Lookin' Good at 58

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Plan Your Future Now And Get Started

Just a little post to catch up on what has been happening lately in the waitering profession. Happy it is June 1st cause May hasn't been great.

I never liked May for many reasons. It is the time when you know that summer is around the corner and the slow days at work begin so you have to make hay while the sun shines. Sick or not sick.

The beginning of May I caught what seemed like the 24 hour flu. I missed a day off work and went back on my next shift. Mother's Day was coming which pretty much meant feeling good or no good I had to work cause the money was going to dry up later. All that week I was suffering from heavy chest congestion which meant working and throwing up stuff at work.

Mother's Day I worked. We did 968 covers that day. I worked a few shifts after then one morning got out of bed and it felt like my upper back was punched in all night. Went to the hospital to find out I had pneumonia. Well that was almost 3 weeks ago and I still have a bit of it hanging on. Throughout I have missed quite a number of shifts.

Now being a waiter I am entitled to a slew of benefits. Not!!

So just as a thought I would like to talk about planning ahead. Waitering is a lot more fun when you are single and can come home if you are sick and sleep a whole day to get rid of it. It is fun when you are single and banking a bunch of money planning your next holiday.

But on the reverse side don't forget too if you are planning to stay in it for an extended length of time and planning on having a family later on, continue working on Plan B whatever that may be. I know I know you are having a blast right now. Partying maybe , or like a co worker of mine having gone to teacher college was wondering if he should do that or work in restaurants. I told him a while back this is fun but think of your future.

Now that he is serious with a girl and probably after seeing me sick he is re applying to get in the school boards here. Teachers in Canada get paid very well I might add with all the benefits. He has come to his senses.

I did a lot of traveling while doing this profession which is why I probably stayed in it as long as I did.

What I didn't do was think of the time I would settle with someone and raise kids when I was younger.

So my suggestion to anyone waitering or bartending is if you are doing this past 30 it is time to start making a Plan B if you haven't started already. Just look around at the people you work with who are older. Look at how excited they are to be working holidays and weekends missing out on the kid's ball game and working New Year's Eve. Wow see the steam coming out of their freakin' ears! They are fired up alright!

Don't get me wrong my life is good and am extremely happy but I am not immortal. When you are younger you think you are. Things start going funny when you are older and your body can't put up with working long hours on Mother's Day. I had too cause the week after the income dries up.

If you work at a bank you get a doctor's note and you are off. Fortunately my wife gets benefits where she is or it would be tough paying for the meds.

So my thought for this post is plan ahead.... Plan your future now and get started. It is never too late but why wait till later.

15 comments:

SkippyMom said...

So happy to see you, but not so happy that you were sick. Glad to see you have kicked it. [Pnuemonia sucks! lol - I know, had it too back a few weeks ago, ick.]

I like all the advice in this - and as true as it is in the waitering world it is so true across many other lines of work too - especially if you work hourly in a seasonal job [I am thinking of my husband's employees in the swimming pool business] They are paid handsomely in overtime during the peak months - but don't even get 40 hours over the winter if they are even kept for that period. My husband tries to impress on them to save some of the extra from the high season, but inevitably it takes a new wife, husband or child to impress on them that Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and Mar are LEAN - save up those $thousands while you can [their overtime is INSANE]

Nice post - but better? Just nice to see you buddy. Much love to you and the family.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

SkippyMom...nice to hear from you and much love to you and your family too. I think I have got to the stage where waitering is good part time Friday and Saturday when you make the most money anyway. Getting sick made me think.

Marta Daniels said...

Good to hear from you! Sorry May was so bad, I got a bug that hung on for two or three weeks, but didn't turn into pneumonia.

Spot on post! In my 20s, I was raking in bucks serving, and physically invincible, lol! Now after 15 years in the biz my feet are atrocious, I wear a back brace most days to work,and I still don't have insurance! So I hope all the young servers heed your advice, and have a Plan B!

Hope you're feeling better! God bless!

Manuel said...

good point, well made...and after the week I've had/having I couldn't agree more

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Marta....the body wears out after a while and so do the guests.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Manuel...I think sometimes when weeks happen like maybe what you have had it doesn't matter how experienced you are you look around and wonder what the heck am I doing and will I be doing this 5-10 years from now. If so how will I feel about it? Fine dining is making an exit anyway. It is not what it was.

mags said...

Hope you're feeling better! What a great post - and so true. Working as a GM for many years at a high end restaurant I've seen how most service staff don't really plan for the future. That started to change at our restaurant a little bit when a 28 year bartender saved so much money that he bought 2 investment condos. Once the rest of the staff saw what he was doing they started to save more of their tips...

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Mags....I agree you gotta plant some seeds with the gratuities. Myself I would like to make waitering part time rather than depend on it 100%.

Owen said...

Ah yes, the "waitering profession" - a profession that requires no education, right? that's great....LOL....

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Owen...Ha ha the only education you get from waitering is life education. It is just what you do with it that matters.

Anonymous said...

uh...why would it matter if your wife has benefits and why would it be "tough paying for the meds" if you guys live in the paradise of free medical care, Canada? Have we ignorant Yanks been played for suckers by Mike Moore and his ilk?

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Anonymous...ugh we have free medical care but prescriptions aren't free. Don't worry you still pay to see your doctor and for visiting your hospital whereas we don't. The benefits I speak of are for prescriptions , dentists , orthotics and stuff like that where we pay a minimal amount and the rest is covered by the benefit package where my wife works. Michael Moore is still right.

teleburst said...

Glad to have you back!

Know how you feel, brother. May was a weird month for me too. You might have heard that Nashville got a flood. It was insane. 14 inches of rain in 2 days! Saturday night was when it all started. It had been raining for about 8 hours straight (and I'm talking downpour) and as I was getting ready to go to work, I noticed that my living room ceiling was leaking water. I called work and told them that I might be late, which was cool. I had to go to the hardware store to get a big battery for my big flashlight (what the Brits call a torch). when i got back, I went in the attic to check it out. I had a small hole in the roof so I grabbed a big pan and put it underneath. As I was climbing down from the attic, I slashed my hand deep enough to have to go to the local "urgent care" place for possible stitches and a tentanus shot. Didn't need stitches but had to call out of work (only the 4th time in 5 years).

Nashville was starting to flood by then and by sunday night, it was getting worse. Roads were flooded, but the restaurant was dry. We were going to close but corporate said to stay open. I went in and we actually had about 70 covers from those who were stuck in their hotel rooms. I made about $200.

Then, Monday morning I went into work and saw that the water was almost to the restaurant. Parts of downtown were submerged with up to 8 feet of water. We stayed open and I waited on two tables and was lucky enough to walk with $30 after tipout. I was told that I should stay there because much of the staff probably wouldn't be able to get in (and parking was tough because the underground garages and some of the surrounding surface lots were already starting to flood). However, I had to go make a bank deposit so I booked between shifts. I stopped home to check the leak and sit down for a few minutes when I got THE CALL. We had been notified that the local power company was going to cut the power to try to save the grid for all of downtown and that we'd be closed.

OK.

Anyway, the water kept rising and on early Tuesday morning (around 1am), the water got to the underground power control panels and power went off for all of downtown and stayed off until Friday afternoon. since I'm off of Friday, Staurday was the first day back for me.

I basically lost between $500 and $800 that week. But I was one of the lucky ones. I didn't lose my house or my life.

Finally, like you, I've been sick - borderline bronchitis. For a couple of days it was just bad hay fever but it got down in the lungs. I'm still hacking stuff up and coughing. But I've worked through it. This has been going on for about 2 weeks.

So, sometimes you have to plan for things that are completely out of your control. Thanks for reminding us of it.

Finally, one thing that US waiters should plan ahead for is taxes. They need to either save 10% of their take home tips or prepay their taxes on a quarterly basis so they don't end up having to owe the IRS thousands of dollars at tax time, especially if they make $4/hr or less.

Glad you're back! You were missed!

teleburst said...

@owen - nice snotty comment there, pal. I assume that you are one of those people who are working in a job where you had to have "education", right? Some sort of degree or certification, right? Well, did your education actually teach you the definition of a "profession"? did you think that a "profession" required a degree or certification? If so, you should get your money back. According to Webster:

"4 a : a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation b : a principal calling, vocation, or employment c : the whole body of persons engaged in a calling"

Note definitions "b" and "c".

Even the first part of definition "a" applies to waiting tables, especially if you working as a food server as a "profession" and not just as something to do while you're studying to become a plumber or a lawyer.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Teleburst..Hi buddy listen I had the same cough and hack. Go see a doctor about it if you haven't already please. I thought I was fighting through it and woke up one morning with a real sore upper back. If that shit gets in your lung it is a bitch to get rid of it. I know you have had it rough and lost some income but your health is important. We are not spring chickens anymore ha!! I kinda noticed you haven't posted as often and when you are feeling like that you feel like doing not much. Sorry for the worried reply but get a chest x-ray. You have had a difficult May with floods and that. Take care, Teleburst.