As an adult, most of the time you have to work to get it all done. Forced to leave your home each day and go deal with the Real World. It can be ok, but doing other stuff always sounds better. In order to make work tolerable, you develop your “Work Family.”
I have a big work family, because it isn’t just the people I work with, although I certainly think of them as my family. I spend more time with these people than I do my own family, I think that is true for a lot of people. I have a bunch of very regular customers who have become my family as well. Particularly my Monday night gang, but I have others I just love to see walk through the door any day of the week. That’s a thing you don’t get much of outside of the service industry, other than some retail jobs.
I am going to talk specifically about the Monday Night group. I work mostly day shifts, but I have always worked Monday nights at this job. So in 9+ years I have developed some relationships. I have Randy and Opal, they usually make it in first. They bring in vegetables from the garden for all of us, because she grows too many for the two of them. It is sweet, and very appreciated! And around holidays we get candy, and treats. If they won’t make it on a Monday night for some reason, they let me know ahead of time, so I don’t worry. Randy is having a sinus surgery today, and I am thinking about him, hoping it goes well and I will not worry if they don’t make it next Monday, he is supposed to take it easy after, although I doubt he will.
Then the group that sits at the bar, some eat, some don’t. Jaime comes in, and so do Charles and Monica, and Audrey and Jim. Audrey and Jim are an older couple, and he likes drinking his beer and watching sports while Audrey talks to everyone! She brought me some soup the other night, which was delicious!! When I had kidney stone surgery a couple of years ago, she came in a snowstorm to bring me soup and flowers to my house. I smile every time I think about it, my moms have been gone many years, it was nice to have someone fill that role a little bit.
Charles and Monica are fun. Charles is a Bears fan, but I can generally let that go most of the time. They have brought me candy too, and they are a hoot! When they come early enough, they have some good conversations with Audrey, and with Jaime too. All of them met through the Monday night family I am building.
My little family of Lori, Brian and Layton come in too, usually around 6:30. Lori and Brian have been with me on Mondays from the beginning. When they were expecting Layton 3 and a half years ago, I was on vacation for his due date time. They texted me on vacation when he arrived. That makes you feel like family! He is a pretty good kid, a little rambunctious sometimes, but he always makes sure I get a big hug before he goes home. They also will let me know when they won’t be in on a Monday. I have my regulars well trained.
There are several others that visit me on Mondays, and I appreciate them all so much. The treats and presents I get are a bonus, but they mean so much to me, that I am important to them. That they think of me when they aren’t at the restaurant. I know about their families, they share vacation pictures with me, I get to be a part of their life in a way.
People aske me how I have been able to do this job for so many years, because I sure do bitch about it some days. But it is simple, it is the people and the relationships I have gotten to be a part of. It is the best part of the gig. Going to work is not a huge chore for me most days. Leaving home to go be with my “family” makes coming home rewarding each day.
To my many friends, well, family I have made over the years at Solea and other restaurants, you have improved my life. You make me feel loved, and important. I feed you and get you a little jag on, but you give me so much more. Just let me know if you won’t make it for your “scheduled shift.”