Something I don’t write about much is my job in hospitality. I’m an assistant manager in an up market burger place. There are times when I often say “I wish I had a crystal ball” and some days that would be super handy. I’d love a crystal ball just to know if it was going to be busy or not so I could perhaps go on my break without 30 people coming in or know how much bread to order. But I don’t have a crystal ball and I probably never will because they only really exist in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
If I had a crystal ball before starting this job I would of been able to see:
- That there would be times I’d significantly stuff up with important orders
- That I’d have customers argue, rant, rave and slam doors at me
- That I’d hear all matter of poor excuses to the point some of them are funny
- That some days it takes all my energy just to be there and everyone wants to know what to do but I don’t have a clue myself and I’m just winging it.
- That everything smells like old grease, me, my car, my shoes and even my handbag
- That cuts, burns and bruises sometimes happen
- That I said goodbye to daily and weekly routines a long time ago
- That there would be many times where I’d cry in the walk in fridge
- That some nights I’d really rather that customer not come in five minutes before closing, please
- That I can’t please everyone all of the time and it can be a hard thing to handle
- That sometimes all I want to do is ditch the apron and say that’s it, I’m out of here
If I had a crystal ball before starting this job then I may not of even started it. If I had of seen all these things that I would face then I may of gone, hmm thanks but no thanks that all looks too hard. But that’s the thing, the crystal ball doesn’t exist and I wasn’t to know of any of these things I would experience. Which means I’ve been on one heck of a learning and growing experience for the last 3 and a bit years.
Because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and for that reason I haven’t been able to prepare myself in the sense of going ‘Ok Caitlin, next week you’ll forget to order cheese, start stressing now how you’ll handle that one’. I’ve had to handle each of these things as they’ve come up, some things have taken a little longer to get through, sometimes I’ve been left in tears, or completely shut down for a bit but I’ve got through them and I’ve come out of each one better for it.
Here’s the thing though, IF the crystal ball existed and IF I had looked at it before staring this job and IF it was capable of showing me the messy, hard, challenging things it would also of been able to show me the moments of flow, joy and happiness as well.
The little things I would never of expected to unfold over the last three years in amongst the day to day things such as:
- Watching staff grow, learn and ‘get things’
- When a lovely couple say it was an incredible meal and we’ll be back and then they are the very next night with the very same order at the very same table with the very same feedback
- A lovely older couple who have been waiting for the food for reasons they probably don’t even know and yet they say, It’s ok, no worries, you’re doing a really good job and you guys are really busy
- When the team comes together and somehow this magical flow happens and things work
- When you do get the ordering spot on down to the very last box of chips
- When you finish an order and hand it to the customer with a sense of pride
- When you’re favourite people are working and you get to have a chat and laugh
- When you yourself learn a new skill like conducting interviews
- Creating records
- A roster that allows you to do things on a week day
- When you can see just how far you’ve come as a leader
It’s these little things that I’m happy I didn’t know would happen because it’s these little things that catch me by pleasant surprise if I take the time to pause, observe and appreciate them.
So crystal balls don’t exist and I don’t know what the next week will hold but I’m going to into these shifts with an open mind and flow with whatever comes my way. If I find myself in a rough moment I’m going to remember that there’s good ones to come. And to keep me grounded when in the flow I’ll remind myself there is more learning to come. The experiences to learn from are something I’m prepared to take for the opportunity for flow, joy and growth. I’ll continue to learn from what I need to, let go when I have to and find gratitude in the little things and continue writing this chapter of my life.
The chapter where I make burgers and learn management.
Lots of Love