Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crimson Crustacean Revisited?

Sacrifices need to be made here.  I understand completely that if we are going to make this whole Total Money Makeover thing work, it is absolutely essential that I get a summer job to replace (and hopefully exceed) my substitute teaching income.  Considering that my availability is Monday thru Friday from the butt crack of dawn until 3:00 pm and my skills include teaching writing and bringing people food, it is pretty clear I need to find myself a second waitressing job for the summer.  It just so happens that I live about an hour away from a massive tourist town, Wisconsin Dells.  Throngs of people flock here every year to experience the waterparks, roller-coasters, and to see the rivers and hills if they come from an area that doesn't have those things.  The good news is that all those tourists need to eat.  Yay for me and finding a summer job!

Here's the problem.  I interviewed for a job on Wednesday at Cracker Barrel.  I nailed the interview, hit it out of the park.  The other manager was on an important company call at the time, so I wasn't able to be informed as to whether or not I had earned a second interview, but I'm already conflicted about how I feel about this job. 

I've worked in a corporate restaurant before.  I won't come right out and say the name, but let's call it the Crimson Crustacean.  There were rules, lots of rules.  Rules about how your hair could look, how your nails could look, and about the specific style of pants you wore.  We had pre-shift meetings called "Crustacean Talks."  (At the restaurant I worked at previously, they were "Learning Celebrations."  See the pattern here?)  They told you what to say at a table and not much room was left over for individual personality.  There were trainers, shift managers, store managers, general managers, district managers, and beyond.  I felt like poor Peter Gibbons in "Office Space" with 8 bosses asking what was up with his TPS reports.

Actually, "Office Space" is a perfect metaphor for my job.  Remember Joanna's manager at Chotchkie's?  That was my manager at Crimson Crustacean, only mine looked like more of a troll.  I'm dead serious.

I made great money at Crimson Crustacean, but I hated my job.  I still remember asking Evan to hit me in the face with a tack hammer so I wouldn't have to go to work.  A lot of the servers I worked with were wonderful and I am still friends with a handful.  I just couldn't deal with all the baggage working for a corporate restaurant came with and now I'm facing the decision of re-entering that world again after 4 years of working at a casual, family-owned restaurant where my individual personality is celebrated rather than discouraged.  Even at the first interview, the manager rattled off all the regulations they enforce - earring style and size, where the creases should be in the apron and pants, how many rings are allowed (one on each hand), acceptable hairstyles, "server absolutes," the fabric the shirt must be made from, etc.  I could feel the corporate noose tightening already and I hadn't even been hired yet.

Can I really suck it up and suffer through another round of Chotchkie-like hell?  Even if it is just for the summer?  Is it worth it?  Or do I roll the dice and turn down the job if it is offered to me and keep looking for something a little more my style?  Offer your sage widsom, please. 

P.S.  If you recall how Joanna finally quit her job at Chotchkie's in the movie.....well, I wanted to do that several times.  I don't really like talking about my flair, either.

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