Leaving one world for another

I tried to write at home today, but I was so distracted by the beautiful weather outside my window and the guilt that instead of sitting with my computer in my lap on the couch, I ought to be either out in the weather, or working out. So now it's 10:45 pm, after close at work, and I am stealing a bit of illegal internet usage from Qdoba. I figure now that my official notice is in, there's really no consequences. The work is done, employees gone, it's just me here, listening to the Muzak, enjoying a silent, clean restaurant. 

I haven't felt much like writing lately. I've sent my acceptance letter in to my new job, awkwardly not telling anyone except my boss here. I've got a little more than two weeks left at the restaurant, and I'm both excited and a little sad about leaving. Ironically, things are going better in the last two months than they ever have here. Kate, my boss, was in the store the other night and after walking around, checking out the cleanliness, operations and the like, said sadly "Laura, everything's finally like it should be and now you're leaving." It was actually a compliment, running a Qdoba is not easy, and right now I've got a great mix of people on my staff that basically make everything happen. I am actually at the point where I don't usually have to run around all day long to get things done, because they get done for me. I enjoy working for Kate immensely, she's the kind of person I would like to emulate – intelligent, knowledgeable, amazing people skills and comfortable in her own skin.

Although things are going well here (which is basically what I have worked toward for the last year) I have few regrets about my decision. Perhaps if this period of relative peace and tranquility had come about three or four months ago, I would have never started looking for a new job. But I still believe it's a good move in the long run. I still can't see myself as a restaurant manager in the future, unless I was working for myself and had decided to make the huge investment and sacrifice of opening something myself, in which case I would also reap more of the benefits of my hard work. 

I also have thought during this process about Kate, who has a 12-year-old daughter who is clearly equally smart and full of personality as Kate, and I am amazed at the hours she puts in as a single mother. Sure, she has support and baby-sitters and deals with it quite well, but I cannot even imagine being married with a child and working the kind of hours I do. And she works more than I. I also know that despite things going well, any day best employees could leave with little or no notice and things would totally go crazy again. There is constant turnover, constant change and rarely a dull day in restaurants.

So I've come to the conclusion that even if I was working in the perfect restaurant for years, I would still, in the long run, rather do something else. I used to say I could never work in an office. Sitting in front of a computer all day, talking on the phone, it used to scare me, but I'm kind of looking forward to a bit of peace and calm at work. The way my new job is structured, I will be very motivated to perform well in order to impress my customers and therefore gain more referrals and sales, but at the same time, I will work out of an office, with three other women about my age, one of whom also left the restaurant world for this job and says she loves it. It's going to be a big change on my lifestyle–sleeping habits, relationships, body–but I'm ready for it, I think.

Today my assistant, who doesn't know I'm leaving because Kate doesn't want there to be weeks of speculation and freaking out about who will replace me, asked me if we could get some help one weekend in June because she needs off and so does one of our shift managers. I had to quasi-lie and say, oh, I'm sure we can work something out.. but it was awkward, I want to tell her, but I know the news will spread and everyone will be talking about it in a matter of hours. Restaurants work like small-town high schools in that way, everyone knows everything as soon as its leaked, so I've got to be smart in order to actually tell the people its important I tell before they hear it from someone else.

I just counted that I have nine shifts left as a salaried manager. I can't believe it. Nine more days to plan, nine more shifts to direct, nine more days to worry about controlling all the stuff that goes on in these four walls. I will actually be staying on very part time as a shift supervisor, something Joe (who I wrote about before) is doing. I think it'll be fun to come in once or twice a week for five or six hours, run a shift, work hard and then go home, not having to worry about all the other stress. The little bit of extra cash will be nice, but really, I can't imagine myself quitting this business cold turkey.


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