What waitressing taught me

But first, before we get started; how unbearably AWESOME is THE WALKING DEAD?

Seriously.

The show kicks so much ass. And sets the bar so very high.

If you're not watching, you fail at life.
If you’re not watching, you fail at life. And she’s going to eat you. Just sayin’.

*ahem*

Today was my last day at my job. I had to stop myself from crying a good plenty. It’s not that I’ll miss my job, dear God no, but I will miss the people. I’ve met some seriously awesome people during my time at the Enlisted Club. I’ve also learned a great deal. Being surrounded with so many different walks of life (and ranks-remember kids, I’m working with the military here) and stories coming in and out of the doors taught me a lot about myself, my writing, and what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Hint: a waitress is not one of those things.

Don't let my smile fool you. And dear God my hips are huge..
Don’t let my smile fool you.

Being a waitress can be fun. It can be a headache. It can be one of the worst and one of the best jobs ever, it just depends on the day and the people you have to deal with. I had the learning experience of being both waitress and caterer, server and people-pleaser, the yes man and the ‘oh honey, I don’t judge’. The funny thing is, I’m GOOD at it. Really good at it. I’m a people person. I have an open, bubbly personality that people really seem to dig. I’m loud. I try to be as funny as I can. And for the first time in my life, I’m actually pretty damn witty. I can make people laugh. And a people-pleaser personality goes a long way in a waitressing job.

For the most part, I enjoy people. I like learning their stories, like knowing what brings them to England and where they’re going. What do they do for the Air Force? What do they want to do when they get out? Oh, you’re retiring! Congratulations! Where’s home?

There were parts of my job that I hated. The set up for the different functions and polishing silverware were not fun. The late nights, the stupid-ass crazy schedule that has permanently screwed up my sleep cycle. None of that was ever fun, but it was worth it because I’ve learned a few things.

1. Treat everyone like your best customer. EVERYONE. Even if you hate them. 

It got to the point where I knew practically everyone on the base. Including the Wing Commander (the head honcho of the base for those of you who don’t know). I got to kid around with officers and enlisted folks alike. Rank is something that didn’t really matter to me because they all came into the club for one thing: food.  Except when someone really important came in. Then it was a dog and pony show because so and so was such and such over this and that.
Yay?

Now, in the military there is certain protocol. Certain things must be observed because that’s the way of things. Okay, fine. Me personally, I would get annoyed. The chefs would get annoyed when someone in a position of authority would make a complaint because they didn’t like the soup and there  would be repercussions because the person doing the complaining was in a position of authority.

The trick in life is to treat everyone like your best customer. Even if you hate their guts. Because, guess what? That person whom you treated like crap because maybe you were having a bad day and couldn’t be bothered? Maybe that guy was a millionaire and might have been generous that day. Or maybe that guy or gal could have been the love of your life (it could happen!), or maybe he was having a bad day too and a smile could have gone a long way to helping him out.

You’re gonna get assholes in life. That shit happens, but it’s what you do with those assholes that make every difference in the world. And plus, you can always kill them off in your book.

I'm just sayin'
I’m just sayin’

2. Leave it at the door 

Personal life, problems, any and all issues need to be parked right at the door and a smile put on the face. I wish I would have learned this one in the Navy. It would have made my life a lot easier. If you have a problem, you have a problem and there are avenues. But don’t take it to work. If you’re going to take it to work, tell the people in management at work. They are there to help you. Don’t let anything fester that doesn’t need to fester and don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Neither are worth it.

3. Don’t judge

You’re going too. God knows I do it-and in another blog post I’ll tell you what exactly I judge- we’re all human, it can’t be helped. But, for the most part, don’t judge people. You never know what opportunities are passed by or how wrong you are about people when you judge. An open mind goes a long way. Judgement can come later. Because then it’s called ‘an informed opinion’.

4. Network!

The best thing I ever did was get in with the First Sergeants. My dad was one for twelve years. They’re great people with the hardest job in the Air Force (seriously, you try playing nanny to squadrons of people of ages ranging between 18-40, be on call 24/7, 365 days including holidays and birthdays and see how well YOU handle it). I know a band! Well, the lead singer of a band and his wonderful wife.

Waiting For June. Download them! Listen to them! LOVE THEM!
Waiting For June. Download them! Listen to them! LOVE THEM!

I have met artists, physical trainers (one of whom taught me the secret to losing weight), writers, closet My Little Pony lovers, the list seriously goes on and on.  Through them-and claiming the chalkboard as my own personal canvas-I have been an artist, a consultant, an enthusiastic fan, and a friend. If you don’t open yourself to opportunity, you’ll never know what you could have had. Through my job I have learned that I’m a damn good artist because I’ve had people wanting the pictures that I produce. Never would have happened if I hadn’t taken the chance.

5. Patience

Learn it. Live it. Know it. Practice it.

6. Say No.

The lesson I should have learned. It is a good thing to say no every now and again. Do not give yourself up to work for work will consume you until there is nothing left but work and the validation you get from it as a person.

7. Be you. And don’t be sorry about it.

Cereal. There is no one out there exactly like you. There never will be. And you should be proud of that. It took me a long time to accept myself, and there are still parts of me that I’m trying to figure out if I like or not. But I’ll never change who I am. I’ve been told I’ll be missed because of what I brought to the Club. And the HR office. But I’m pretty sure the ladies over at HR will just miss my bitching. Because I am hilarious when I bitch. My sister is funnier, but I can hold my own.

Anyway.

YOU are an awesome person. Unless you’re a closet homophobe asshole who murders kittens and children. Then there’s an issue that needs to be solved by the therapist’s chair. And an iron lock. A big one. Barring that, embrace the person that you are and use it to your advantage. Being unique and quirky, hell even strange, is not a bad thing. Being ‘normal’, is.

attachment
Bill Murray said it. Has to be true.

I’ll be sad to leave England. I love this country. I’ve found a home here. My first book is set in Bury St. Edmunds and was completed here. Something which I am immensely proud of and will no doubt make it onto the “Acknowledgements” page. There is no place quite like merry ol’ England. There is so much history here, not just that. England has a feeling all of its own that would sneak up on me in the middle of the night when we still lived out in Hengrave. Where there were no streetlights and so many stars.

Thank God my sister is staying here for the foreseeable future because I am coming back, baby! To teach or not to teach, I’m coming back.

The tea tastes better here.

And because next year we’re doing St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

Because this is happening.
Because this is happening.

Toodles!

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