Every decision you make can open or close a door in your path. Sometimes you make these decisions by accident and other times by choice. Every once in a while you get lucky and stumble into a fortune or a fantastic situation. Other times you may be destined for failure or defeat automatically from the start. We can only learn from our mistakes and move on...
There are often times when I look back and say " Why didn't I see the red flags?!" or "What in the hell was I thinking? Was I even thinking???" Being human we are all prone to mistakes and faults. We must own up to these mistakes and move forward- try to make amends. Pointing the finger of blame only creates more problems instead of solving them.
I became a server out of necessity for a better job- a different KIND of job. Something that wasn't nine to five or some sort of cubicle corporate bullshit. I was frankly tired of working retail and doing hourly work in general. I had even managed at a few places but the responsibility and bureaucracy eventually wore me thin. I was lucky enough to fall into the serving industry by chance... one of my exes was a server for YEARS and explained it all to me. I was sold after I learned I could make DOUBLE what I was making before in LESS HOURS.
Flash forward 5 years and here I am. Being a naturally observant person of course I would absorb and learn everything there is around me. I have learned the ins and outs of this job without a doubt. Sometimes it can be exhausting beyond belief, mentally, emotionally and physically. We are performers so to speak- presenting a fake version of our real personality. Be it friendlier, less timid, more exciting, or MORE REFINED. All the while executing your job perfectly.
If you aren't acting you aren't making the most you can while serving. This industry is about presentation not reality.
All the while I have to maintain my own sanity behind the scenes among a crowded, hot and often uncomfortable crew of servers, cooks, dishwashers, bussers, hosts and managers. The show MUST go on- we can't have it any other way! The stress is the first thing that gets to people. The constant emotional and mental drain will break you down must faster than the physical strain. It is a job for sadists in a way.
I have seen many people come and go and it doesn't even phase me anymore. I am used to the chaos, the panic, the drama and antics. In a sick way I enjoy the absolute anarchy that ensues while we are working- I thrive in this this environment.
The trade-off is clear. Money today for your soul tomorrow. Such is the way of life.
I guess I have no excuse other than I really didn't give a shit. I know I have a website, I know I'm supposed to update it and all. Hell I even pay for it every month and keep saying to myself- I'll do it later. Well I guess later is finally now.
It has been one hell of a year! SO many things have changed in my life yet surprisingly I am still at the same job. Still serving tables- but everything around me has evolved.
I spent much of time and energy over the past year studying, researching and investing into cryptocurrencies and I was rewarded greatly. I was lucky enough to be there before the big rush and be able to position myself to profit on the masses buying into this space. I took a few vacations and was even able to help out my friends and family with some of that money.
My obsession came at a cost however. I am no longer with the girlfriend that I was with for over 2 years. The one who was also a server at a local place- living the same daily struggle that I was, and still am. The one who saw me create ServerLyf and was there to support me all along. I became so intensely involved in my work and writing that I completely neglected my personal relationship with her and many of my other responsibilities.
I was not unproductive, in a literary sense, and continued to write throughout the entire year. I took things in a different direction and began to write about cryptocurrencies- Bitcoin specifically. While in the back of my mind I was continually thinking about topics I could write and post here, I focused mainly on my other passions. I just came back from my yearly Vegas trip and have been spending a tremendous amount of time and energy playing and studying the game as well.
As far as my restaurant is concerned it has been PURE CHAOS. Where I left off last I was describing how things were slowly falling apart. It has only gotten worse over the past year to the point where people are completely fed up with the situation and everyone is always casting the blame on other people. "It's the manager's fault" or "It's corporate's fault" or "It's so and so's fault". Nobody wants to step up and accept the blame in order to move on and create a more productive environment. The workplace has frankly become toxic...
At least several times a week I ask myself "WHY THE HELL DID I CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?!" There are no real benefits other than the short term ones- short hours, getting paid daily, and (somewhat) flexible schedules. In the long term you get a worn out body, alcoholism and a general hatred for humanity. You would not believe how pretentious and entitled some people can be, and this includes the SERVERS.
The money is good- and I mean DAMN GOOD. So I keep my mouth shut, for the most part, and just do as good of a job as I can and get paid. It takes care of the ridiculous rent where I live and covers my car payment and student loans each month.
I intend on opening up a merch shop pretty soon so I can do shirts, pens, wine keys and other stuff for servers so stay tuned for an update (EVENTUALLY)!
Sometime I actually forget that I have a website :-D I told myself that I have to start doing more updates so I am going to make that a focus the next few months to make sure to put up more Blogs and memes. I have been very busy lately messing around with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and countless others. The market has seen a recent surge in investment over the past few months and I think now we are finally entering that sell-off phase that I've been predicting for a while. Anyways, enough nerd stuff, back to the ServerLyf.
We are definitely in the BUSY SEASON now!!! Yesterday was ridiculous and it was only a Wednesday... We were running out of stuff left and right which just slows everything down. Ran out of prepared bread trays, no halibut, no strawberry ice cream, 86'd whole fish and we've been out of lemonade for over a week. Not to mention the cases of wine they forgot to order along with more supplies for the servers. They told us last week that they don't have any more server books and this week we are out of paper pads to write on so people are using receipt paper instead. This place is literally falling apart before my eyes.
Honestly I think it all began when our head chef quit. This location only has four designated manager positions: A head chef, a sous chef, front of house manager, and General Manager. Each person plays a very critical role in the system and all of the managers who were there when I started were very well seasoned and comfortable in their positions. Once the head chef decided to quit I think that it put more pressure and responsibility on the remaining three positions. The next person to quit was actually our GM and I know that was partly due to the fact that we have to work on EVERY major holiday, which isn't the case at some restaurants, go figure.
For a few months during the lull of the off-season the remaining two managers were visibly being worn down, slowly but surely. As the daily volume began to pick up however you could see the stress really begin to break them down even faster. Working 12+ hour days for salary whilst watching everyone around you (even the dishwashers) making more money per hour doesn't seem like my kinda job either... especially not when they are shoveling a bunch of extra responsibilities onto your plate because there literally isn't anyone else there to do the work.
The last two managers coincidentally put in their notices around the same time. Meanwhile the company was already struggling to find replacements for the head chef and GM, and now they really have their hands full trying to fill all four positions at the same time. This all happened in a matter of 6-7 months...
So where does this leave us now? Read my next blog to find out!
This is an article I wrote for www.steemit.com a new social media site where you can earn money for your posts... follow me at steemit.com/@hotsauceislethal
Of course as most Americans know tipping is customary in our society. This is not the case in all societies however as it would be considered rude and improper in some places, but here in America there are certain industries that rely almost entirely on the tipping economy. There may have been a time in the past when tipping guidelines were not so clearly defined as they are now: with the plethora of tipping guides and even phone apps available at your fingertips this day and age if you ask anyone who goes out to eat regularly about how to tip they will undoubtedly reply "15-20% depending on the service". When going out to have a few drinks it is not uncommon to leave $1 per drink as a rule of thumb especially if you are only drinking beer or wine. Even people who have never worked in the service industry know that you should always tip, even if they don't always tip the appropriate amount.
Now lets introduce this other very integral part of the tipping economy which is called TIPSHARE. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant, bar, or even club knows about tipshare. For every single dollar that you make in tips you are expected to tip out a certain dollar amount or percentage to other employees. Tipped out positions include bussers, hosts, bar-backs, etc. Often times this tipshare percentage is determined by food or alcohol sales and not necessarily on actual tips received. This means that every time someone sits down in a restaurant they actually cost their server money through tipshare regardless of if they tip or not.
In the past I have worked at restaurants where the tipshare was only 2% of your total sales, which is paid out to the bussers and bartenders. So for every $100 in food/alcohol that a table orders I would have to pay out $2 to the house automatically. Not all restaurants are the same however and the place where I currently work has a 5% tipshare rule, meaning for every $100 spent by guests I would now owe $5 to the house. This drastically changes things because when a table forgets to tip (which happens more often than you would think) or simply does not tip enough I end up having to fork up the difference. Simply put when you go out to eat you are costing your server money!
With this being said it is not acceptable to leave a 5% tip or less on your tab, no matter where you are going out to eat. Sure, if your server was HORRIBLE and RUDE then sure a crappy tip (or no tip) is to be expected. However if that person brought you everything you needed and got your order correct then be considerate and compensate them for their hard work. At the end of the day they have bills to pay too. In most states servers make minimum wage and even as low as $2.13/hr so keep that in mind the next time you leave a Fiver on $100.
Ahh don't you just love the feeling of coming back home after a long trip and getting back to your own comforts?
That vacation time was long overdue and I had a blast. I drove over 1100 miles in the past few days and spent money like it was going out of style so I'm ready to get back into the action at work and start stacking those bills again!
Arizona is beautiful this time of year by the way... Sunny and warm, slight breeze... Sometimes I miss that desert landscape and that strange feeling of solitude it gives you. Life seems so much more fragile when you are in the middle of nowhere and you begin to appreciate what little you may have. Water suddenly becomes more precious than gold! Small patches of shade are valuable retail as they provide a moment of rest from the harsh, beating sun. It feels like a million miles away from my usual surroundings back home.
All's well that ends well... as they say. Time to buckle down and really focus on this next month before my WSOP trip. I'm determined to make a big score this summer because last year I didn't quite give it enough effort or time. The big bucks, for players like myself, are in the multi-table tournaments where you have a very small chance to win it big. Most tournaments only pay out as little as 10-15% of the field so not only do you have to be good, you have to be lucky too. Last year I entered the $565 Colossus which drew in over 21,000 entrants but I didn't play my A-game and busted out with AJ v AQ on a AQJ board. I overplayed my hand vs a very aggressive player and he called my bluff... rookie mistake. This year I'm going to play like a pro and take it down. My bankroll is bigger than ever and I have been planning this for months so I've never felt more prepared. I spend about as much time studying and playing each week as I do working at the job.
SO back to work it is! I have to get ready in about five minutes so let me wrap this up. I'm planning on doing a limited release of some logo T-Shirts as well as some other items within the next couple of months. Comment below if you would like to see a particular slogan on a shirt or one of my memes. I will be releasing "I wake up at the crack of noon" shirts as well as "ServerLyf" logo T's first so if you would like me to design anything in particular let me know! Good luck out there all of you 9-5ers and have a great day!
Another week has come to an end and I finally have a day off tomorrow. The constant repetition definitely wearing on me and I'm starting to feel it in my lead shoulder and arm. People who don't work physically demanding jobs don't really understand the toll that these kinds of jobs take on the body. I guess that I'm lucky because my feet rarely hurt after a long shift since I've gotten used to the years of standing on my feet. My back and shoulders may never get used to the strain however.
The minor discomfort is well worth the tradeoff however as we are entering rush season. I've been so busy, in fact, that I don't even have TIME to spend my money it seems (other than for bills). I really need a vacation!
I requested off some time at the end of the month to drive down to Arizona so that should be a nice relief from the job. Plus my Vegas trip is coming up in only 7 weeks! I feel like time is just flying by so fast right now but I am more prepared than ever before for this year's shot at the WSOP.
Also, don't forget to check out my memes page which I just updated today!
The best nation of all might possibly be procrastiNATION! Just kidding :-D Actually I wanted to say that I will be making an nice update soon and hopefully do a mega meme dump. The last several weeks at work I have been on six days/week, and on my only days off I've been so exhausted or busy that I have been neglected the BLOG... Also I had been having ridiculous tooth pain due to some fillings I had worked on recently so in the past week I haven't been doing anything other than trying to zonk out after work. Luckily I went and had my fillings adjusted again and I feel great now! Time to get back on track and be productive again.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love poker. The past few months I've been gearing up for this year's World Series Of Poker (WSOP) which begins at the very end of May and runs thru July. It is a series of large buy-in poker tournaments which take place at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas every summer and it attracts the biggest and best names in poker as well as a plethora of amateurs such as myself. Between the hours of practicing and studying online and work I have been finding myself pressed for time almost daily. I promise to put more effort into the site however since I have been lagging HARD lately.
Anyways I have to start getting ready for work very soon but expect some cool stuff this week. Ill put some memes out soon so keep an eye out for that :-D
Sometimes I think to myself "How did I get here and why did I decide this path in life?" This is probably something that many people ask themselves at some point in their lifetime. Unlike other kids, who wanted to be astronauts or doctors, I never really had a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I got older. As a child I remember seeing pan-handlers in Atlantic City playing their harmonicas and guitars, and being a naïve four year old I thought this was a profession. From then on I would proudly announce "I want to be a harmonica player!" when any adult would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My parents would just laugh and give a warm smile, not wanting to discourage my silly dreams.
Flash forward a decade to when I got my first job at the local Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins (combo store with a drive-thru). I was a freshman in high school and only really got the job there because my sister had already been working there for a few years. I will never forget I used to make minimum wage back then which was $5.25/hour plus a few bucks in tips each night if we were lucky. My paycheck every two weeks was a measly $100 or less but when you are living at home any amount of money seems like a lot! This is where I got my start in the food service industry I guess you could say.
I worked at the donut/ice cream shop for just under a year when I decided I wanted to try something different. I ended up quitting and just coasting for a few month when I found myself broke! Going from having a nice couple hundred bucks a month to nothing is a real shock to a teenager so eventually I took up my second job at the fabulous Bed Bath and Beyond :-D I was hired at the age of 15 for $8.25 an hour to be a cashier. I quickly moved up the ranks and was promoted to a front end (cashier) supervisor within a year, which also came with a nice little pay raise ($12/hour). So at the age of 16 I was making almost double what my friends were making at their hourly jobs. I ended up staying with the company for around 4 1/2 years and even transferred to a different store when I went off to college.
While attending Arizona State University I worked part time at BBB for a couple of years and eventually quit for a few personal reasons. Hours were being cut and I wasn't really getting along with a few of my managers for some reason. I eventually moved back into food service by becoming a delivery driver for a very popular sandwich shop named Silvermine Subs in downtown Tempe, AZ right next to campus. I loved the freedom that being a delivery driver offered, as well as the quick cash on top of a steady paycheck. The money wasn't AMAZING by any means, I think I was making something like $7.25 an hour plus tips, but the freedom and excitement you get from the job is what drew me in. This was the first time that I was making substantial cash tips and I was hooked. After that delivery job I worked at very tiny Italian restaurant where I got my first experiences as a server. That didn't last for long because of poor location and no customers so I moved on to another sandwich shop called Mr. Goodcents. I was part of their opening crew and came in as a part-time delivery driver and part-time manager.
I eventually moved back to Virginia from Arizona for a short time to be with my family again. I didn't complete my microbiology degree at ASU partly due to the recession in 2008 and due to my inability to get any more student loans. I worked home construction and remodeling for a few months once back in VA and really enjoyed it, however the job started at 8am and I would often have to work in rain or snow and I was only making $12/hour. My girlfriend at the time was working as a server at a nice steak restaurant and asked why I didn't just apply there as a server. I said why not and gave it a shot- next thing I knew I was working at Longhorn Steakhouse making $2.13/hour plus tips. On a typical busy night I would walk with $80-120 in tips in 4-6 hours which was fantastic and definitely the most money I had ever made up to that point. I was 24 and having a blast, going out with friends partying, just living the server life. When you are making cash every night its very easy to blow it all shopping, eating out and drinking all the time which is what a bunch of my friends were doing (and still do).
After enduring a solid year and a half of being back in Virginia I decided it was time to head back out west and moved to California with the gf at the time. I transferred jobs to Olive Garden, of all places, since they are owned by the same company that owns Longhorn Steakhouse and were the only location that was reasonably close. In CA they also pay minimum wage to servers so I was making $9/hour plus tips at the time. Olive Garden was a great stepping stone for me to get to where I am now because it sharpened my serving skills in a larger busier restaurant and gave me a solid foundation to build on. I ended up staying with Darden (the parent company) for over 3 years combined and my time with them was invaluable. When I got the chance to apply for my current restaurant I jumped at the opportunity and was rewarded greatly.
Many of my coworkers take their jobs for granted seeing it simply as another serving job, but when you work in fine dining all of the stakes are bigger. Everything must be held to a higher standard and I mean EVERYTHING. It can be nerve-racking for people who aren't used to the pressure of opening a ten year old bottle of wine that is worth several hundred dollars for example. This is what I decided to do with my life so I take it a little more seriously than others. This isn't just a job for me, its a profession, and I love every minute of it!
Thankfully February has come to an end! This past month has been absolutely insane, between the mad house that was valentines week and the storms that caused power outages and road closures all over the state. It was also one of my best months so far at the job and I feel like I am actually finding my place there. I haven't been making really any mistakes at all lately and the money has just been rolling in.
There is no slow season in sight and things seem about as steady as always. Business as usual one might say. I am already saving up for vacation this summer so maybe there is some relief in sight!
The past few weeks have really flown by! I can barely believe that its already the 17th :-D!!! I have been working six days a week again since we are in the busiest time of the month. Valentines day was absolutely insane- luckily I got a really good section and did alright. Time flies when you're having fun am I right???
Made a meme post a few days ago and about to make another post right now before work! I'm racing the clock now seeing as I only have 13 minutes before I gotta go... Check out my new memes post and share with your friends, feel free to comment down below!