On Being the New Girl

Posted on Wednesday 25 July 2007

I usually detest the first two weeks at any job. I grit my teeth and will them to be over and done with, knowing I will feel so much more comfortable at the end of them. I count on making my share of mistakes, and I fully take advantage of the very slim window that allows “the new girl” to make them, even as I hate that I make them.

I hope to get through these first two weeks unscathed, then feel like I can almost joke around with some of my coworkers. At the end of two months, I look forward to feeling like I really get it–knowing the regulars, understanding the ebb and flow of the floor’s energy, reading my GM’s moods and knowing when he’s stressed or not pleased, reading the other managers’ moods and knowing what it takes to support them, too.

It’s weird here, however. On the one hand, I feel like I could step in tomorrow and run the door and the podium and the private events, if those trying so hard to train me would just leave me be to sink or swim. Because I am pretty sure I’d swim just fine. I may appear so nervous when they are around, but I am so not nervous when they step away for a minute.

On the other hand, I am terrified at the thought of simply being tossed to the lions. On the other hand of that, I’ve only known the lions in my other restaurants, but I discovered their growls are much worse than their bites. Or, that when the bites occur, they heal pretty quickly, usually by the next shift.

Which is why, I guess, this feels weird.

I am actually being methodically, purposefully trained–intentional or not–first by the daytime lunch manager, next by the AGM. And they are both excellent managers and trainers. I know from the good and the bad in this arena, and the two people I have spent the most time with, as I have worked doubles these past two days, are as good as I’ve ever worked with in DC. And here they are, as am I, in this much smaller resort town. But they could easily be at the top of the heap where I came from. They each are of vastly different characters, but they each approach their jobs as I would. This has been such a pleasant surprise, as in, “Wow, I already do/did that. Wow, I must have been doing something right all this time, before now.” Validation by example of a manager in the new place, even if I am the only one to recognize it as such, is the greatest form of flattery.

No, I may be used to the lions, but this experience away from them is sort of good for me, I suspect, even if it feels a bit unsettling. Of course, right now, everything feels foreign, literal cultural worlds apart.

I am the new girl. I loathe the first two weeks of any new job. So how come the first two days of this one were almost soothing?

9 Comments for 'On Being the New Girl'

    July 26, 2007 | 8:48 am

    Sounds like this new restaurant is just the place for you. it’s so wonderful to find a place that’s just right. I think people forget that you spend the majority of your waking time at work and going to/from work. If it’s not a good place for you, it will affect everything else.

    Thanks for the post today. I’m sick and it was just the “chicken soup” I needed.

    July 26, 2007 | 12:08 pm

    I’m a long time reader of your blog – this is my first ever comment (to any blog). As such, I don’t have much of a right to say anything but I really do think you are wonderful writer and person. I’m sure you’re a great restaurant “whichever position you happen to be in”.

    I was rather surprised by your recent move but what do I know about your life anyway? Are you really in DC?

    Anyway, wishing you the best.

    July 26, 2007 | 2:57 pm

    how come? –because good things happen to good people, that’s why!

    July 26, 2007 | 3:12 pm

    My take on it.

    The first couple of days went well because it felt good to be “back in the saddle again” the restaurant industry is something you know well. So stepping behind the podium feels good, now it’s getting to the nuts and bolts of the day to day operations for this establishment.

    I know how you feel about training. I will never question myself or my skills more than when I am at a new job with a trainer standing nearby.

    July 26, 2007 | 9:22 pm

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