Hello, my friends! Today I want to focus on the relationships within the workspace that we share, as enriching and complex as any other human relationship.
Once again I have to go back to the past to remember another living lesson that my work, my passion, my world gave me. I started at 18 in a restaurant in Lloret de Mar and at 19 I was already traveling to England with little more than a suitcase full of enthusiasm and many doubts… Upon arrival, I was given the role of a waiter, and in a blink of an eye, I found the maître one. ¿A very big position for someone so young; or a very young moment to act as maître? Soon I would discover all I had to learn about this responsibility, by accepting my second job as such, launching myself enthusiastically into an experience in old and weather-beaten England. The second day I was crashing with the first incident: a customer from Scotland asked me for a dish that I could not understand and it was necessary to get up to point it out in the menu. P-S: I spent the next four nights without sleeping, studying the menu in English until I learned it by heart.
The role of manager who taught me the most about the work in the restaurant; It was a “fish & chips” from the town of Whitby. A beautiful fishing village that among other curiosities inspired the novel by Bram Stocker: “Dracula”; and it hides the house of the famous Captain Cook, the discoverer of New Zealand. And it was definitely that port that was most overwhelming; I used to spend hours there, watching the seagulls roam the boats, or where the seals came to raise.
That when I was not working, which were also many hours, and very intense indeed. I remember a very stressful moment during the meal service: one of the waitresses: tall, blonde, British; made a mistake while passing the dishes and I could not stop the EGO from taking over me. From the last step of the staircase, I scolded her severely, provoking her anger; hers, the other waiters and even the boss. Even the clients noticed it. We continued to work despite the scene until the service ended, but the atmosphere of tension that had generated could not be reversed. 5:00 pm arrived, and without time to talk to the girl, the boss called me aside and invited me to reflect on what had happened. Now it was he who was at the top of the stairs. With a colder head, I could clearly see that the reason I was angry was silly, an insignificance that was magnified with nerves. I felt ashamed, I only thought about apologizing.
With him I learned three lessons that would always accompany me from then on:
1) Never act in the heat of the moment, breathe, count to ten and relax before scolding anyone. Leave it for the end of the service. If you can´t memorize it, write it down in a notebook and quickly return to what you were doing.
2) Never address your peers at work from a high position: “What is your feeling that I am at the top of the ladder and you are down?” Mr. Madria told me.
3) Do not rush to judge the actions of your colleagues, nobody has the absolute truth in this work and it is possible that you lack a part of the information about what is happening at that time.
Often, in situations of stress, we cannot prevent our EGO from taking over and we fall into the error of judging and intimidating the other. Judging is putting things in terms of good or bad, and we have to develop a more flexible view of things. Never disparage your colleagues in front of anyone, speak calmly and privately about what can be improved, always from the same level. Do not forget that the goal is for the client to leave satisfied. Stay present, enjoy what you do. Love and appreciate your work, and I promise that the resulting quality will extend to the relationship with your colleagues and customers. After all, they are people who are by your side, helping you so that you can express the best of yourself.
The funniest thing in the story is that if you leave the problem to the end, you realize that it doesn´t even exist. Everything is a perception and the way we judge that perception is what creates our reality. Reflect now that a job in a well-done room has its difficulty.
Thank you very much my gourmet friends and until the next story dedicated to the restaurant professional.