I just quit my Salary Job. Now What?
So I quit my Job to become a full-time writer. How am I going to pay my bills?
In 2016 I made a promise to myself to be more financially stable. So I got my first ever, full-time job. With zero experience in the restaurant business, I got a job as a hostess. It’s the lowest paying job, and tips are shit, and I had to deal with insanely angry people who snubbed every available table I could seat them at and don't understand why I can’t sit two people at a table meant for five during our busiest hours.
I had to tell our guest with a smile how dumb and immature they were being without fueling their unhappiness. It’s a skill to get the customer to see your side of things and to eliminate that bad attitude as well, which I was exceptionally good at.
The owner saw how well I interacted with everybody and how fast I could get through a waitlist and I was promoted within a month and moved to Food Runner.
As a food runner, I got better tips. I mastered the menu and learned to be assertive with the kitchen staff, thus helped organize the flow of what food came out and how fast it was prepared. It’s up to the runner to make sure plates hit the tables promptly and to check each one for any mistakes before sending it off.
Two months of food running and I was again promoted to Server, and I was great at it. Finally, some money was in my bank account, and I felt my stress level going down. People liked me, I was quick on the floor, I helped out my teammates, and I catered to guest’s needs no matter how picky/needy/or downright demanding they were.
Life as a server wasn’t all sparkles and rainbows though. I had to deal with other servers who turned out to be terrible workers and rude people. I got screwed several times being “the nice girl.”
I learned that even though I covered a week of shifts, sometimes pulling doubles without getting a night off, that it didn't mean I could rely on those same people to help me out if I needed it. In fact, no one did, and the feeling of being taken advantage of was exhausting.
Being the only person in the restaurant who was reliable was tough, but three months into being a server I heard there was a management position available and I said that I was interested. The next day the owner pulled me aside and gave me the job.
I DID IT.
I was on salary as a manager of a restaurant, and it only took me six months to achieve. I accomplished my 2016 goal. I worked my ass off to get the business in a better shape than it was. To train Servers to be teammates, to help out customers even if it wasn’t their table and our ratings went up. I worked for the company for a year and a few months on a 60+ hour work schedule.
Boy, was this an eye-opener for me.
I quickly realized that humans are terrible self-entitled creatures and everybody was looking to get something for free. Some people just couldn’t be satisfied even when nothing was wrong. In several instances I was put in this same position as Gordon Ramsey in this video:
It’s sad to say but once I was a manager I could quickly spot out what type of person would be a terrible guest the moment they walked into my restaurant and I had to mentally prepare to deal with them before they even ordered their food.
I took my work home with me- I couldn’t shut it off. I was unable to enjoy myself in any restaurant environment because I could see the waiter left empty plates and trash on the table before dropping the check, or that a customer was letting her lap-dog eat off the silverware and nobody was telling her to stop. Everywhere I visited my manager's brain went into HEALTH CODE VIOLATION MODE! And I was no fun to be with.
I realized the only interesting things I had to say to my boyfriend were uninteresting work-related issues. I used to dress with identity, but even on my days off, I found that I needed to dress conservatively because I couldn’t stand the thought of looking unprofessional to any of my staff members on the off chance we ran into each other. (Which happened a lot.)
I found myself retreating socially. I missed out on a lot of special opportunities because of my job. I thought I had nothing creative left in me.
I became a boring woman.
Even still, I enjoyed my job, and I was really good at it. I listened to my employees and made a constant effort to help better the Restaurant. I succeeded in getting the chefs new freezers and helped convince the owner to replace broken ovens after they had been unsuccessfully asking for new equipment for years. I wrote the letter that helped us receive a liquor license to our connecting coffee shop. Our restaurant got higher ratings and landed in the top 100 restaurants in America for 2016 and 2017. I was told by my servers, bussers, and kitchen staff that I was the best Manager they had, and that felt good.
But not everyone appreciated the way I ran things.
I was the only female floor manager. I was working longer hours and getting paid substantially less than my male counterparts. I had more responsibilities, addressed and solved more issues and yet when it came time for me to ask for a raise, I was told that because I had no previous experience in the industry that my accomplishments here weren’t valid enough, that the effort I was putting in wasn’t good enough, that I should do even more work than I already was, and that I needed to do things the way my male coworkers did them.
Lastly, I was told that if I went to the owner without further improvement that I wouldn’t be getting that raise.
It was weird to feel like I was suddenly a victim of sexism at a place that gave me so much opportunity, but that's what had happened. I told myself not to be bitter and to just be happy with what I did have... but I wasnt happy. Feeling lonely, busy, and stressed was the norm for me for a while. I developed a tick in my eye that lasted for weeks. I felt micro-managed and underappreciated. I kept hearing myself say that I wanted to quit but I didn’t want to go back to being poor without health insurance so I stayed and I was miserable.
I thought that if I took a small vacation that I would come back fresh with a better attitude, but it only helped me realize that nine days away was not nearly enough.
I missed traveling; I missed having a life, I missed being creative! This job was molding me into a bitter, angry person, and I don’t deserve to be this unhappy.
So I put my two-weeks notice to become a full-time writer.
Today was my last day and I’m ready to be happy again.