The Restaurant Grind and How I miss it – March 10th

Rise and Shine…3:15 AM and my mind is screaming at my body to go back to sleep.  Doesn’t sound right?  Any other day I would be thrilled and hop out of bed with the enthusiasm to get more done with extra time.  But today I will need all the rest I can get.

It’s Friday and I will have to complete this post a sentence or two at a time in between my massive to – do list today.

Due to some scheduling conflicts.  (Me needed a certain day off and another manager needing an extra owed day off)  I am working today 6-4 and then 5-8.  In which then I will topple into bed as the toll of 15 years in the business takes its affect on my body and mind making my only 30 year old body feel twice that age.

I don’t mind working these long shifts as I get to see the night crew that I don’t get to talk to as often as I like.  See that struggles that the night managers go through on a nightly basis.  I wish I could do more nights.  But when your wife works 5 nights a week its very difficult to have a happy marriage when you are running off to work on her nights off.

But I enjoy the long days for another reason.  It reminds me of how my life used to be back in my late teens and early twenties.  When life on the line was the only thing I knew.  Two half days off was all I got.  Monday mornings to do laundry.  Wednesday afternoon and evening to relax and do something normal.

Doing the morning prep list and working the lunch restaurant at one restaurant and then leaving immediately to work the dinner shift at another for some reason gave me the greatest sense of fulfillment.

I love working the line.  The sweat, pain, the heat, occasional blood that came with it.  The idea of having your Mise en Place both physically and mentally squared away no matter what was coming you way gave me a thrill like none other.  A bus tour of 100 busy travelers or a two hour wait at the door because it Friday at in lent and you have the best haddock in town.   Bring it on

For  those who don’t know what Mise En Place means : it’s an old French term that refers to the readiness of your station.  Are you stocked, cleaned, organized and ready for the coming rush?  It also refers to your state of mind.  Are you mentally ready?  Or is the fight you just had with your significant other clouding your emotions and screwing up your focus.  If you can’t check that shit at the door then you are a liability to yourself, your team mates, your restaurant.

I would hit the first restaurant at 8 in the morning and wouldn’t stop until about 10 at night on most days and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world.   Anthony Bourdain described the kitchen as the last “glorious, Meritocracy.  I world of absolutes.  At the end of the night you know without a shadow of a doubt how one did.   Then to sit down at the bar, neck still dripping with sweat. When you look to the person to the left or your right as say…”we did good tonight”  There is no better feeling of that of the first pull on a cold beer.   It tastes like victory.”

I don’t get to feel like that much anymore in management and that makes me sad.  “Management is disorienting. You are not in the real world in the same way front line workers are. Everything is meta. Decisions become abstractions. People are numbers. Getting lost in middle management is common. Unless they find a guiding light to keep the bearings, and stay low to the ground, good people get lost. It’s smart when taking on a new role to ask someone closer to the ground to be your sanity check. Telling you when the front lines thinks you’re not the same guy anymore.” 10 reasons Managers become Assholes. 

Around the time I started work on this project I was really down on my work.  I felt overwhelmed by the day in and day out routine of running a corporate restaurant.  Frustrated by the things I can’t change.  But so far this year, through some of my resolutions like  plan each day in advance, delegate, follow the one minute rule.  I’ve been able to find time to get me hands dirty again.  Get in there an do a little cooking here and there.  When everything is clicking and everyone is working together it can be relaxing.

 “Well asshole….If you love cooking in restaurants so much.  Why don’t you go back to it?”  You know the answer to that.  As I grew older the Beast that needed to be held grew ever so larger.   

Those days have long passed


 BTW got the belt and got it installed.   Currently running laundry right now.  

YouTube repair time 6 minutes

Actually repair time for me 1 hour 6 minutes.  







Author: billshappinessproject

I was near the end of 2016 when I realized that my life was totally out of balance. I was 30 and I was working my life away. I did not have strong relationships with my wife, family, or friends. It was around this time that I came across THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin. It was then that I decided to launch my own year long project towards personal happiness for the entire year of 2017.

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