How to make the most of your food service job:

1.) Use your employee meal to the fullest extent. Come in 10 minutes before your shift and get a scramble wrap with double eggs and broccoli and cheese and turkey bacon. Shove it into your face in a very unattractive way.

2.) Offer to take the leftover egg whites from breakfast. Eat them for lunch with pesto sauce. Then eat them for dinner mixed with soy sauce and rice from your rice cooker (the only kitchen implement you feel comfortable using in this house). Eat them as a mid-afternoon lunch/dinner post work meal with half and avocado and the part of the block of cheese that didn’t get dried out when you threw it in the fridge half wrapped.

3.) Balance that out with 10-20 mini cups of whatever smoothies have leftover bits. Consume these whenever manager isn’t looking. Develop a reputation as a person who will shamelessly accept anything left in the blender.

4.) Or use your employee meal to get oatmeal now that you have eaten so many scrambled eggs that you never want one near you ever again. Modify the menu item until it is unrecognizable and no longer the low calorie option it’s meant to be. It now has cocoa malt and double peanut butter along with the acai and banana. It is better this way and the people who order it “as is” are fools.

5.) Agree to every shift they offer you and say yes to every position available even the bad ones. Wipe tables, clean toilets, drag drippy trash to the back of the kitchen, politely pretend to not be offended when people talk loudly on the phone about how much they hate the new menu. Let people call you ‘darlin’ and ‘sweetheart’ and don’t cringe when the founder of the restaurant comes in and, when asked if he wants to double his eggs for two dollars, says, “yeah double my pleasure” with a wink. Wash the window even though you know someone will put a handprint on it the minute you turn around and go back to the counter. Stand at the front of the store and offer to answer “any questions about our new menu” even though nobody wants to be bothered.

6.) When Jason asks if you smoke weed, nod subtly in case managers are listening. When he offers you edibles from his backpack, accept the offer, but put them in a sauce container instead of eating them. Then feel obligated to go to his play because he gave you free drugs. Take a bus halfway there and then an uber when you realize its the only way to arrive on time. Use the comped ticket he offered you because he didn’t have anyone else to give it to. Sit on the hard pews of the church and try to

          a.) tell apart the 10 different skinny white boys with beards overreacting

          b.) look engaged and thoughtful when Jason makes eye contact

          c.) laugh at what you think might be a joke in the script, even though the acoustics                       are so bad that you are never quite sure what anyone is saying

          d.) not text. There are only 10 people here. Everyone will notice if you text.

          e.) not die of boredom. It is hard. Time has slowed down in this church and you are in                 purgatory.

Leave at intermission with guilt but no regrets.You do not deserve the punishment the second act would be. Jason will text you and ask why you left. You will try to be gentle but honest. The next day he will be sulky and give you the silent treatment and for a while. You will react with disgust and dismissal. Then you will decide to be a bigger person and you will apologize. Like a switch being flipped, he will immediately light up and tell you it is no big deal and he is just glad it is over. You will try to remember this positive experience the next time you feel uncharitable.

7.) Flirt with every man woman and child that comes in the restaurant. Not only will this improve everyone’s customer service experience, it also, if done right, will result in a Pretty Woman style cinderella story in which a very rich banker/lawyer/venture capitalist is so entranced by you that he overlooks your silly uniform and marries you. (I can’t yet confirm the success rate of this strategy because current data is inconclusive ((read: no data)))

8.) Realize that the moments when you hate your managers are the moments they call you on your mistakes. They are not bad people. They are totally reasonable for telling you to put away your phone or do a check of the dining room. They are paying you to be here. Suck it up and be here even when no customers are.

9.) Convince the higher-ups that  you are their peer through witty banter and interest in their jobs. Try to be so charming they forget that you wear a tee-shirt and baseball cap to work while they wear button-ups and leather shoes. Working your way up to the top of this company is a good plan B if seducing a venture capitalist doesn’t pan out.

10.) Tell yourself again and again like a mantra “Protein bar is not forever. There is time. There is time.” It is easy to worry that you are treading water instead of swimming forward but at least you are in the pool now. Jumping in was an important step and it’s okay if it takes you a while to begin movement in the direction you want to go. “Protein Bar is not forever. There is time. There is time.”

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