Friday, April 27, 2012

Quitter

This post effectively ends my run as 'Dining Rumor' for the foreseeable future, and I feel as though I owe some sort of explanation.

Firstly, there are a few strictly personal reasons that interfere with the time and effort with which I am able to contribute to this blog.  One is simple:  I am in the process of making some living arrangements that are going to interfere with accumulation of and knowledgeably writing about the service industry chit chat going on around town -- ultimately, I'm going to be out of the loop.  The other reason is a bit more complex, and honestly none of your damn business.

In addition to that, I'm also making moves to get out of the service industry, as much as it is possible.  I've been doing a little freelance writing, and while the income isn't something I can live off of, I enjoy putting my schooling to use.  There is a certain measure of contradiction in the fact that I will no longer be writing this blog because I am trying to be writer, I get it.  At any rate, I'd feel as if I wouldn't have the right to author a blog like this, not working in the service industry in the same capacity anymore.  If I tried, I wouldn't have the same street cred; I'd be living a lie! A shame!

The biggest reason that I'm a quitter comes down to my profound disillusionment with the service industry in Buffalo over the last couple years.  My inability to make any headway as a Person of Value, or someone that warrants treatment as a human being from customer and employer alike has not just been crushing me, but really putting limits on my ability to pay bills, live independently, and generally survive.  As much as we, in "this thing of ours," like to bitch about customers, we know that it comes part and parcel with the job -- it's all, to some degree, a little bit tongue in cheek, despite all the affectations of outrage we like to adopt.  But when you get more respect from a public that is often on its best day some form of pleasantly apathetic and ignorant than you do from your own bosses, who should know better....burning out is going to become an inevitability.

I'm bitter because I was ready to love it; service industry work is the only thing I have on my resume, and while I'd never dreamed I'd spend the rest of my working life in a restaurant as a child, I'd started to get comfortable with the idea.  There is that element of uncertainty that my untamed streak craves:  meeting the challenge of an unforecasted busy night with my fellow co-workers as a team, celebratory late night drinks, the next day's hungover tales of debauchery.  Not to mention that if food is the new entertainment thanks to celebrity chef TV and foodie culture, restaurant work becomes slightly more respectable.  And if this was what I was going to do with my life, why not really own it?

After recounting a recent string of job mishaps, my bartender friend told me, "Maybe you should try another line of work."  At first, I was indignant.  This is what I DO. Are you implying I'm not GOOD at it?  He wasn't.  I'm no all-star;  but I know what I'm doing and I provide solid service.  We'd worked together, so he knows just what my strengths and weaknesses are.  He wasn't telling me I'm not good at it.  But if I was as qualified as I am and I still can't make things work for me, maybe "The Universe" was trying to tell me something.  Maybe I should start looking at other options, use that college education, get out now before I start flipping tables on customers and kicking busboys in the nuts.

He has a point.  My laughably bad luck was perhaps a sign -- maybe not a divine one from on high, but the signal of a trend.  And I'd be stupid not to listen.

Of course I can't just up and quit the industry in a huff.  I'm not real qualified to do much else.  It might take a couple years to make a full transition, and I might never be out of it completely.  But I can't stake my life on something so unreliable; despite my eagerness, it just won't ever look out for me. 

If the same bitch breaks your heart enough times, eventually it's your own fault for stickin around.

AMF

~DR

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