Has It Really Been So Long?

So it’s been well over a month, with nary a word sent out. I want thank those of you who have kept checking back in the hope that I might have had something to say, or an opportunity to say it. As it turns out, opening up a restaurant is a time-consuming venture. That, and we just got connected back up to the internet a few days ago. I suppose I could have brought my laptop with me to work, and taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi, but I really didn’t want to have to wake up any earlier, and by the end of my day, I really didn’t want to stick around, and postpone my pilgrimage back home. We’ll see how well I can stick to a regular writing schedule moving forward, but it will probably be a while more before I can set aside some regular time for me to start writing every day. For now, it’s my goal to write on my days off (which happen to be today (kind of- more later on that) and tomorrow), and I suppose that two days a week are better than one day every six weeks. I’m also hoping to get back to working on that story I’d started around when I got hired for my current job, as there’s still a chance that I might be able to break $50 in sales for 2015. All of this unimportant, however. The future will bring what it will bring, and only time will tell if I will see success. The past, however, is ripe for repetition, so let’s go back a couple of months and see what brought me to this place.

I’d been working at Big Lots, destroying my body and whittling away my sanity, only to fall further into debt, looking toward an imminent promotion as the only light, however dim, at the end of my tunnel of penitence. Then, out of the blue, someone I’d known when I was working at Blondie’s Pizza got a hold of me, and informed me of an employment opportunity. Of course, I wound up having my interview for this new job on the same day as I had my final interview for my promotion at Big Lots. I knew going into the first interview, that I would take the new job in a heartbeat, assuming the money was okay, but decided to go through the motions anyway, as I have learned to hedge my bets, and that I am not the best person to be involved in interviews, either asking or answering the questions. As it turned out, I needn’t have been so worried. It was the single most painless interview I have ever had. The gentleman with whom I sat seemed eager to hire to me from the moment I sat I down, and based upon his sales pitch (and mostly that he offered me twenty percent more than I had been seeking (only two dollars less than I’d been making at Blondie’s, but with a significantly shorter and cheaper commute), and a benefits package that was better than I’d had before), I was just as eager to accept his offer. I filled out paperwork, and made plans to attend the company’s leadership retreat in just a couple days.

At that point, I was still planning on giving nearly two weeks’ notice to Big Lots, but by the end of the retreat, which featured a layout of the coming game plan, and conversations about just how much we had left to accomplish, I made my decision to to resign immediately. I feel somewhat bad that I left them in the lurch, but on the other hand, it’s simply not too realistic to expect loyalty when you aren’t willing to pay more than the minimum wage and refuse to have more than one full-time employee per department. Combine that with their anti-union rhetoric, and subversively anti-employee culture (something which I’ve noticed has become the norm over the past decade), and I came to regard to the entire situation as something more akin to a prison break. I’m not sure why, exactly, that so many employers have decided to regard their employees as some sort of necessary evil, like interchangeable equipment that should be tossed away instead of even minimally maintained. I’ve written about this before, so I’m not going to go into it again, but it just disappoints me to see people treated this way, and feeling like it’s the best thing they can get (whether or not it’s true).

Since the middle of August, I have been working toward the reopening of a Berkeley institution. We’ve gone through some personnel changes, and faced some common hiccups that all new restaurants must face, but with the added pressure of both retaining the link with our namesake from before, while trying to establish an entirely new identity. We opened our doors on the eighth of September, surrounded by construction, and it’s taken a little longer than to find our footing, than if we had opened free and clear. I don’t mind going on about the past, but it’s good to keep in mind that there’s nothing you can do to change it. Should I ever be in the position to open another restaurant, I have learned some valuable lessons which will hopefully spare me from some of the growing pains I’ve been feeling this time around.

I was talking to one of my employees last night, commenting on the fact that it felt like I was finally starting to get a handle on how it was to work at this place. To my surprise, she echoed the sentiment.

I’ve just looked down at the time, and realized that I have to take off and pick up David, and then run off to Berkeley for a management meeting (I’m the only one of us who’s off today) at 4. I’ll keep on with this when I get home, and then try to think of something interesting to share with all of you tomorrow.

-Tex

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