Saturday, December 6, 2008

The "there's a world around you" concept.

One of the things that irritates me the absolute most at work is people who just have no sense of what's around them. This goes for customers and co-workers ... but moreso coworkers. Friday and Saturday nights, when we have twelve servers, three hosts, two bartenders, an expo, and two managers all running around and passing through the kitchen at some point, you just have to be aware of your surroundings. Hell, even slow days when there's half that amount of people. But I can't tell you how many times I'll be walking through the kitchen, and somebody I'm about to pass with take a sidestep directly in front of me. I don't mean I'm several steps away--I mean I'm within their "personal space" and they're so clueless they just run in to me. Or someone who's walking in front of me with not only suddenly stop, but start backing in to me. Or customers who will, without warning and without looking, suddenly stick their limbs out into the aisle, or jump up from their tables. I've gotten smacked a number of times by widely gesticulating customers; I've had plates of food knocks out of my hands by these people.

Now I know we all do that sort of thing sometimes. I've bumped in to people plenty of times, but generally speaking, I know when there are people around me! I don't spend my time looking around and over my shoulder for them, but I know they're there. I'm aware of noise, and changes in the shadows, and I guess sometimes air currents too or something. And because it's just something I'm aware of, it mystifies me how so many other people seem to have zero awareness of the world around them.

And I know that if I have personal space issues, I'm in the wrong business. Anybody out there considering taking up restaurant work, let that be a warning: you will be touched. Kitchens are never wide enough, and people will brush against you all the time because there's just not enough space. And I don't always mean shoulder-brushing, either. I get elbowed in the tits at least once a day. People trying to squeeze through small spaces with their hands by their sides will touch your ass in a completely non-sexual way. Of course, sometimes it's intentional; I don't know what it is about restaurants that attracts people with dirty minds, but every place I've worked at has been rampant with what most people who probably consider sexual harassment but for us it's just good fun.

So I have very little in the way of personal space boundaries at work. But don't knock me into a wall and slop water all over me because you didn't think any one of the twenty employees in the kitchen might have been within five feet of you.


Simon said...

Check out this post of mine:


Bev Rage said...

A server's best friend is the word BEHIND! I must have shouted it 100 times a shift. It's like the advice I got from a seasoned cyclist when I started riding on busy streets....assume you're invisible and the drivers are blind. It's the same with serving...Make your presence known...Loudly say "Excuse me, coming through, hot food, watch your back etc etc". Probably wouldn't be appropriate at a fine dining establishment, but for a casual restaurant it works like a charm!