Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Emotional Exhale

So I moved to another state thinking was transferring with my job, all benefits and seniority retained, just a lower level job.

Didn't happen and there's no going back now. Benefits gone and no job to have, seniority or not.

Checking THAT company off my friends list! (Not the restaurant, the concessionaire who owns their contract at the airport)

I sank into a funk on day three down here after having an abomination of an interview with my supposed transfer.

After a week I was flat out stressing.

After two weeks I was flat out freaking.

We've been broke before, and wasn't fun but now it was me broke and was even less fun.

My brother convinced me to go by in person at a restaurant where I had applied online. It's in an up and coming area of Orlando and has just recently this past month opened to rave reviews. Similar menu to what I'd been serving at the airport so felt like would be a good fit. This old dog hates learning new tricks.

So I windexed off my spectacles, put on a dress and went in one afternoon with my glowing letter of recommendation in hand from one of the executive chefs of Fifth Group. I stopped at the host stand and asked if they could add my letter to my application already on file. The hostess asked if I'd like to speak with a manager?


The manager (super nice) came over and spoke with me for about fifteen minutes, then said I didn't want to take up anymore of his time but simply wanted to put a face with the application and pass along my letter of recommendation. He asked if I could wait and speak with the general manager...



The general manager came out about ten minutes later and we spoke for about thirty minutes. He asked what I thought made a good server and why? Thanks to my FGR training and knowledge learned from them think I pretty much knocked it out of the park.

He asked if I could wait a bit longer while he spoke with his assistant manager so I did. He came back about five minutes later and said they would like to offer me the position.

Shut The Front Door!!!

I told him had one more place to go by and would call him in a couple of hours if that was okay.

It was.

I came home and googled the corporation, researched the restaurant itself and read all the reviews and related articles. I also called my former manager, Slight White and got his opinion. Then I called and accepted the job.

The restaurant is chic and eclectic. It's open and beautiful and already really liked both managers I met.

Besides all this space, has a solarium dining area, another outdoor seating dining area and yet another cozy one out front with a fire pit.

I started on Tuesday afternoon with orientation. I wore another dress, should have been wearing one to every interview... duh.

Halfway through the orientation the service manager came out and asked if I'd like to go home and change to come back for training that night and get another day under my belt to expedite my training period.


Here's the kicker... They asked if I had a black shirt, told them I did, no button down collar and one front pocket. The shirt couldn't have a pocket they said. Then asked if I had charcoal gray slacks, told them I did (lucky my brother had bought me these redunkulously expensive Banana Republic slacks last Christmas I'd never worn). Did they have belt loops, no... well they needed to.

I told them I'd be back as soon as I could, dressed and ready to go.

I'd talked with my sister the night before getting this job and was crying like a baby worrying over getting any job and simply getting by until then. She transferred  $200 into my bank account while we were speaking.

I left my orientation and found the nearest Kohl's store, where all the other female employees had gotten their shirts. Took me forever but finally found a size 4. Then on to the gray slacks. Could find any with belt loops except size four and hung on me like a burlap sack. I searched the petites, the juniors and then little girls with no luck. I finally headed to the little boys department and found a pair of size 14 which fit like a glove. Using my sister's money bought my shirt and slacks and screamed home to iron them both.

My first night was awesome. The place is rocking and the food is amazing. The support staff is excellent and the kitchen pumps that food out like crude oil.

I was intimidated and overwhelmed but hung in there and on to every word the guy training me said.

I came home and got out index cards just like I had when starting at Ecco, making a card for each item on the menu with the ingredients and how was prepared. I've taken voracious notes and asked probably too many questions.

I went back in tonight and was insane from the jump. Party of fifty, party of thirty, party of twenty and several parties of ten. The kitchen never went down and believe it or not finally have the table chart memorized after running food for two nights. I met the female manager tonight, awesome lady. She came up, smiled and said "You must be Kelly" and extended her hand. We chatted briefly, her asking where I was from and where I had worked. I gave her the short version of me not being acceptable to be a server at Outback in Orlando and she said "Welcome aboard."

I bet I've lost at least five pounds since moving here and will probably have to buy size 16 boys slacks next now that I'm living again. I just lost faith in myself. I just gave up... too soon.

I may be (am) a goofball but know a really good restaurant when I see one, and this one is.

Yes it will be hard until I get on the floor and start making tips. Yes it will be hard learning all the new food, wine, specialty cocktails and way things are done but I've done it before and can do it again.

The guy who has been training me the past two shifts while running food is awesome. The kitchen staff calls him Superman...and is. He knows every thing about every dish and how to get the job done... the right way, every time.

So the airport dumped me. Big deal. Their loss.

I landed exactly where I need to be at this time in my life and can just feel it in my tiny bones.

When I went in for orientation the GM brought me this house made flat bread with guava, goat cheese, speck ham and marcona almonds to eat while I read the manual and filled out paperwork. It was absolutely delicious.

So shall be my new life here.

Sounds corny, something both my parents would have said but is spot on...

"Oh ye of little faith"

Til next time...COTTON

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