As they say, “good things come in small packages,” and that is definitely true about my work schedule! Each week I am scheduled from anywhere from 5-20 hours, but it is usually on the smaller end of the spectrum. While this is great because it gives me time to earn money and have a social life, I’m starting to LOVE going to work!
Now that I have met all of my coworkers, I’m no longer in the awkward “newbie” stage. Sara, my friend from DU who got me the job, works almost all of the same events (there are usually around 10-15 people per event) so we have a lot of fun together. I’ve also made several other friends and we all go out to the local bar if we get off before midnight.
My average shift goes something like this….
4:15: Arrive, use the fingerprint scanner to clock in, change in the locker room into my uniform of black slacks, white button down, red tie, magnetic name tag, and a shin-length apron.
4:30: Eat the free pre-shift dinner in the common room with all of my coworkers. We usually watch strange spanish award shows or classic movies like Home Alone – unless Spenser, the football player from Texas, demands that we change it to the NFL channel.
4:45: Everyone goes upstairs to the kitchen to start the pre-event duties like filling 100 water glasses with lemon, ice, and water. Most recently I had to prepare all of the cocktail trays.
5:30: Guests arrive. If it is a small cocktail event, I may either be walking around, taking and delivering drink orders or walking around with a plate of appetizers. If it is a large event that includes dinner, I am cocktailing for the first 90 minutes before dinner is served.
7:00: If dinner is being served, I’m usually on a sync team. This is a team of 5-6 people who walk in a line and carry the plates of food out to guests and then place it in front of each guest at the same time, hence the term “syncing.” This is simultaneously the most stressful and least stressful job of the night. While there is a sync leader who leads the team to each table and gives the head nod of when to drop the plates, it is unnerving because it is extremely formal and embarrassing if you accidentally drop a fork (which several people do per event) or if someone has a weird request/problem with the meal. However, there are usually at least two separate sync teams and it is always fun to create a playful competition. We (usually only Sara and I) come up with cheesy slogans like “Sync Team 1 is #1!” and “Sync Team 2 is right for YOU!”
8:00: Once we serve dessert, the fun begins. Now that the stress is over, we all go back into the kitchen and celebrate by eating lots of leftover food and joking around. This is usually about an hour of “do nothing” time. Sometimes we will polish silverware, but usually we sit in the common room and eat while watching TV and chatting.
9:00: Each event is usually followed by some sort of dancing or music for the guests. Since we don’t have to serve any more food, our only task is to stand around and clear empty dishes. Since everyone is slap happy by this point, we all start dancing while working and kidding around even more. Sara and I are usually the ones who dance the most and the guests LOVE it. They’re always trying to pull us onto the dance floor. Just last weekend, a guest approached us and invited us to go to the after party! The DJ even chatted with us and played our request of “What Does the Fox Say?” which is a silly viral song from a band from Norway.
11:00: After the guests leave, we have to do the “reset” which is setting the room up for the event scheduled the next day. It is a fair amount of manual labor, but the guys always take the heavy stuff while Sara and I continue to provide the comic relief. Even though I have only worked 4 shifts, it already feels like a small family and I’m totally comfortable around everyone.
12:30am: Depending on the day/time, some of us will go to the bar after work. We went to the local DU bar on Friday and it was great to see everyone in street clothes! My favorite part of being forced into a new group of people is finally achieving the level of comfort where you don’t have to worry about what you say. Just like in Portland, I’m now sad that I’ll eventually have to leave all of these awesome people.