Very often, I receive a message from someone who is seeking advice on how to deal with a work issue. Sometimes the problem is about a co-worker or a certain customer or a bit of side work, but most often it’s about management. Restaurant managers don’t have the best reputation. Granted, it is a thankless job; the hours are long, the pay isn’t great and they are the ones who have to deal with the worst customers in the restaurant because for many severs, the mantra is “let my manager deal with that asshole.” This week, a photo showed up in my inbox from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. It’s a photo of a note that was posted by the manger after firing someone because of their availability after the server requested a different night off from the regular schedule she had been working “forever.” The note is rather surprising and I am not referring to the bad grammar and lack of punctuation. (Seriously, my kingdom for a fucking comma or a period.) The note shows an utter lack of respect for the people who work in the restaurant, The Crew in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
It is spring cleaning time at The Crew, the first cleaning job we are going to start is going to be the schedules. Anyone that cannot work as a team member, or deliver hospitality and take care of our guests will be wiped off the schedule. I would rather work short than be your babysitter also if you think your job is to cause drama and cause me stress, here’s a hint you wont be here long. Also, you work for me, I don’t work for you. You will be scheduled what the restaurant needs, not what fits into your life or plans any problems with that put your two week notice on the corkboard.
We all know that it’s important for a restaurant to be fully staffed in order to run smoothly. We get that. What managers don’t seem to get is that the restaurant is not the number one priority in our worlds. Most of us are going to put our families ahead of our jobs. It’s not like we are saving lives by running trays of wings and pitchers of beer to customers. There is this thing called a “work/life balance.” What that means is that every employee deserves to have a decent balance between their jobs and their personal lives. Some companies understand that and they are rewarded with faithful employees who are happy to work for such an understanding employer. For the the places that don’t understand that concept, like The Crew, they end up having employees who resent their managers and work in constant fear that they will lose their job if they so much as ask for an extra day off to be with their family. That’s why so many of us work this job. We like the ability to trade a shift away or ask for an extra day off.
If this employee was fired for not dropping everything in her personal life and strapping on apron to be at the beck and call of The Crew, that’s pretty low. However, it may have been the last straw for this particular employee who had other issues and management finally decided to cut their losses. We don’t know for sure. What we do know is that if you’re a manager and you leave a note like this on your door threatening people’s jobs and reminding them that they work for you, you probably don’t have a staff that respects you very much.
To that manager I present a challenge:
Try to treat your staff with the respect that you want to receive from them and see if things get better for you. Condescending, poorly written notes are not going to boost moral. If you expect them to be available to work at any time, maybe you should try to return the favor and be available to adjust the schedule when the situation arises. To complain that it’s causing you stress doesn’t make anyone care more about you. It makes them care less. Be nicer to your employees and I guarantee you will soon see employees who want to work harder for you.
By the way, before I shared this photo, I got permission from the person who sent it to me. This person also told me they did not mind if I mentioned the name of the restaurant. Sorry, restaurant…