walk in the park (only two of the four new hires made it through training). We endured three written menu memorization tests, uniform inspections, and late hours learning to roll silverware and learning table numbers.
I’m not going to lie- becoming a server was h-a-r-d. Physically, it is tiring, mentally it is overwhelming, and emotionally, its draining, because subconsciously, I feel as though I’ve failed- A college graduate working as a waitress. Whenever I drove to the restaurant, I would become overwhelmed and pray that I’d get cut early- I was acting as though this was the hardest thing I had ever faced (not true)!
Feeling this way put a lot of doubt, and surprisingly, arrogance in my demeanor. I began to position myself as someone who thought they were “too good” to be working in a restaurant, and the reality is- I am lucky to have been hired and to have an income in these rough economic times.
Today’s shift started out like all the others, I was nervous and less than thrilled to be there. But then I thought about it…how was I going to get better and feel more comfortable if I continued to allow my disappointment and unease of not being in a permanent position continue to keep me down. So, I decided to “be there, 100%”.
The night started out really slow. I had three tables in two hours, and the first two tables were each single individuals dining alone. While I wasn’t attending to my guests, I forced myself out of my comfort zone and assisted other servers, helped the kitchen manager prepare accompaniments for the entrees, and took it upon myself to get out onto the floor and check-up on tables that didn’t even belong to me.
Towards the end of the night, things were pretty steady and I had a consistent flow of three tables. I was ringing in orders, processing checks, serving food and providing my best hospitality. At one point I was carrying a tray back with two big fajita platters and some side dishes, when I hear a voice behind me say, “Great work girl, keep it up!” I peak back and its a fellow server, who knew I had not started the night out in best of moods. As I approached the kitchen, I pass my floor manager and he also responds with a “good work, girl!”
I felt like I was approaching the end of a marathon and had a nice support team cheering me on. And while, yes, I really hope to be out of this job soon and on to something more permanent, in that moment, I felt contentment for the first time.
Yesterday, Carla of Life Before Noon wrote about how she isn’t supposed to be in grad school, that it wasn’t a part of her life plan. I wholeheartedly agree in her sentiments- I’ve always had a deliberate “life plan” and as I mentioned in my last post– this plan is WAY off track. Carla ends her post with some very simple, but very important reminders. She says:
Life is not a plan.
You make your own opportunities.
Do what you want to do.
Under one rule: Live with passion.
While waiting tables wasn’t on the initial life plan, it’s where life is right now I’m going to be there 100% as I continue to navigate this journey to the next big thig.