Mundane Musings

So, working in the steakhouse kitchen hasn’t given me as much fodder for writing as I had hoped. I didn’t get as many hours last week or this week as I would have liked, but that seems to have happened to a majority of the staff. There are politics and factions and all the complications that you would find at any workplace but so far I haven’t really found any of them interesting enough to engage in. There is a Mexican vs. American thing that I am of course sensitive to, but it crosses over into a day shift vs. night shift thing, and is magnified, I think, by the the fact that the only three people who have set five day a week schedules and almost always hit close to 40 hours happen to be Mexican. The three of them were the only ones that didn’t seem to feel the scheduling cuts the rest of us did, so the resentment toward them I notice may be more about that than the fact that they are Mexicanos. But this is not high drama resentment and my curiosity is more about how I can get myself more hours.

The Director of Operations for our region told the scheduling manager, in front of me, that I should be given more hours, so I am hoping that next week I will see at least a slight increase. If not, I don’t imagine there is much else that can be done. And really it might not be a bad thing. My brother-in-law, who has been my built in babysitter for the past five months, is leaving tomorrow and I have no other childcare arranged yet. And there is also the fact that we are probably moving at the end of May. It doesn’t seem fair for me to push for more hours and then in three months pick up and move. My husband is driving an hour and a half to work five days a week. We need to live closer to his restaurant. His paycheck is like quadruple mine. Of course there are steakhouses all over. Perhaps I can transfer, or maybe get a combination of hours between the one in Cornelia and one in Alpharetta or Cumming.

I think the real issue that I need to be thinking about is whether kitchen work is what I want to keep pursuing or if I want to focus my attention elsewhere. I may have already mentioned this in a post, but 38 is not really all that old of an age to chose a new career path. If I only work until I am 65, and it seems like most people are working past that these days, I still have 27 years left in the work force. Even if you count the work I did while I was in college I am not yet halfway through my working life. There is plenty of time for me to go in a completely new direction. And if we do move to North Fulton I will be in easy commuting distance to the city and about any sort of job I might want to pursue. If all options are open do I really want to keep working in restaurant kitchens?

I am still surprised at how much I like the work. I never thought I would take to it like I have. No one else did either. It is very possible that I am still trying to prove I can do it even though no one else cares. I continue to think that once I feel like I have mastered the work it will become boring and I will want to do something else. I guess then the question becomes how long will that take. There is also the idea that though the steakhouse is teaching me how to handle high volume I am not actually cooking there. At our restaurant when someone complimented the food I could feel proud because I knew that almost everything there we msde ourselves. The guys who work the grill at the steakhouse can take pride in cooking the steaks to the guests liking, but everything else is good because the packets of seasoning that have been perfected at a corporate level. I guess we could manage to mess the recipes up, but what we’re doing doesn’t feel like cooking the same way. It may be that once I feel like I can handle high volume I will want to apply both that and the cooking from scratch I learned at our restaurant. The cooks where my husband works now do just that. I think I would like to try it. But long term I don’t know if I am willing to make the sacrifices that restaurant work requires. It will always mean long hours standing, working nights and weekends and holidays. And it will always involve lots of teamwork. I know I should try and pretend otherwise but teamwork has never really been my strong suit. Some of my favorite times at our restaurant were when I opened alone.

The other career options I think about are much more solitary pursuits. My top choices, writer, artist, illustrator, involve working alone. The other idea I am considering is to go back to college and study Spanish seriously enough to get certified as a court interpreter. That would involve working with other people, but not in a way that my performance is based on theirs. What people said would be their own issue. I would only take on the responsibility of translating it correctly. I think I would enjoy the work and it would certainly be challenging. When I was a CASA volunteer I always looked forward to going to court. It felt like I was part of something important, like I was making a difference. Though I would be playing a very different role in the proceedings I think I would have a similar sense of purposefulness.

I do not have to make any major decisions today or even this month, but I would like to have a sense of what direction I want to focus my energy by the time we leave Clarkesville. That gives me at least three months. I am so curious to know which way I will end up heading.