Chronicles of trading in Corporate America for a waitress's apron during my very own quarter-life crisis.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Language and Behavior: Cubicle vs. Kitchen

I've had some time to think about how my professional environment has changed, and here's my take, in a nice little table as an homage to my former office job:

Out of coffee
Waits for the administrative assistant to make coffee.
Makes coffee while loudly complaining about someone taking the last of it.
Project is taking too long
“Have you… followed up on those reports?  Okay.  No, that’s okay.  So how’s the family?”
“Where are we on that salmon?!” or “Table 53 won’t fucking leave.”
A mistake is made
Performs and documents remedial action(s); fills out paperwork in an attempt to implement further preventive measures.  Gets manager to sign forms.
“My table said the steak is too spicy or whatever.”  Gets manager to comp a meal.
Busy day
“I know you scheduled this meeting with me three weeks ago, but I am just sooo, sooooo swamped...”… leans back to check company iPhone that has no notifications on it.  Then, “Can we… hmm… can we mayyyyybe table this discussion until next Thursday?”
“I am in the fucking weeds, can someone help me?!”  Seven servers and two managers rush to assist.
Friend gets promoted
“Oh!  Oh.  Well, that’s great.  Congrats.  So will you be taking an office and everything?  Oh!  Oh.  Well, that’s great.  Will you still be assisting on the Anderson draft with me?  Oh!  Oh… Well, that’s great.”  Rinse and repeat. 
“You’re gonna be a fuckin’ manager?!  Holy shit!  So can you get us free drinks and stuff?  Do you have to wear, like, real clothes?!  Ew, gawd, and you have to be here like 14 hours a day?!  Ohhhhh my god, that sucks for you, dude!  Oh, but, you know, congrats or whatever.  Hey, Jenna!  JENNA!  Omigawd, Jenna -- Ashley’s gonna be a fuckin’ MANAGER!!  Hahaha, sorry girl, it’ll be okay…”
Pandora, elevator music, and whatever your apparently deaf cubicle neighbor listens to on their headphones.
Dining room:  Contemporary pop that makes you want to shoot yourself and Faith Hill.

Kitchen:  Mexican polka that makes you want to shoot yourself and music in general.
Bring a sweater
Bring deodorant
Manager wants to talk to you
“It sounds like the company is undergoing some changes.  Is there a procedure in place or in process?  I can help guide the department in a certain direction.”  Or, “Oh, there’s a fire drill today?”
“So… I’m just cutting up a bunch of limes, then.”  Or, “Oh, I didn’t know Table 80 was ‘VIP.’  Guess I shouldn’t have waited ten minutes to put in their order.  Why didn’t you fuckin’ tell me?”
Getting engaged
“Great, HR wants me to fill out some ‘Change of Name’ form.  For every…single…thing I do here.”
“Thanks, girl!!  Yeah, here’s the ring.  Thanks!!  Yeah, he’s awesome; we’re excited.  Oh shit, my apron has a huge stain on it.”
If you don’t have an amazing cafeteria that serves you a meal at a subsidized price of steak, asparagus, and roasted potatoes with a choice of salad, soup, and dessert… all of it for about $5… don’t fret – you have an entire hour to find (and eat, in peace, with friends if you want) whatever you fancy outside the office.
A kid’s meal at a 50% discount that you Hoover while standing next to the walk-in freezer and a mountain of trash bags.  In the meantime, you were just double-sat.
Control freaks
“I think we should note that this action item has been flagged as priority for the North Carolina location, so perhaps I should get my team on this to ensure prompt facilitation regarding the requirements.”  Also see:  throwing people under the bus, stealing projects, not comfortable with someone volunteering their work because the control freak is afraid that the person will start to look good (hi, Maggie).
“Uh, did you just take that money off my fucking table?”  Or, “Why should I tip out the hostesses?  They didn’t do shit tonight.”

As for customer control freaks:  DO NOT try to take things off my serving tray to mimic a “helping hand,” because it really just tells me that you've never held a tray in your life; plus, that tray and its contents will end up in your lap, because physics.
You’re late to work
“I was looking over areas that may be systematically problematic for the global implementation of this process and trying to think of a diplomatic approach.  … Yes, while I was driving here.  Why?”
“Couldn’t find my fuckin’ car keys, sorry.  Is my section clean, at least?”
“I’m becoming a paralegal,” “I’m getting a Masters in biomechanical engineering,” “I’m getting certified to be an auditor for the FDA,” “That’s Dr. Hager to you, herherhehrehrhehrehrhrh”
“Omigawwwwd, you guys, I’m so fuckin’ tired.  I had a class today at like, 1:30.  Suuuuuuckssss… you wanna close for me?”

(Yes, the stereotype is mean, and I’m one of those waitresses who wouldn’t mind a post-grad degree, but this is the majority of the co-workers I’ve experienced in the last 50,000 years.) 
“Did you see the game last night?”  “Which one?”  (Thinking of The Office here.)  Lean against the water cooler and discuss March Madness until your next meeting or Windows update.
… what?  Sorry, I couldn’t hear anything sports-related because a customer was just bleating “More chicken wings!” as his mouth spat chipotle sauce, beer, and blue cheese all over my fucking table.
Physical appearance
A combination of “like-I-could-give-a-rat’s-ass” and “I enjoy wearing sweater sets.”  No make-up, business attire, the occasional fun shoes. 
Clean, composed, contoured.  I usually go full-on with makeup at TGI O’Chilibees, unless it’s like, lunch on a Tuesday.  Sorry, Tuesday lunch crowd, but I didn’t use an eyelash curler.
Problem with a manager
“I’m gathering that the company is putting a lot of pressure from up-on-high on this project, and I’m concerned about the exposure that the resistance is receiving on your end.  Furthermore, can we please schedule some time to hammer out some of the details?”
“Would you finally fire that fucking hostess?!”
Staff meeting description
Quality System Administrative Management Associate Review Board
Happy hour


  1. Haha these are great!! Definitely some big difference there, but I can definitely tell the restaurant job would make you laugh more ;)

    1. Yes, food industry language is a bit more... colorful. ;)

  2. I've seen these 2 true

  3. I have another to add:

    conflict management between co-workers

    HR manager: "after reviewing your written complaints I would suggest the two of you refrain from verbal contact and communicate only through memos. After this project ends you will not be assigned to work together again."

    GM: "both of you, in the office RIGHT NOW. The two of you better find a way to get along IMMEDIATELY or you're BOTH FIRED. Are we clear on that??"

    Seen it a few two many times, and my government worker drone friends regale me with the conflict management stories they see. Stuns me. cynthia

  4. Replies
    1. Or, "All action items were implemented successfully"? ;) Thanks Jas!