Sharp Learning Curve Ahead

May 8, 2011

I like learning. Really, I do… Mostly when it involves books. And privacy. When I run off the rails of a sharp learning curve, it’s much better if not many people are around to stare at the flaming wreckage.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work that way.

Today was my second training day at my new job in a restaurant. Now, I’ve never waitressed before, and I don’t eat out a whole lot. Lots to learn? Oh my heavens, yes.

See, the first day actually went better. It wasn’t too crowded, and I followed the “real” server like a puppy, fetching and carrying and beaming when I did something right.

Today was different.

To start, it was much, much busier. There was a party of ten, and most other tables were filled. To make things even more hectic, this little bistro only has ONE server on at a time. You read that right. ONE. One to grab more dishes, serve, reset, bus, and train me.

Stress rose rather quickly.

Since it was so busy, my training devolved into crash courses. I thought it was okay at first, still glowing with confidence from the day before.

Then I broke a glass.

In front of my boss.

He was really nice about it, helped me clean it up, and told me not to worry about it. Which was good, since I was ready to cry.

Little did I know, things would get worse.

Apparently, I’d screwed up about half the credit card payments that night. And in today’s plastic world, that’s a lot of payments. They fixed it in the end, but it involved several phone calls, including one to the credit card company, a lot of impatient customers, and a tip pool that was certainly fudged.

All my fault.

I think the only reason the server on duty didn’t strangle me is because my scrawniness and wide-eyed innocence makes me look like I should be in high school.

Basically, I crawled home about ready to die. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to manage when it’s just me on the floor. I think I could be a busgirl or assistant, but a full server? I don’t know.

This is the part of the post where I would normally say, “But it’ll be okay, because I have a positive attitude and I’ll work hard!”

Maybe it’ll be okay. Hopefully.

I’m afraid. I am so afraid for when I’m working the floor alone. There’s one more training day, and that’s it.

Agents’ and editors’ rejection slips don’t look so bad now!




  1. This post rang too true with me! I was promised training in my job and when I turned up for my first day they just told me I’d have to learn as I went along. It took about 3 months for me to relax! So every time I messed up I’d just say to myself: ‘you don’t want to be here in a year anyway. Chill out.”

    Great post, as ever. I hope the job picks up, as I’m sure it will!


  2. Only 3 days to train you in all that! You were doing credit cards the second day! If you ask me, the people only giving you 3 days of training are asking for problems – nobody could learn all that that fast! I used to work at a bookstore and it was definitely a week or two before I was allowed to do anything with money without any supervision. Well, anyway, don’t be hard on yourself. There’s lots to learn, and whatever happens it will be a great life experience to fuel your writing. ;-]

  3. Kind of unrealistic on the owner’s part to think a person can be fully trained in such a short amount of time. And I know this won’t help right now, but everything that goes wrong makes a good story later. Remember to breathe. To pause in that stressful moment for a deep breath so you can remind yourself that you can do this. And you can.

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