Notes on Inherent Dignity from the Service…

The last restaurant I worked at was a new oyster bar run by the group that owned several of Chicago’s most popular establishments. There’s a special kind of pressure that comes with opening a restaurant and that pressure usually translates to high demands and low pay. For instance, management required us to use miniature Moleskin notebooks, and I naively assumed that an off-brand miniature notebook that looked like a Moleskin was sufficient. That was cleared up when a manager asked to see my notebook on a routine inspection. He flipped through the pages of my off-brand Moleskin, slammed it down on the bar, and then berated me in front of the whole service team. I can deal with that kind of treatment if I’m making a living wage, but I often walked away from shifts with less than $70, which was less than minimum wage in Chicago. When you add that to the emotional stress I carried from losing my job after being ejected from evangelicalism months earlier, you can imagine the struggle I faced to keep a positive attitude on a given Friday night while scraping half-eaten coleslaw and horseradish off guest’s plates in the dish pit.

Read →