I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 20 years now, with the same company. When I first started working for them, it was because I just plain out needed a job. I was irresponsible, having had around 30 jobs from the time I was 16 until I turned 20. I couldn’t even stay in the military. I had to beg the guy who hired me for a job. I went back every day for about a week until he got tired of seeing me and finally just gave me the job.

I went in on a Thursday or Friday night to watch some videos and fill out all of the paperwork. My first day was to be the Following Thursday morning washing dishes. It happened to be New Years eve. I overslept. I was supposed to be there at 7am, but I woke up at 2 in the afternoon. Damn. I called up my boss and apologized. He told me that was OK, come in on New Years Day, but make sure to call when I woke up if it ever happened again. I responded by letting him know that I HAD called when I woke up. I was not the most responsible person at that point in time.

I managed to show up on time the next day. I was sleeping on the floor of a friend about fifteen miles away, and got up on time and caught the bus to work. It was OK, but just another damn job at the time.

I waited tables for about nine months. It was good money but I discovered that I hated it. Waiting tables has got to be one of the hardest jobs that there is in the hospitality industry, particularly considering that in the U.S. the customers are expected to pay your wages, not the company that you work for.

After that I started cooking. I had been cooking for awhile anyway. I was working the graveyard shift, and the guy that cooked while I waited tables would go lay down on the back table about Ten each night, and I would cook and wait tables until Five the next morning which is when I would wake him up. After he was eventually fired, they made me the cook. I did that for about nine more months until someone decided to put me in management.

I have managed 16 restaurants in one capacity or another. I was a multi-unit manager for awhile in ’99, that really sucked and I quit, but they ended up giving me a job at the corporate office to keep me around. I truly enjoyed that, but it was a 75 mile commute EACH way, and with the cost of gas and automotive repairs, I just couldn’t afford it anymore. In 2003 I made the conscious decision to go back into restaurant operations until I retire, unless some kick ass job comes along, but that is extremely unlikely. No matter how much I have my times that I hate my job, as long as I do it, I am pretty much guaranteed a job until I retire. We have never laid anyone off, and are continuously growing and getting better. Hell, if the right district came open I might even be persuaded to take another promotion. I turned one down about a month ago. As it is right now, I have no interest in moving anytime soon.

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