I've decided to leave blogger and move to my new site at Wordpress. I hope you will all please update your links and keep reading me at my more personalized, prettier site. Thanks for sticking with me.


a potential new blog-home

hey friends! I have been looking around for a new blog site. Nothing against blogger, but I am tired of all the themes and when I tried to change it with a customized theme, neither I nor my brother could figure out how to make it work. I played around with wordpress tonight.. so check out my potential new site there please. Leave a comment if you like it. Click here to see it.


Joe moment

A freak thing happened in my restaurant starting about two months ago. This man came in on my assistant manager Joe's shift. He ordered food, and Joe, being who he is, provided exceptional customer service, above and beyond what this particular individual expected of his fast-casual experience. The man sits down to eat, but before he leaves, he slips Joe a piece of paper, with his name, title and phone number. He tells Joe something about the company where he is a VP and states that they are looking for good people to train for management positions.

Joe and I are friends, we worked together at the store we were both at previously, and he had recently been transferred to be my assistant manager. He was not looking for another job, but was disappointed with his current pay. So after the customer talks to Joe briefly about his company, Joe is pretty skeptical. I mean really, who does that? Nevertheless, there is no harm in calling, talking to the guy, seeing what this is all about. So he calls, sets up a time to talk to this customer/company VP, and discovers that the guy is legit. He is really a vice president for a high-end equipment support and maintenance company that is currently led by a select group of near-retirees. The customer/VP is looking for energetic, young leaders with great people skills. Joe has a degree in education and a few years experience in day care and restaurant management. No business experience in sight. Nevertheless, they love him, and after several weeks of interviews and meetings, they hire him to do sales and marketing with the intent to train him into a future VP.

This is a true story, and when Joe gave his two weeks notice last month and told me this story, I was disappointed, but so happy for him. Joe is a great guy, something great happened to him, and he deserved it. He got lucky because he happened to make this guy's burrito. I hope in ten years he will tell his kids this crazy story about how he got started a company he's then helping run. I have to say though, that I was also uite a bit jealous. I had been the one wanting to leave my job, and had been starting to look around a bit, and then found out Joe was leaving. I wondered why some people got so lucky in life and why it wasn't me. I felt a bit sorry for myself here and there, wondering why no one ever offered me a job after I rolled their burritos. I'm pretty much over it now, but I talked to Joe the other day and he said that he's excited to go to work in the morning, and when he leaves, he thinks, "wow, that was a great day." No late-night phone calls, no wierd hours, no food prep, no cleaning. Sounds amazing.

I have spent my last few years as a restaurant manager, and though there are many things I love about it, I don't feel like it's possible to sustain the energy level needed with the amount of stress that it puts on all areas of one's life. I'm starting to understand why some of the people I see in the restaurant industry seem bitter and burned out and hating their jobs. Maybe they started out really intent on doing something good and meaningful for their employees and customer. I don't want to be 30 and feeling stuck in my career and totally burned out. And that's really where I am heading. So U-turn, interviews coming my way, I hope something works out soon. I wanted to tell the Joe story because I think it's pretty amazing, and speaks to the idea that there still are people taking chances on people for reasons other than their resumes. And for a neat little conclusion....

Friday a late-20s prefessional woman came into the restaurant. It was not busy and I noticed she went straight to pick up a catering menu. I went to see if she had questions and explained our options, showed her the correct store phone number and chatted with her for a minute. She introduced herself, asked for my name, and thanked me for the information. A little while later, there was a phone call for me, and it was Crystal on the phone, explaining that she was the person who had just been in to inquire about catering. I said of course I remembered her and she thanked me again for being so friendly and helpful when she had stopped in. She said I had gone out of my way to help her and the reason she had thought about it was that her company was going through an aggressive expansion and seeking "sharp" people to join them. I actually almost laughed, but instead responded that was was defintely "keeping my options" open and interested in speaking with her about a job. I actually don't think it's going to be something I am seriously interested in, but how could I pass up reacting to my own Joe moment?


Some of you have expressed some interest in my job search - probably in order to avoid more ranting posts about the restaurant industry. Believe me, I understand; I'm way tired of talking about it. Anyway, my interview the other day went great. I got to meet with the customer service supervisor, as well as the other women who have the same position I am applying for, as well as some other people at the company. They were all great. I still don't want to go into lots of details in case I don't get it and then feel dumb and more disappointed that I blogged in detail about it... but, I did get a call back today, and next Wednesday I am going to meet with one of the owners who deals with their international business side (where I would be working). Very exciting. For now, I'm sitting down with some lava cake (first time, so delicious!!!) from my husband's restaurant, a glass of riesling (not my first time) and Breakfast at Tiffany's (the movie, first time). Thanks for all your good thoughts this week.


nuggets of confusion

I want to first direct you all to Matt's most recent post. Done reading? A few years ago, Matt, his wife Sara, as well as fellow blog-friends Mary, Jon, Cory and others were all students in Madison. At some point in all of our college careers, we were part of a large evangelical campus Christian group. This group's main goal was to evangelize (convert) people on campus, and then disciple (train) them to become good Christians. I credit this group with a lot of stuff in my life. It helped me grow. It tore me down. It built me up. It produced severe doubts about my faith.

Here's what I am really trying to express in this post -- contradiction, confusion, a sense of no longer knowing what is right and wrong. A few years ago I was a person who fiercely defended what I believed to be right. I hope I was never a mean person, but I used to debate my newspaper friends about their lifestyles, beliefs, approaches to faith, etc. I would say things like, "God loves you infinitely and perfectly, but He doesn't love that you underage drink." And today, in March of 2006, I believe little of what I did back then to be important. I still believe in God, but probably not in the Bible the way many Christians do, as an inerrant document from which you can pick and choose phrases as they suit your arguments.

My relationship to faith and religion in the past few years is love-hate, black and white, completely gray and confusing as hell. I grew up in a world where discussing issues of the soul, faith, politics, inner issues wasn't exactly the norm. I went to college and things changed a lot. Perhaps the world changed, people changed, but I can't view things as black and white as before. I used to be so sure, perhaps because I was taught in church that it was very important to be sure about things of faith. Occasionally someone would speak in a positive light about "doubting" Thomas, but usually it seemed we were supposed to be take the Bible at what it said, love God, and do what was right. Perhaps I thought that if I had doubts that I would be that wierd person who didn't fit in in church and therefore didn't make friends with the cool church people.

What I have noticed lately is that a lot of people seem to be having a struggle related to Matt's. So many people take issues with bits and pieces or big chunks of what they were taught as a child, yet still want an experience like church in their life. We want community, we want discussion, we want companionship, perhaps worship. But if the chuch is not a place where like-minded people with similar if not nearly identical beliefs gather, then what is it? Is it possible for the church to gather in all these stragglers, who can't say they believe that the Bible is word-for-word true, or that all Hindus and Muslims are going to hell, but still want to be in that place? I understand completely that I could go to church. I am never going to be a "seeker" as we call people checking out the faith, and always somewhat of a cynic, but then I think, why go? If all I am going to do is judge everything that seems fundamentalist, why should I show up just to be disappointed? Then I think, maybe if I were to find a church with a lot of people like me, but that doesn't exist, so I need to stop looking.

I grew up in a mega-church where there are a lot of amazing people and a lot of good things happening. I believe their priorities are generally in the right spot. There are many well-meaning, intelligent people there. However, I don't really believe the same doctrine as their statement of faith. I crave authenticity and am not sure I want to involve myself in a place where I cannot express my real doubts about our society, the world, the church, the Bible without having people ridicule and disregard me. The ironic reason that I believe this will happen is because I know back a few years when I was quite zealous and caught up in "being a Christian," that's what I would have done with myself. I would have met me, figured out I had some issues with Christianity, and probably considered me someone not to be involved with. I know how judgemental I was (am?). I know that it's hypocritical to say what I am saying, but I don't know how the church works filled with people who believe their way is God's way (the right way) and mix in a few people like me. If a church has a statement of faith and doctrines and things that they hold to that hold it together, how do you dissent from that and remain part of it?


a light?

I keep using my blog to complain about work, and even I am getting really tired of hearing myself complain about it. I am sick of sending resumes, re-writing objective statements and customizing my cover letter for the umpteenth time. I've almost given up. I think I am a qualified person with many good skills, but I think most employers just want to find someone with the same exact experience they are looking to plug said employee in, and therefore aren't looking for career-changers like myself. I do have a fairly promising interview Wednesday that I am pretty excited about, but no details lest I jinx it. Okay, I don't believe in "jinxing" at all, but I still think it's not helpful for me to think about the ramifications of actually getting a different job right now.

I have thought extensively about the general situation of leaving my current job, and that's unfortunate for a few reasons but great for others. I would really be leaving my immediate supervisor in a jam, and I respect her and like her immensely. We have a lot in common and would be very good friends if we met in other circumstances. I would also be sad to leave a lot of my staff in my store, but there's lots of turnover in restaurants, and few of my employees likely feel as loyal to me as I feel to them, so that can't be a concern. All I know is, I am burned out, and days off and the odd three-day weekend are not helping, so its time to go. I really want out of the food industry, because I think I would be good at many other things, but I've got to convince someone of that. Think positive thoughts for me on Wednesday morning.