Monday, June 9, 2014

Maybe I CAN Do This!

A little after midnight, just walked in the door. I helped close tonight and learned about how to do a check out at the end of a shift.

I got to work today making excellent time, finding a parking space my first time through the lot. It wasn't really close but didn't want to waste time tooling around the lot in first gear. As I made my way uphill to the station spotted several closer spots but with a MARTA lot you just never know and being new to this job always go with "Better safe than sorry" when parking at the train station. I even got there early enough to sit in the atrium and go over my notes, which consist of a full binder, a small spiral notebook, a hundred index cards held together by a rubber band and a small notepad I also carry in my pocket.

I've been freaking out over having to take the food and wine tests, which I have copies of in my binder but been furiously making small cheat sheets just in case I freeze up...I'm not a good test taker, never have been.

Last night when I got to work they were busy as heck and guarantee the last thing on the manager's mind was giving me a test.

Instead I starting doing what I do best, clocking in and immediately getting to work. I helped bus and reset tables, refilled waters, cleaned up and helped polish silverware. They needed more butter ramekins so I found some clean ones in the back and filled them. I polished glasses and helped run food. These things I didn't need to be told how to do so I did them.

A few hours later when things calmed down the manager told me to get my binder and follow him out to the atrium. He went over a few things in my training binder and told me to continue taking the tests all located in the back of the binder on my own. (HUGE sigh of relief)

He made the comment to take them without looking up all the answers first because that wouldn't help me learn much, which was the goal. Instead fill them out best I could then go back and look up what I didn't know or missed.

Then said he appreciated me clocking in and immediately pitching in to help like I did without being asked and said "It was like you'd been working here for a year."

That's when I started to get it.

It didn't make me feel much more relaxed but let me know they have noticed I am a hard worker.

I don't have many attributes in my favor, I'm a newbie who is well over half a century old and not cute like some of the younger girls , don't know an awful lot about wines but have been taking voracious notes and asking tons of questions and  certainly don't mind jumping in to help without being asked or told to.

Today I helped fold linens and studied my note cards while doing so. I have my white wines down pretty well and my red wines are coming along too.

I worked by the service bar for a while, the manager wanted me behind the bar with the bartenders but felt I was in the way so hovered by the service area where servers pick up drinks and filled out about ten more index cards on specialty drinks and beers I've never heard of as the bartender (who could be a freakin' model) explained them to me.

Then I followed a server for a while, lucky for me it was the girl who recommended me for the job and she let me put in her orders on the computer as she watched.

Then she took me to a computer and let me look through the system on the manager's screen and bounce around to see all the options, modifiers and special instructions.

Yes, I'm an old woman.

As she showed me how to open a table on the screen to put in an order I said "Wait a minute, let me get out a new index card to write on."

This is how completely by the book I learn or either how slow I am to catch on.

I wrote:
#1 swipe card
#2 hit Begin table
#3 hit table number
#4 hit enter
#5 hit number of guests
#6 hit enter

At least I now had yet another index card to lead me as to how to open a table for service. I continued taking notes as we put in orders.

Massey had given me about hundred index cards to take notes on when I started training and am already down to about ten blank ones.

My friend got cut and left and was assigned to follow another server who was closing. He's a pretty cool dude who I really like and is very helpful. Everyone there is nice but some more helpful than others. That's the way it is in every restaurant and am used to that.

The biggest thing working in my favor is I am a server who is willing to help any and everyone and management noticed.

I left after eleven tonight, a little apprehensive because it's the first time I was leaving the airport late taking MARTA  back to my (next door husband's borrowed) vehicle.

Here's the thing. I get on the train and less than one minute later am getting off, followed by at least thirty other airport employees or travelers. We all walk to the same lot in the same direction and even though I was parked at the far end still had three or four people going in the same general direction.

Yes the MARTA lot can be dangerous late at night but so can the WalMart parking lot or even Kroger parking lot in the town where I live. 

Heck, if you watch the news obviously know no where is safe anymore. Not MARTA, not Newnan, and certainly not where our men and women are serving overseas or even college campuses.

So here's the real deal.

They know I need to learn a lot more about fine wine and the fancy smanschy European cuisine they serve but have also realized, have hired someone who works hard and is driven.

I think I'll be okay now.

I may have to go pick up another pack of index cards and download "Wine for Dummies" on my phone but will continue to ask questions and continue to take notes.

Heck, I've already run two pens out of ink just taking notes!

I still get nervous about the long trek to work each day. I have to worry about MARTA, from parking to trains which seem to take forever to arrive at the station, to lines at security and TSA who sometimes wave you through but other times pull you off to the side like you have a bomb in your shoes. Not to mention I'm still bumming vehicles from wonderful neighbors, friends and relatives.

The car I bought well over a year ago for $3000 has been paid down to under five hundred but still doesn't have the transmission installed or even purchased so still have to scramble for rides, which is humiliating at best  considering I at least have an AARP card.

Taking it all in stride.

My home restaurant isn't really happy with me about my new venture but is working with me. It's family owned, not corporate and could have fired me. Instead has allowed me to stay on four shifts a week on my two days off from the airport.

So am working seven days a week now. Five at a job I'm scrambling like a mouse to learn and two at a place where I feel comfortable but tired even by the time I get there.

I've been given a chance and am taking it.

Til next time...Comfortably COTTON

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