Friday, February 4, 2011

If You Let Them Treat You Badly (They Will)

Snow in Texas?
Yes, it's true. And I was okay with it, since I didn't have to work, but it reminded me of the many times being snowed in in Denver meant working 'round the clock. You wouldn't know it by how often I visit my own blog, but there was a time when I was a very dedicated - really, to the point of being obsessive - worker. I would actually come in to work when I wasn't scheduled when there was a blizzard, knowing there would be several who wouldn't risk the drive. Because so much of my f & b years were spent in hotels or 24 hour restaurants, my work ethic was a perfect match for their needs.

Did they appreciate my dedication?
Almost never.

I remember one night in particular when the blizzard had started while I was at work serving an evening banquet. The storm was predicted to close the airport, strand our hotel guests, and make the roads impassable, so the general manager told me he'd arrange for a room for me at the hotel if I'd open the restaurant in the morning. When the banquet ended and we'd cleared and cleaned up the kitchen, the rest of the staff went home to their families while there was still a chance of getting home, and I went downstairs to get my key. It's pretty common for a hotel to put up staff in extra rooms when they're needed for quick turnaround shifts, long hours or emergencies like blizzards, so I wasn't anticipating any trouble, but the front desk told me they had not been "authorized" to give me the room. It was about 1 in the morning so they weren't gonna call the GM to verify my claims, but since I'd promised to open the restaurant at 6, I didn't think it was likely I'd get home and be able to get back.

If I had it to do over today, I would have left. However, I was duty-bound to keep my promise to management and not inconvenience the guests of the hotel, so I went back up to the banquet kitchen and made myself a bed on the floor out of the soiled linens from the party I had just worked. I didn't even let myself have clean tablecloths! I didn't even try to get Housekeeping to give me a blanket! "Oh no. Just a spot on the cold linoleum wrapped in dirty wadded up laundry is good enough .... I can only sleep for 4 hours anyway."


  1. I hate having to learn things that way. Especially when it's the fact that corporations will let you go above and beyond without compensating you for it.

    visions unto myself

  2. back in the day i worked for a 24 hour chain restaurant, i remember one time i worked a 27 hour shift due to lack of staff and a convention. It was like going through the stages of grief...first i shook my fist at the universe (this is such BS!!), then i got weepy while rolling some silverware, and then i accepted my fate. Did i get a thank you from management? Hell nah, i got a lecture about overtime.

  3. It's not even the compensation is it. Just the acknowledgment and appreciation for putting yourself out like that. Especially when you could have done as everyone else did and high tailed it home. Bless you, I seem to find myself in this sort of position a lot.