Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Working mama

I started working outside the house last July, I love my family and spending time with them is one of my favorite things to do. But it was time for me to get out and work again. I needed to do something out side the house, both for me to get a break from the daily grind at home, but also so I could feel like I was contributing financially.

I started out working at this really great banquet hall as server. I got to work some amazing parties,weddings, corporate gatherings,etc. I loved the job, most of the people I worked with were pretty awesome, the money was good, and best of all the hours were perfect. My boss was great about working with my schedule, and still getting me decent hours. Sadly right after Thanksgiving something stupid happened and I had to go on my way.

Maybe 2 weeks later I landed a new job at this great restaurant again as a server, and occasionally a bartender. After I was there about a month in a half I was given the position of floor manager.On top of serving, and the occasional day behind the bar, I was now responsible for the scheduling of the floor staff, deal with staff issues from petty arguments to discipline,interviewing and hiring servers, and scheduling and running banquet parties. I loved it, and for awhile I was making good money,then decent, then not so much worth leaving the house.

But while I was still working at the restaurant I finally got a call for the school district I applied to last year. After an amazing interview a background check and finger printing I was hired as a Substitute Teachers Aide (ParaPro). I've been working for about a month now,a different school everytime and only about once or twice a week. I have to say I love it though, the kids I'm working with are amazing and sweet and so so smart. I'm almost always in a POHI class or one on one Aide to a special needs student. The hours work great with the kids, and I'll get the summer off with them too.

I ended up leaving the restaurant early this week~ you can read more about that here ,I intend to find another serving job asap. But for right now I have to wait until some issues with the hubs employment are worked out.I look forward to being able to work full time again.

As much as I loved my years as a SAHM I really enjoy having something outside that's mine. I'll always be his wife, and his/her mom, but now I get to be Becky too. I also love that after years of feeling like The hubs was the bread winner, I've been able to add to that,and feel like it was ok to do something or buy something (within reason) without asking. For my own sanity not to mention what's best for the family I am now and will continue to be a working mama.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When to discuss what topics with your youngins

When is the right time to talk to your kids about drugs, sex, violence, bullying, political issues, etc? At what age are each of these topics appropriate? There's no manual that pops out with that beautiful little bundle to address these issues, and of course different people have different views on how to handle them.

My approach so far has been to handle each topic as it arises. When one of my kids have questions I figure out the best way to answer them for whatever age they are to give them the information they are inquiring about without giving them more than they can handle at the stage their at. Sometimes it's a question that brings about the conversation, but something that comes across the tv before I can get the channel changed or the radio station. However the conversation comes about my main goal is to be honest and informative without overloading my kids with the craziness of the world to early.

It's getting harder with the princess though. She recently turned 11 and I noticed were having more and more conversations that I thought I had more time to get ready for. The sex talk well it's been had and continues to be had, since it's been turned into a series of talks, not just about sex but about her body and the changes she is going through and what she will continue to go through over the coming years. As well as what is appropriate and inappropriate touching, attention, etc.

I was working in the little princes class one day when another mom I'm friendly with stopped in, we started talking and she mentioned her other son (who is the same age as the princess) recently started questioning her about weed. She was at a loss and didn't know how to handle it or what to say. She thought she had more time. Not anymore. Kids learn earlier and earlier about things our generation didn't know about till at least our teens. She asked me what I thought. I told her she obviously didn't have a choice now if he's asking she needed to sit down and discuss it with him. Explain the differences of the different types of drugs, and how some are far worse than others,that even medication and alcohol are drugs, and that no matter what none of them are ok for kids. Regardless of if it made her uncomfortable he's asking and she needs to be honest with him and address it, before he goes else where for answers. Because that's really the worst thing we can do to our kids is make them think we don't care enough to talk to or listen to them when they have questions. Because they are resourceful little buggers and they'll get answers, answers we may not like, answers we or they may not be able to live with.

The princess and I have talked about drugs, not a lot of choice in my life. We've had a few addicts in our lives (more me than her, I've managed to shelter her from seeing the ugliness I've witnessed) But it has affected some things in our lives and she realizes that. She's questioned things that the only way I could explain was by telling her the truth of those addictions. I hate that she has to know these things. But at the same time I hope that she listens and learns from the mistakes of those that came before her.

What is your personal approach to these talks? What was the hardest topic of conversation you've faced with your kid/s?

How not to run a restaurant

I'm not now, nor have I ever been a restaurant/bar owner. However I have worked in enough to know a thing or two, on top of being blessed with a fair amount of common sense. So when I see something that isn't going to work it's either from experience working in the field or just plain old common sense says that's just not cutting it.

Up until a few days ago I worked in a restaurant that I can with 97.9% positivity guarantee will not be open for more than another 6 months. It's to bad because the owners have put a ton of time and money into the place, unfortunately they don't have the experience or knowledge to keep it open. So here's a list of how not to run a restaurant if you want it to be successful and stay in business.

1. Don't~ wake up one morning and decide since you love food you should open a restaurant.
Do~ Do your research and when you think you know everything and you're ready to open a restaurant, stop and research more. Learn every little thing you can from successful establishments that have been open for several years.

2. Do~Know what you want from your establishment. Decide on a theme and work with that theme.
Don't~ Try to be everything to everyone. If you're a bar than be bar, of you want to be family friendly, then go with that,fine dining, etc. You can not be a fine dining restaurant the is also a sports bar/family place/party bar/banquet hall//.

3. Do~ Come up with an original menu with a decent selection and a signature item or two.
Don't~ Have a novel for a menu, to many items and so many things can go wrong. From the kitchen to the servers, a large menu is just asking for trouble.

4. Do~ Make sure the menu has a nice layout with easy to read script and prices, as well as a description of each item and what it comes with.
Don't~ Use crazy colors that make the menu hard to read.

5.Do~Have one person in charge of all ordering of supplies.
Don't~ Have several people ordering different things, this is when something gets ran out of at the worst possible moment.

6.Do~Make sure if it's on the menu that it's available.
Don't~Put anything that is not constantly in stock on the menu. Save those things for daily specials.

7.Do~Make sure when hiring staff that you check into their references and prior employment whenever possible.
Don't~ Hire people with absolutely no experience and throw them into their job after a day.

8. Do~ Make sure you know all the rules, regulations, and laws in regard to pay and treatment of staff.
Don't~ Break any of those rules, or laws.

9. Do~ Involve your family in the business, if they're able to contribute in anyway.
Don't~ Bring your family issues or unruly children to the job. Both of those things spill over to your customers and staff.

10. Do~ Treat your staff with respect, courtesy, and honesty.
Don't~ Take your stress out on employees, yell or demean them, or lie to them.

11. Do~ Make sure you pay your staff on the day that pay is due. They don't work for free, and yes bartenders and servers receive tips, but pay should be given on time every time regardless if they're a tipped employee or regular paid employee.
Don't~ Make employees ask for their pay, not pay them on the day you specified was payday when they were hired, or tell them about your money problems as an excuse for not paying them on time. If you can't afford to pay them, then let them go or close your doors.

12.Do~ Pay employees according to the job they do. Floor managers should be paid more than the bartender and other servers due to the amount of work they do.
Don't~ Pay all employees the same and think that you will keep quality people on staff. Not paying fairly is a sure fire way to make your best staff, someone elses best staff.

13.Do~ Have a employee hand book and complete training system in place for new hires.
Don't~ make the rules up as you go for either, or allow an improperly trained person on the floor.

14.Do~ Have open communication with staff and guests.
Don't~ Send mass texts to employees regarding issues you have with one or more of them, berate them, or to address a change in rules or a grievance.

15.Do~ Be as polite and accommodating as possible with guests, if an issue arises do everything in your power to make it right.
Don't~ Comp an entire tab for one or two complaints, when just taking the offending item off the bill will suffice.

16.Do~ Advertise, everything from coupons, yellowpages, news papers. Any where and everywhere to get the name out there.
Don't~ Stick to one area when advertising,or wait till the last minute to put the word out about a special event.

17.Do~Let the customers see you, and from time to time personally take a minute to greet them and thank them for their business.
Don't~ Get in the way of servers or bartenders trying to do their job, while you are making your rounds, and don't hang around the customers table/area of the bar conversing with them unless they clearly want to talk to you. Most people are not entering your establishment with the purpose of hanging out with you. They are not your friends they are your customers.

18.Do~ Listen when a complaint is being made about a member of your staff.
Don't~ Yell at or chastise said staff member in front of anyone else, staff or customer.

19.Do~ Listen when someone whose been in the profession for longer than you has something to say, or a suggestion on what may make things run more smoothly.
Don't~ Think you know everything and the person talking to you is beneath you because your the owner.

These are just some of the basics.If I sat here long enough or asked others I know who have worked in this business I could easily list another 20 or 30 dos and don'ts. But you get the general idea.

Have you worked in the food and liquor industry? If so what would you add to this list?

So here's a little update/add on. After talking to a really good friend whose also been in the business. Again there's probably several dozen more that could be listed. These are just the ones that come to mind from places we've worked, places we've patronized, and stories we've heard from others.

20. Do~ Hire enough staff to cover the amount of business you get, as it gets busier make sure you have enough people for those times.
Don't~ Have less than the necessary staff on your busiest nights.

21. Do~Make sure your building is up to code and well maintained. This includes being anal about hygiene, cleanliness and sterilization.
Don't~ Allow your kitchen to be a pit, allow tools such as coolers, dishwashers etc. to fall below regulated temps, or for the bar area to be anything less than pristine.