Yesterday I decided to take a little afternoon nap. Not out of the ordinary on a Sunday, but then I woke up in a panic from a dream. It wasn’t a scary slasher kind of dream or a sad dream where someone gets hurt…it was worse…it was a server nightmare. If you know, you know.
If you have never worked in a restaurant, let me fill you in. I would think at some point in everyone’s life they have a dream about their job. I mean, why wouldn’t you, you’re there for a big part of your life, I’m sure a scene or two has flashed through your mind while you slumber. But there is something altogether different about the server nightmare.
It can be about so many different things and it can hit you at any time. Nobody escapes it, from the newbie all the way up to the seasoned pro. If a server claims they have never had one…well…I would say they have just blocked it from their memory banks and someday, it might come back to get them.
The dream could be something as simple as forgetting to bring a side of ranch dressing to a table or showing up to work without your uniform. Or it can be very elaborate like mine usually were. Back in the day, I usually had one about once every two months.
I worked in the restaurant biz for about 15 years as a server. I came over from the hotel side of hospitality to learn the other side and I just stayed. I have a love/hate relationship with being a server. I loved meeting my guests and talking to them. I loved the people I worked with (for the most part, LOL) and I made decent money for the number of hours I actually worked. But through the years, it got the better of me and everything would set me off. I had quite the reputation for being angry at work. If you ever saw the movie “Waiting”, I was a bit of a Naomi in the workplace. It was time to go and this past September I said goodbye to pursue other things, like this blog.
My nightmares usually involve me being at work with a full section, but not being able to actually function while I’m there. I float through the place and talk to my guests, but I never bring them anything or I try to ring in the orders but can’t read my own writing on my server pad. I am always in slow motion and when I get back to my section my guests are just gone. I wake up in a cold a sweat and have to lay there for a few minutes reminding myself it was just a dream before I get up.
In the four months I have been out of the restaurant game I have not had a single dream, until yesterday. In this dream I decided to go back to work, and it was my first day and everything was different. We now had computer tablets for taking orders, a daily specials sheet to pick up (my restaurant doesn’t do that, because the menu is already 20 pages long), there was some sort of log we had to carry around to keep track of our regular guests. It was horrible. I didn’t know anyone there, but they had all heard of me. Then my old general manager rolls up in her car inside the place and I go over and tell her I made a mistake, and I didn’t want to do this. She told me it was too late, and I had to work the shift. That’s when I woke up. I just sat there on my bed in a state of shock and confusion. It was the worst server nightmare I ever had.
I know why I had it. When I left, my general manager and I spoke and she told me I would always have a job there, but if I was going to come back make sure it was before 6 months, otherwise I would have to go through the server class all over again and I would lose all my seniority. That “deadline” is 2 weeks away. It is definitely a deadline I am going to let go by.
My time in the industry was fun and I will always love the good memories I have. Maybe I will sprinkle in a few stories here and there on the blog; I have plenty of them. I have stories of funny times at work and happy hours with my coworkers, stories of stressful times that we pulled together and made it work and sad stories of friends we have lost along the way. I would not give up any of these memories, they are a part of me that I will always have…but the nightmares…I hope they stop for good. But you never know, just when I think they are gone for good, they may just pull me back in.
***Question for the comments…Have you ever had a dream about your job? Was it good or bad?
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