Lookin' Good at 58

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sometimes People Just Tip Me Like Crazy

The other night wasn't a particularly busy night. It was coming near the end of Spring Break with the next day everyone returning back to normal. Kids going back to school and the parents who were on vacation back to work.

I got sat a two top. They had an enjoyable meal and left me just over $30 on a $142 bill. Not a bad start I thought. Then I got sat an 8 top. Their bill came to $428 and change. The guy who was paying had $500 in gift cards. On his last gift card he had $71 plus change left. He said it was for me. Not bad I am on a roll I thought.

Then I got sat a 6 top. They left me $50. My final table I got sat a 7 top. My last table of the night, my 4th table and that guy left me $81.

So after tip out I walked out of there with $187. Not bad for 4 tables. Sometimes things just go your way. In fact all weekend was pretty good. It is nice to be rewarded.

*  *  *  *  *

On a health update I finally got my bone marrow biopsy results. My appointment was set to meet this hematologist at the Cancer center in Kitchener. Fearing the worst because of the location I was resigned to the fact that I had leukemia or lymphoma. 

I was waiting in the doctor's office and was overjoyed to find out that in fact I had no cancer. There was no imminent danger. Despite the relief they are still not sure what it is they are going to do about what I have. So yesterday I had to do some blood work and they took 14 vials of blood. I see the doctor again in 6 weeks so let's hope with the good weather making it's way here as Spring arrives my life will return to some normalcy.

I should start blogging a bit more often as well now that things have settled down for me.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bad Blood

Yes I know I have not blogged in a week. Unfortunately this past Sunday I was at the hospital all day.

For those of you who do not know my immune system does not have enough WBC in it to fight infection so I come down with a sore throat often which turns into a fungal infection.

Now I did get a bone marrow biopsy on January 30th but still waiting for the results. My blood has bad reading written all over it so it is easy to see what I am down in and high in but the thing is no one can fix anything until they know what is causing the cells not to function properly.

So when I go to emergency it is like a cat and mouse game when the doctors do not know what to do because they do not know how to fix it permanently. Instead I get a prescription for $182 to fix the fungal infection which is fine but soon there will be another infection until the source problem is located.

The cells could be stuck in my enlarged spleen for example. No one knows. That is until the bone marrow biopsy results arrive. Meanwhile I have CT Scan done on throat, x-rays on throat and chest, ultrasound on liver and spleen, HIV test, Hepatitis test, and of course numerous blood tests.

Sometimes these test can be up to two months until they come back. I thought perhaps if there was no hurry to get back to me that was good news. I was told by the operating doctor it would be 2-4 weeks.

It is a bit of a pain but now that I know it may take a couple of months when it comes in that will be the day it comes in and there is not much I can do about that. The problem is each time my throat gets it I cannot eat well so I lose weight. I was just gaining back some weight after the last session then it happens again.

It has been really since January 1st since I felt 100% and here it is March already so hopefully we get this straightened out soon and I can enjoy the summer. For those of you who are hematologist out there here is some results from last month. I know there are worse out there but here is mine.
You may need glasses to read this but you get the idea by the HI and LO

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Choose Where You Want to Live

It appears more and more each day that one has to be prepared if the jobs run out where they are living. Working in an occupation that does not provide any flexibility will make you prone to a sudden closing or layoffs  and then where do you go from there?

A lot of manufacturing plants have gone the way of the dinosaur and fled to other countries leaving the worker who was depending on that one place to feed his or her family wondering what to do next. Or, in the case of the oil fields here in Canada a sudden glut in oil occurs. The price of oil drops like a rock and immediately oil production stops and huge layoffs ensue leaving the worker with less income and big bills to pay.

This happens all the time. Then these same people complain of having a rough ride and how the company or government will not help them out.

The only way people can be in control of their future is to choose a career that you can take with you wherever you go and do it that well that you will always be in good demand. That means continuously educate yourself and gain the experience.

For example, even though the hours can be long in the hospitality industry one who works in the profession will always have the choice of where they want to live and work. Make no mistake companies are always looking for the best and will do the work visa for you if needed.

I mention long hours but anyone nowadays knows that working long hours sometimes is what you have to do to reach the top. Working is easy if you are passionate enough for it. A doctor is no different. Long hours but look at the rewards of higher income and saving people's lives. In a sense working in a restaurant can be no different. Service is making other people happy. Then you get rewarded.

So maybe in retirement I should head to a warmer climate to escape the winters here. Now that would be an idea wouldn't it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If You Want to be a Chef

Here is something to think about if you are thinking about taking one of those expensive cooking courses to get some knowledge on food preparation.

I will make my point in the form of a story. You know my last post I wrote of all the education one has to go through in order to be an anesthesiologist. It's necessary because there is no room for error.

Well to be a Gordon Ramsay here is what will happen.

The conversation of the wannabe and a famous chef.

Wannabe : Chef I don't know what to do. There is this course that cost $20,000 over two years that I can take. If I don't take it and I start working for you right now where would I begin?

Chef: You would start peeling potatoes.

Wannabe: What about if I took the course and came back two years from now where would I start then?

Chef : Ssme thing. You would start peeling potatoes.

Wannabe: So I may as well start peeling potatoes and save me the $20,000 then.

Chef: Yes you can start now. Here is the paring knife.

The moral of this story is if you want to work in the kitchen save your money and pick your restaurant and start peeling. This business you learn on the fly. If you want to make a career of it do it this way and cut your learning curve.

If you want to do it for a hobby spend the 20 grand.

Find that mentor.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An Anesthesiologist Makes $600,000 a Year in Toronto

Okay I knew they made a lot of money but that much I did not know. This professional is the one who comes to talk to you before your operation about what he/she is going to administer to you in the way of drug so you will not feel any pain during and after your operation.

The anesthesiologist is the person who gives the patient the most drugs of anyone and must be well trained so that he gives the right one and the right amount. His dosage has to be exact. More dosage and it could kill you and too little you can feel a lot of pain.

Their training takes many years. As well as going through medical school they work another few years internship and during that time they get experience in critical care units. They learn pain management, resuscitation, coronary, and other life saving procedures.

Then they have to write an exam to be a certified anesthesiologist and to do their craft.

You might be wondering why I bring this subject and profession up. Today there is much emphasis on STEM. That is SCIENCE - TECHNOLOGY- ENGINEERING - MATHEMATICS.

The well paying careers of tomorrow will be under one of these. I do not see RESTAURANTS or HOSPITALITY. Yet the biggest growth industry nowadays is the service industry. The one where someone can work the most and make the least pay per hour.

This is because it is so easy to enter. You do not need an education to do it. I should  know having taken only a bar tending course for $48 at the time. Manufacturing is also another industry where you start on an assembly line and work your way up. Those jobs are going quickly and being replaced by robots that do not make any mistakes like a human would.

So why do we need more immigrants to come to Canada you may wonder. Well when is the last time anybody went to the doctor here and he/she wasn't Indian? They are excellent doctors but I never see a Canadian doing the operations anymore. My doctors are all Indian and the one who did my hernia operation was Indian and although my bone marrow biopsy was done by a Canadian he was set to retire.

STEM is where it is at nowadays. They are trying in schools now to get the kids to be interested in the sciences. I always tell my oldest boy who is in Grade 10 take the science and math courses and do well in them. He may discover later that might be the way to go. At least know them.

In  my opinion if a young person skips STEM courses look forward to a bleak future. Even a construction foreman has to know mathematics to erect a building.

If you are thinking of a bar tending course today just starting out like I did, skip it and if you can get help or take a government student loan make up your mind and specialize in either one of the four above.

It may take longer to get your certification but it will pay itself off quickly. Either that or live your life working long hours at many jobs for menial pay.

The choice is up to you!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Think It's Time to Start Another Book

Lately I have been pondering the idea of writing another book. My first book was all about my travels upon taking a bar tending course. Some people have asked me when the second part is coming out but I do not think I will write a follow up to it as after I got married there were a lot of things that I did that are bit of a blur.

The next book may incorporate some things I learned during this time but to do it in chronological fashion would be difficult because a lot that went on job wise did not last that long. So to remember it all would be too confusing for me to recap.

I may just write a book on what I have learned from my experiences. I have had the opportunity to observe how people act under different circumstances from a sale's person and waiter's perspective. Each chapter would be on a different topic.

Basically a book on human behavior. Psychology has always interested me so along those lines.

In other words when someone says something what do they really mean? Using examples of guests that I have served in the past and people I have met.

Could be interesting...

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Difference Between a Waiter and a Manager

In Canada it seems like if you are a manager you have always worked longer hours than a waiter and if you were to take the wages of both on a weekly basis we will probably find that on an hourly dollar average for sure a waiter makes more money.

Now back in the day as I mentioned on a previous post when a waiter worked full time at 40 hours a week that would amount to a lot of money when you add in all the tips you would make. But nowadays most restaurants will only hire part time meaning that a pay check for a waiter might only add up to 40 hours every two weeks making it harder to earn a living at just one job. So you have many waiters working at a full time job during the week and moonlighting at a waiter job part time at night.

Unlike a full time waiter 30 years ago where being a waiter was a full time profession a part time waiter nowadays only waits on tables for some extra cash and many enjoy the social benefits that go with it. A lot just spend the tips and socialize heavily after work either eating or drinking their tips away. Live for today and besides they have their real job during the day. Most waiters today are single unlike many years ago when you saw more married. This is simply because the way the system is set up now what married person who has a family to support would want a job that is 20 hours a week and up and down as far as income is concerned. That meaning busy vs. slow times.

Now a manager who works more hours who might might start at a lower take home pay than a waiter is thinking more long term. This person knows that once he/she gets into management that there is a ladder upward and is looking at the Hospitality Industry as a profession and that in a few years not only will they be making more as a general manager for example or hotel director they will also have the benefit package such as medical, dental, vision that for a family is a big bonus. Did I say most of the managers out there are past the party stage and probably in long term relationships. Not all married mind you but settled. They tend to go home after work to another life whereas the waiter's social life revolves around work because everyone they know works when they do not and is off when they are working. Thus the reason usually a waiter will meet and go out with someone at work.

What I am saying is because the industry has changed so much it might be better now to head straight into management. Pretty soon there is a chance the waiter may just be replaced by technology anyway. At airports now some restaurants you just order your meal off an IPad then someone brings it out to you when it is ready. Hardly work enough for anyone to leave a tip.

So by golly if you are looking for a career in an industry that is booming take a degree in hotel / food and beverage management. Wait a bit on tables and tend bar but as soon as you can get into a hotel or casual fine dining establishment and move through their management training program because the opportunities are limitless. Work anywhere you want. Live in a warm climate, skip the winter etc..

Work on cruise ships like I did. I wrote about it in my book.

A waiter is short term and there only a short time because who can live on 20 hours a week? A manager is there long term and securing his future with good pay and benefits. That is the difference.

After spending a long time in the industry if I was starting out at 20 years old again in today's environment I would get in with a big company and move up quickly. There are no ( I know of one) jobs that you work full time hours anymore as a waiter or bar tender.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Something That Drives Me Crazy

One thing I don't get about people is their total lack of patience.

The thing that gets me the most is when you are clearing the table of their main course and they ask if we have a dessert menu.

I always reply back yes we do but I first want to clear your table before I give you a dessert menu.

You know one time I am just going to come out and say it. No we do not have a dessert menu and see what they say. Tell them that unlike many restaurants we only serve a meal up to the main course and if you want a dessert well you came to the wrong restaurant.

Diners please let us clear your table first and you will get your dessert menu I promise.

Another thing that happened just last night actually was I had this table of two and I said I would be right back with water. The lady mentioned she wanted some water to which I replied again I will be right back with the water. Her husband then mentioned that he would like some water as well.

What did he think I was going to do bring water just to his wife and not him? Why would he think I was only going to bring her water after I mentioned I will be right back with water? I felt like saying don't worry I will not forget you..

Anyway I will be back with a more interesting topic tomorrow. It is just these two things stood out for me last night during service.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Compliment That I Got Was a Strange One

As some of you know I had some health issues during January. So I was happy just to be back at work. Well on Saturday I was working and serving this couple celebrating their 40th anniversary.

I think I heard him say he was 64 years old and I just had my birthday and turned 58. I work with a lot of younger people more than half my age. I look my age or maybe a couple of years younger.

He asks me if I go to university here in Guelph ( a university town ). I said to him well thanks for the compliment. Then he continues on saying it seems like every time he comes here to eat he is being served by a university student and wondered if I was going as well.

I thought he was joking at first but he was dead serious. I couldn't believe it!

I wonder what he would think if I dyed my hair black?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Two Things That Have Changed Since the 70's in the Restaurant Industry

Back when I started in 1979 two big differences have taken place.

The first one is back then there were full time waiting and bar tending jobs available. It was viewed as a full time job and not part time like it is now. I worked in a hotel for 44 hours a week as a bartender. Now there are hardly any hotels that have a dining room anymore, and if they do have one, because of the choices of where people can eat they usually are not that busy. Casual fine dining spots back then were not on the top of any one's mind as a place to eat because there were not that many around.

At best nowadays all a hotel or motel will offer is a continental breakfast where you help yourself and there is one attendant there to make sure the coffee stays hot and the croissants are replenished. In fact due to a lot of cut backs with regards to business expenses a motel will often situate itself beside a restaurant chain store so their guests can eat there.

Part time is big today because to survive people need two jobs. Work during the day at one and wait on tables at night. All the work out there is part time.

The second one is when I started there were hardly any women bar tending or waiting on tables. It might seem unbelievable to think of now but back then it was all male waiters and bartenders. Usually Europeans bringing their craft over here. Not a lot of Canadians worked fine dining either. I cannot remember in fact working with many of my country men.

Now you see more women than men working waiting on tables or behind the bar. Why is that? I think one reason is the Europeans all retired and no one followed up behind them. There was no one who wanted to do fine dining. Thus as I mentioned in my last post that fine dining is on it's way out. Not that no one likes fine dining but the difficulty is finding good staff to perform the job tasks.

With the casual fine dining restaurants taking over the helm it is more about systems than knowledge. This is so people with hardly any waiting or bar tending experience with some training can do the job. McDonalds is a bad example but their employees say, "would you like fries with that" as part of their training. The individuality is lost where it used to be abundant.

However I digress from my second change. Women have a much nicer personality. They are earning a good income that may be a good second income or primary income in the family. Men back when I started were a lot more confident than they are now. Their role used to be clearly defined in the household. Now not so much.

I could go on but those are just two of the things I see that has changed over the years. Part time as opposed to full time and more women have taken the lead working in the industry.

My next post will be on why everyone seems to be single who work in restaurants.