There’s this thought that has been racing through and around my head like a maniac on wheels. It hasn’t been affecting me emotionally or physically, but it has been messing with my mind. I’m curious. Stunned, even. And yes…shocked and appalled at times.
Apparently, I’m a bitch.
Back in high school, I pretty much kept to myself and the same little group of friends, so I never experienced it there. So I guess it all started when I become a hostess at the restaurant I now work in. The first two years that I worked weekends seemed to fly by and suddenly I was thrown into a full time position and dubbed “Head Hostess” which meant that I would do all the training of the newly hired hostesses, create the schedule, and make sure everything ran smoothly with all the reservations. Plus, anything else the owner could find for me to do (making calls, typing up menus, etc). I was proud of myself for getting this position since it meant management had more faith in me and I had more control over how things were run at the front of the house.
I’ll tell you now, I don’t think I let it get to my head. I’m not the type of person to act all crazy and start firing people or yelling and screaming at them with my new found phenomenal cosmic powers! All I did was tell the hostesses to work when they weren’t working. Which makes sense, right? That and informing them when they did something wrong (just as the managers told me to do). I was given permission to lead the pack, so to say, and the others didn’t understand why I was suddenly the one in charge. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo.
The problem here is that the employees who didn’t work well thought that I was – well, a bitch. They’d say things like “Marie, who cares if I didn’t take down the phone number for this reservation? It’s not the end of the world.” They’d roll their eyes at me, be all defensive about it, or trash talk me to the other employee for pointing out their mistakes. “Marie, why are you so hard on us? They’re just little mistakes.” they’d say. Why, you ask? Because that’s not the way it’s done. These girls they’re so nonchalant about their “jobs” that any strict rules or guidelines are a waste of their times, and I had no problem repeating the same things over and over to them until they finally got it….or quit. Honestly, that’s not my fault.
Every Staff Christmas Party since then, someone has approached me in a drunken state and informed me that they thought I was a real bitch. That it seemed as if I didn’t like them, or acted like I didn’t give a damn about them. I was speechless. What do you say to someone who approaches you like that? What I did was say that it’s all business. I explained that sometimes, when I’m focused on the task at hand, my face looks stern only because I’m concentrating. I can’t concentrate with a huge smile on my face (I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either) and as I’m trying to remember things I can’t always answer your questions or I’ll forget what I’m supposed to be doing.
There’s a fine line there, though. A lot of my coworkers believe we should be more like friends, but when there’s a job to do you have to be more professional about it. That’s where people start to think I’m a cold-hearted bitch. They don’t realize that yes, I do like them as a person, but we’re at work and we’re here to work. Not to socialize.
At this year’s staff party (I am currently working as a waitress now), a hostess approached me with the same feelings. She thought that I hated her as a person. No, no! I told her. You’re a really sweet girl. I felt so bad. When did doing your job properly and making sure things are done right become a trait that makes you look mean or cruel? Are they just mixing up the professional and personal? Or am I really too much of a perfectionist about everything that it makes people feel like shit?
A few days later, a waiter asked if I had time for a chat in the parking lot as I was about to head home for the night. He said, “You know, Marie, I was talking with J before and asked him which coworkers were his favorite. He mentioned you and I thought ‘you’re right, she’s really nice’ . Then I remembered that when I first started working here, I thought you didn’t like me. I thought you were really stuck up. But now, I see you’re here to do your job, and you do it well. I really respect you for that. Since I realized that, I’ve come to know that you’re a good person too. I just thought you should know that.”
I was thankful for his comment, since he could see the difference between doing your job and being there to socialize. What I also took away from that moment was the fact that I must come off a little too strong on new employees, but I’m not sure if I can change that. I don’t know if I should change. I’m not mean to people, I don’t swear at them or call them stupid, but when people mess up and don’t do their jobs because they don’t care and are lazy…well it does drive me a little crazy. I’ll keep away from them and not get too chummy. Is that wrong? Is it wrong to not want to be all smiley and friendly with people who don’t take any pride in the work they do?
The managers asked me the other day if I would retrain all the hostesses because they have really started to slip. They don’t take their jobs seriously and make so many mistakes that it’s getting to a point where it’s getting completely out of hand. I agreed. I was glad that they thought I would be the best person to train them, even thought I haven’t been a hostess for 2 years. They know I’ll train them…and train them well. A hostess the other day came up to me and said that she wished I were still a hostess so things would be back to normal. I was touched. A waitress said to me yesterday “Marie, all the customers seem like you and are so nice to you. How do you do it?”. My response was that I just smile, and smiling makes all the difference. I didn’t add that actually taking pride in your work and being genuinely concerned for your guests experience helps a hell of a lot. I didn’t want to offend her by that remark.
After comments like that, I’ve come to realize that maybe I shouldn’t care so much what people think. Of course, if I were going out of my way to be a bitch to people, then I would have to stop and reevaluate my life and my character, but I’m not. I’m just there to be the best employee I can be. If people are offended by that and if they feel intimidated that I do my best to make sure everything is done properly, then there isn’t much I can do to change how they are feeling.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything. I make mistakes. I forget things. But I honestly and truly care about everything I do and I can’t stress that enough. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy my job. I don’t just shrug things off and say “It’s not the end of the world” . I take pride in my work and I think that’s extremely important and also lacking my “line of work”.
You think I’m a bitch? Please…take a closer look.
(Okay, so maybe it is affecting me a little bit emotionally)
See you tomorrow morning!