You guys. I’ve worked for the same company for 10 years. I don’t even know how this is possible since I’m barely of legal working age, but the peeps in charge of that shiz tell me it’s so.
Back in August of 2003, I stumbled upon a little place by the name of The Great Dane in Fitchburg, aka “The Dane”. I had never heard of this place before, but I needed a job to help pay the rent while in college so I stopped in to fill out an application. A few days later, I had an interview. I accidentally said the word bullshit in that interview. Four minutes after I left that interview, I got a phone call offering me a hostess position. It wasn’t glamorous, but that $9 per hour was certainly not going to be the worst thing.
I was young. In fact, probably one of the youngest employees at the time. All of the older peeps loved “weird beer” and they all kind of seemed like “hippies”. To say I was out of my element would be an understatement. Not old enough to drink, not familiar with the smell of patchouli, not brave enough to try anything other than dinosaur chicken nuggets from the kid’s menu for my first 6 months on staff.
Eventually, I came out of my shell. I made friends. I became roommates with one of my co-workers. I wished that I was old enough to hang with all of those older hippies and even try the weird beer they were always drinking.
Luckily they didn’t make me work at the host stand forever. I was first made a server, and then a bartender, and then a supervisor. And somewhere in there I finished up my Meeting & Events Management degree. But unless I wanted to move to Chicago or Orlando (I didn’t) or had 2-5 years of actual event planning experience (again, I did not), I wasn’t finding a job in my field. Luckily, the supervisor role came with free health insurance. So I stuck with it.
I did “quit” a couple of times over the years, my longest stint “away” (I still worked at the Dane at least one weekend each month) was for a little over a year. And in some crazy form of this-must-be-the-place-you’re-meant-to-be destiny, another supervisor was leaving just as I started looking into going back to the Dane full-time.
I was able to jump right back into my old role, with fully paid benefits for me and a discount for my new hubby. And one year after that, I was offered a full-time management position. And as luck would have it, that management position also involved full-time events coordination.
Nearly 7 years after finishing my degree, I’m finally working in my field. In a place that’s been home for years. It’s crazy how it all came full circle, and most days I realize that this is where I was meant to be all along. Especially when our annual management trip to Playa del Carmen takes place. Do you think it’s some sort of coincidence that the management trip just happens to be to the same destination I’ve been visiting with my family for years? I think not.
The restaurant business isn’t for everyone. For the first 20 years of my life, I also thought it wasn’t for me. But there’s just something about it. The interacting with people, both strangers and familiar. The high you get from a crazy busy night, and the euphoric daze that occurs once the rush is over.
I know some day I’ll leave “the biz” for good, but for right now I’m so grateful to be where I am. Most days I actually enjoy going to work. While most people spend their days wishing for the hours to fly by, I sometimes wish the hours could slow down. And extra hour between 8 and 10 am would be just about the best thing ever.
These people mean the world to me. They are some of the smartest, friendliest, coolest kids around. Of course I have wonderfully fantastic friends from other parts of my life too, but my Dane people are some of the greatest I’ve known. So much more like family than co-workers.
I’ll leave you with my Facebook status from the day of my Daneiversary, as I think it pretty much sums up everything I’ve been rambling about here:
It’s hard to believe that ten years have gone by since I worked my very first shift at the Dane. It’s even harder to believe that a little part-time job could turn into so much more. I’m a lucky gal for having met some of my best friends, the most beautiful people, inside and out, all because of that little part-time job. My heart is bigger, my mind is wider, and my soul is better because of my Dane family.
…It’s my Daneiversary and I’ll be sappy if I want to. Love you, Dane fam!