Life of a Restaurant Manager: Social Life

22Jun10

The social life of a restaurant manager can be a very unusual beast.  Mine is very much like a pink unicorn–mythical.  It does have something to do with my nature of being an introvert.  But there are other things that come into play.

First off, think about the sort of activities you often will do with your friends.  You go out to restaurants and bars.  The most popular times for socializing are also the busiest times in my business, so guess what?  I’m working instead of socializing with friends.  During the times I am not working, most of the people I know that are also not working are other restaurant managers.

While this doesn’t sound bad on the surface, you run into the subject of what to talk about.  A lot of people will talk about their jobs.  Well, in my case, if I’m hanging around with other restaurant managers, all I’m going to hear are happenings that sound remarkably similar to what happened to me.  How many people after working 50-60 hours want to spend another several hours listening to stories about your own job?  I want to hear about different things.  I also have enough of an ego to want reaction to my stories to be “Really?  You’re kidding me!” instead of “Yeah, that happened to me last week, too.”  I want to hang out with people who are different from the people I already spend a third of my week with.

My work schedule also causes problems with trying to have a social life.  We do have a schedule for the managers that is written a month ahead of time.  Unfortunately it includes some hourly supervisors who also regularly work general staff positions.  The staff can request time off with as little as a week’s notice.  If enough people request off on one day it can sometimes require the entire week’s schedule (including managers) to be completely re-written so unless there are firm plans in place to do something, I can’t really justify keeping the rare Friday or Saturday night open.  And it also happens that sometimes the need is great enough that even with plans in place we’ll get told “Well, you’ll just have to change those plans.”

Once the final schedule is posted for a given week, it’s usually pretty safe to count on specific days staying free.  I even have scheduled hours for my working days.  But the hours I’m scheduled for don’t always match up with what I actually end up working.  The restaurant business is different from many office jobs–if I just leave at my scheduled time the work isn’t just sitting there waiting for me to do it tomorrow.  Most of the work is the guests.  It doesn’t matter if I’m scheduled to leave at 5:30 if there is a line of people at the door, I’m expected to stay until they are taken care of whether that be 5:45 or 7:00.  So that leaves me reluctant to make any plans for evenings that I work (5:30 would be the earliest I would ever be scheduled out–other days would be even later).  If I have a later shift, I’m disinclined to schedule something beforehand because then I find myself repeatedly looking at my watch to make sure I still have enough time to get home and get ready for work.  I can’t relax and enjoy spending time with my friend.

I’m not sure how to improve the situation with my social life.  How to find new friends?  How to find usable time?  Or with being a 40 year old introvert, is it pretty much too late and I need to be content with Twitter and Facebook?

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