Daily Life · Relationships · School tips · Work

Socially Acceptable?

Lately I’ve been thinking about social norms. Mainly because I was asked by a customer the other day what I think the biggest challenges facing women in the management workforce are. It’s a good question. Great actually. I really had to stop and think.

He and I continued to have a discussion about what the differences between men in management and women in management are. I’ve always enjoyed sociology and psychology when I take those classes. However the reality is that it doesn’t just permeate our society when it comes to management, it’s embedded into our thought process.

Gender stereotypes are weird when you think about them and heaven only knows when they started or where they came from. A great example: Pink is considered a feminine and girly color, while blue is considered a manly color. Interestingly enough these colors began as the opposite. Red was considered a manly color because it mimicked the color of blood and blue was considered feminine as it mimicked the color of flowers.

There have always been small gender stereotypes that we have allowed but the big ones are the ones I want to address today.

Guy Land – is a great example of how far we have allowed boys to fall within our society. Back when America was first being settled men were younger and more mature. They had to be. Now it is considered acceptable for men to stay in the mindset of drinking, partying, and having no responsibilities for a longer period of time. Many people love to watch the movie “Failure to Launch”. The reality is that it simply sums up what our society tolerates and calls “Men”. Like wise it’s become acceptable for people to say that if you cry, if you show any emotion besides anger, you are not a man – you are weak. However if you are a woman and you show anything like this – you are considered to be nothing more than a bitch.

It’s interesting to me how it is easier for men to get promotions, respect, and others never question their emotions in a situation or decision.

If you have ever heard the song “The Man” by Taylor Swift – you will understand what I mean. While I know society is changing and things are becoming better for women in the workforce, they are still very much opposed to women being in power. This song does a great job pointing out the differences between men and women.

Within our society it is thought that women are weaker due to being more emotional, though in all fairness i’m not sure that’s true. Society tells men to bottle their emotions – to be emotionally constipated. While a man might be considered being “strong and manly” by his friends for that, it makes it harder for women to relate to him. Yes there are times where it is nice, but lets be honest, people need relationships – they need to emotionally connect with each other. I’ve copied the lyrics for “The Man” by Taylor Swift and put them down below.

“I would be complex
I would be cool
They’d say I played the field before
I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay
For me to do
Every conquest I had made
Would make me more of a boss to you
I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads
And question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
What’s it like to brag about raking in dollars
And getting bitches and models?
And it’s all good if you’re bad
And it’s okay if you’re mad
If I was out flashin’ my dollas
I’d be a bitch, not a baller
They’d paint me out to be bad
So it’s okay that I’m mad”
The Man by Taylor Swift
Here’s my total ending – we all have stereotypes that are residual in our minds due to the way we have been raised. Society permeates everything. If you take anything away from this, learn to ask questions for why you do what you do and why you think what you think.
As Always – I would love to hear your feedback!

Daily Life · Hygge · School tips · Work

5 of The Best Ways to De-Stress

It seems like stress is always surrounding us. I’m not sure about my readers but I always go through a phase where every so many weeks – I feel more stressed than I should. Yesterday was that day. What happens is that I feel overwhelmed, over burdened, and generically insane. I get cranky and end up biting off my husbands head. In short – I become the “Queen Of Hearts”. Inevitably in this cycle of crazy – the next phase to follow is me de-stressing. I’ve found a five ways to do that and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

 

Hygge- 

If you are familiar at all with this term than you will know it is made for relaxation. I come from a state which tends to be cold 6 months out of the year. For me – this practice is more nostalgic than anything. There is something very relaxing about curling up in a fluffy blanket with a cup of something hot in hand. I also recommend a book – something that you don’t need to think about.

Baking – 

For me baking is an outlet. I find that I need to be able to create something that I can control in order to feel relaxed. It’s like finding a hobby. Everyone should have at least 1 and for me – it’s baking. I enjoy food, and I enjoy creating it. (PS – Check out my baking business at http://www.sweetstoriesbakery.wordpress.com )

Exercise –

While I don’t particularly love exercise, I do find that I enjoy the endorphin release it gives me. I have found that with exercising it allows my body to expell all the negative energy it has and it allows me to focus on what’s at hand. It also helps me to remove all the thoughts in my head and become more at peace. The days that I haven’t been super stressed out – I will do yoga. The days where it’s been harder I tend to do more spinning, running, or kick boxing. I find that this allows me to keep the peaceful feeling flowing when I’m having a good day and to expell all the anger and resentment I may be harboring on the other days.

Candles and a Hot Bath – 

Hot baths can do wonders for the body and soul. I highly recommend this one especially before bed. I have found that a hot bath with a soothing candle can create an atmosphere of peace where one can feel completely rested. This allows the mind to relax and the body to let go of any stress. If you are like me – you come out ready for a nap.

Avoiding Social Media – 

To be honest – I’m rarely on twitter, instagram, or facebook. I find that they harbor so much negativity that my life is far less complicated or stressful when I’m not on them. I have also found, mainly because I manage a restaurant, that if I’m at home – I need to put my phone down. I also set it on silent so I can ignore any work messages until a certain time frame has passed. I will tell you that being on your phone 24/7 is unhealthy and creates a need for more drama than you can fill. It will cause your mind to never be able to shut down and really – not everyone’s issue needs to be ours. This is the one thing that my husband has to remind me of constantly and it’s the continual source of my frustration. I’m working on trying to put down my phone more often and I recommend you do the same.

 

Honestly,

It’s hard trying to de-stress. It’s hard trying to avoid certain habits that we have created and it’s hard starting new ones. I’m not much for exercising but I have found I need the outlet. I’m always attached to my phone – and I have found I need to put it down. If you have tips and tricks that you find help you de-stress I would love to hear about them. Everyone is different and so each item is going to suit people differently. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Work

9 Tips to Increase Your Performance as a Server

Previously I have discussed a few tips to increase server performance. While these still hold true – I’m going to expound on them. I work as a manager in the restaurant industry, these are based on things that I see my own staff doing or things I have discussed with them. Not only will these tips impress your manager but they are sure to impress your guests as well.

  1. Pay attention to the details –
    • Details are everything when you are serving a guest. They make the difference between having someone send something back to the kitchen or them loving the dish.
    • Attention to details encompasses knowing:
    • what ingredients the kitchen uses
    • checking your section for wobbling tables
    • making sure your station is filled and ready to go
    • doing your side-work properly so you set the next shift up for success
    • clearing the table when ready (this is not just the busser’s job)
  2. A great server Introduces themselves –
    • I had one of my servers recently tell me that they didn’t want to introduce themselves because it felt a bit much like working at Chili’s. I told them – You should introduce yourself because it gives a warm and welcoming feeling to your guests. This is the basis of starting a connection to up-selling.
    • When someone is standing overtop of you – you are already feeling a bit prickled ( you are uncomfortable because you are placed in a vulnerable position), the introduction makes you feel a bit more at ease.
  3. Smile –
    • Smiling does a lot. I’m not talking about looking like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland but you do need to smile when you take care of people. It makes them feel important and that you are there to help them.
  4. Preferences, Sensitivities, and Allergies –
    • It seems like everyone has an allergy of some sort. I tell my servers when they introduce themselves always start with “Welcome to ____________, my name is Hannah. I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Are there any preferences, sensitivities, or allergies I need to be aware of?” This immediately sets the tone for guests. They know you, they can trust you, and you have attention to detail. I have seen an increase in my servers tips when they use this on tables vs when they don’t. To be clear – a preference is like a diet – the customer is adhering to it but will not have an allergic reaction, a sensitivity – they may have a minor reaction but it won’t be bad – they can handle cross-contaimination, an allergy – they cannot have any cross-contaimination – it will result in a severe allergic reaction. This needs to be stated on the ticket to the kitchen as well and the manager should be made aware.
  5. Know your menu –
    • Make sure that you as the server know the menu. You know what is going into the dishes, what the kitchen can change. Be aware of the time frame – if it’s a rush – the kitchen may not want to change it. Make sure you know the bar menu. If you are still learning that’s fine, always say “I’m not sure but let me check for you.” It tells them that you don’t know but you are willing to go the extra mile to find out.
  6. Mis en place –
    • I know I have mentioned it before but it bears mentioning again. ALWAYS make sure your table is prepped. This means dropping dessert spoons as soon as they order, dropping a bowl for those seafood shells, or getting a chiller set up for white wine. The bussers/runners don’t have time for it and it is your job as a server. These little things are again – attention to details that make the difference between you and other servers.
  7. Good Wine Service –
    • This is more important to me because I live and work in California. This means that almost everyone out here knows about wine and how it should be served. That being said – good wine service starts from the beginning. You should always show the label and the bottle (cupping the bottom with your hand) to the person who ordered. When they say it’s alright hold the bottom and cut below the lip. Place the trash in your apron (never on the table) – do not twist the bottle when you cut it and never hold it by the neck (even when you are removing the cork). Pour a taste for the person who ordered. When they give the nod – you can pour clockwise, ending with that same person. Place the bottle and the cork on the table (or in the chiller if it’s a white). If you are nervous about the whole process and they are quite – ask them questions that force long answers “Where are you from?” “How do you like the area?” etc. It forces them to talk and takes the pressure off you.
  8. Know How to Up-sell –
    • You don’t need to pressure anyone to buy anything, but you should know how to up-sell. If they buy two glasses of the same wine, say “I noticed you want two glasses of the same wine, would you be interested in a bottle?” When it comes to dessert – always drop the menu with a recommendation. “The Churros are my favorite – they are like eating a baby angel.” I know it sounds weird but it sticks with people. When you describe the food – describe it in such a way that it makes their mouth water. Use words like:
      • decadent
      • moist
      • full of spice
      • hints of _______
    • basically you need to act like you are a Food Network star describing the food. That’s how you sell it. People want to know what’s the best. The items that I eat all the time I say are “_______________ soul food” (Insert whatever cultural restaurant you work for – example “Mexican Soul Food”) People know terms like that and they love hearing it.
    • You eat first with your ears, then your eyes, finally you eat with your mouth.
  9. Check the Food-
    • Make sure when the food comes out it is up to their liking. As soon as it’s dropped “Everything looks ok?” and after two bites “How is it tasting?” These prevent a guest from sitting there waiting like an idiot for the server to come back, just to say it was bad.
    • If they order a steak always – ALWAYS – ask them to cut into it to make sure the temperature is correct. Wait until they have done so and it is good before you walk away.

The reality is small things like these, which might seem large at the moment, make all the difference to your guests. They are bread and butter of a servers life. These will make your guests happier – they are more likely to return to you and that restaurant, they will increase your tips, and they will increase your standing with your manager.

Remember Good service isn’t an accident – Good service is on purpose.

Have tips or tricks? Please Share! 

 

Uncategorized · Work

How To Succeed At Your Job As A Server

I’ve been working in the restaurant again. Having left and now being back, I can honestly say that I have noticed differences between the servers who make good tips and those who make average. I’m cross training as a bartender and it’s really given me the opportunity to watch the servers and notice what they do right and wrong.

3 things to do to make you a better server:

  1. Really study the Menu – both food and drink. When a customer asks you a question about the menu – make sure you know the answer. There is nothing more frustrating as a customer to have to repeat the question about 2 -3 times to another person or have someone say “uhhh I don’t know”.
  2. 3 words: “Mise en place”. This means “everything in its place”. When you work in the restaurant – make sure you actually put things into their place or prep the table prior to running their food. I sat two days ago in a restaurant for 10 minutes before I received utensils for eating (after my food arrived). It’s embarrassing to work in a restaurant and run food to a table that isn’t ready and it’s embarrassing to have to ask for utensils for food.
  3. Stop asking other servers to talk to your table. I honestly get asked at least 2 times a shift to talk to a table to clarify requests for food or drinks. I also get asked to help with the computer. Please make sure you know what you are doing.

These are three simple tips that will help you manage your time and perform at your utmost. Simple steps and phrases like “proper prior planning prevents a piss poor performance” will help you in the long run.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Work

Loving the Unlovable

I apologize for not writing more this week – It as been a long one filled with turmoil and a lot of Illness filling our home. That being said – I have been praying and asking God to show me what to write about. He really brought to mind for me all the people I have had in my life, specifically the difficult ones.

If there is one thing in life that is always guaranteed it’s that you will always have at least 1 difficult person in your life. I like to thing of them as the sand paper of life. God places them there to teach you something and smooth out your rough edges. With it being right on the holidays, I really felt that it was needed to talk about how to deal with the difficult people in life.

Look – When it comes to dealing with people it’s easy to deal with the nice people. The people who are good to you – it’s easy to be good to them. It’s hard to be nice to difficult people. And I’m not talking about putting up a phony front about being nice then going behind the their backs and talking about them (again – this has taken me years to learn and I’m still imperfect, so please don’t think I’m saying this from a “I can do it already” vantage point).

God calls us to love one another. Not just the people we do like but to love everyone. In Fact in Matthew 5 he gives a direct command “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. We are called to do this because even unbelievers can love people who are their friends. But it shows God’s love when we can love someone. We are called to be Salt of the earth, Lights of the world. How can we do this – simple – love those who hate us.

Ok so here’s the thing – It’s hard to love that boss you have that is just really pushy and short with you. The one who rides you into the ground daily. It’s hard to deal with that girl who calls you and is always complaining. That coworker who can’t show up for work because she is “sick” then posts pictures on instagram of her going drinking with her boyfriend/girlfriends. It’s hard to forgive the man or woman who wronged you. Your ex who told you he wanted a divorce. Your husband who said something hurtful today, that you just can’t seem to let go of. I have been through all of that. It never gets easier but I have learned how to forgive these people. I have learned what helps me to start thinking of them as needing love not hate, anger, or resentment.

Here’s what I do:

  1. pray for them. I pray. I pray for them daily. If you are like me you have a prayer journal and their name is written 3 times minimum. I pray for them to become closer to God and for him to make them into the person he wants them to be. Here’s the thing – When you pray for them, it may not change the situation. It may not even change them. But it will change you. Every time God tells us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies – he follows it with “pray for them”. Even Christ did this as he was on the cross – he said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. Pray with a humble heart for the Lord to touch their lives in a miraculous way.
  2. I buy them a gift. Now this works in situations where you will see them at work daily but not in all situations. Typically I just buy them a coffee or a latte and bring it to them with a note like “your daily cup of joy”. This sounds stupid but most of the time it just lets the person know you are thinking of them. Something that small like a can of coke or cup of coffee can make their day that much better. Plus – it marks the first tangible step of forgiveness and attempt at unconditional love for me. Several of the people who have been the most difficult in my life – we now keep in touch and while we may never be best friends, I do count them as real friends.
  3. Realize that they may not change. The behavior they have – sometimes it will change. I have had an experience where it has changed but I have also had experiences where it hasn’t. I still pray for these people even though I don’t have any interaction with them. And I still send them small gifts when I can. But I also realize – their behavior might not change and it’s important to come to terms with that. But my reactions to their behaviors have.

Jesus Died for everyone. Not just for the righteous. He forgave Judas – a man who sent him to his death. One of the most interesting teachings is the Lords Prayer:

“Our Father in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom Come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil. ”

I just want to rest on the idea of God forgiving us our debts – think of ever sin you have ever committed (if you haven’t committed many – kudos to you but you are wrong; and if you are like me – I get it.). He forgives all of those. Every single sin that popped into your head – it’s already forgiven. Isn’t that incredible!? How could we do any less. I would like to point out that if you can’t forgive the next verse tells us that we will not be forgiven by the Father. Without forgiveness we can’t have unity as a body of believers. Without forgiveness we can’t have unconditional love. And without forgiveness – we can’t see people change or come to Christ.

It’s time to stop letting the people who are hurting influence our behavior. It’s time to be Salt of the earth and Lights to the world. It’s time to turn the other cheek. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

Children · Daily Life · Hygge · School tips

How To Cope With Burn Out

Everyone knows what the term “burn-out” is. If you have worked in the medical field you are especially familiar with it. Why? Because it happens most within medical professionals. Think about it – doctors, nurses, caregivers – they give 110% (at least the good ones do) to their patients – every moment of everyday they have them in their care. This is why you see shows picture parents who can’t take care of their children, who have disabilities, anymore. They get burned out.

It is not limited to the medical professionals though. Anyone can become burned out. Students, teachers, engineers. Burn-out isn’t picky. This past semester I experienced probably the strongest sense of Burn-out I have ever had in a long time. And after going through it – here are the ways I learned to cope.

  1. Work Out – This hits the top of my list because I stopped doing it and when I started again I immediately noticed a large difference in my own mindset. To quote Elle from Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”. Now I don’t go running, my workouts are boxing or yoga (yep I pendulum swing). When I’m angry I find hitting a bag helps a lot and when I need to relax – Yoga is the key. I recommend continuing your exercise or starting to exercise as one of the best ways to cope with burn-out.
  2. Hygge – If nothing else from this blog you all will remember this word for life! Hygge – meaning take time to do you. Relax with a book and decompress. Get a cup of tea or hot chocolate and simple take time for you. This is so important because you can feel pressure to just always be on the go! Don’t fall into the trap – take time to rest. Even God rested 1 time a week.
  3. Pace Yourself – If you feel like burn-out is at your doorstep then maybe it’s time to give up something. You don’t have to be superwoman/superman all the time. Think of it this way – It would be better for you to do 1 or 2 things and do them well then to do many things – half-assed. It’s ok to prioritize and triage your own life. Sometimes it’s necessary.

I wish I would have thought about these items sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t be repeating a class for school next semester then, but life has a way of teaching lessons whether we want them or not. I’m hoping you (my readers) will learn from my mistake on this one and maybe avoid your own burn-out or somehow learn to walk the tightrope until you are better.

Children · Daily Life · Work

5 Tips for being a Successful Nanny

I have to admit that while I don’t currently desire to have any children of my own, I do enjoy being a nanny. I watch two boys Monday – Friday and while they have great days most of the time, occasionally we have bad ones too. I’ve picked up a few useful tips on how to deal with these days because at 6 years and 9 years old, I can’t cope with the behavior the way I would out of an 2 or 3-year-old. Both boys have different disabilities and it makes dealing with the behavior an interesting maze of actions and reactions.

  1. Listen – Sometimes all they really just need me to do is listen to what they are saying and sympathize with them about it. A lot of the time I don’t even have to say anything. Sometimes they talk about school or their dreams of becoming a motocross star or game system creator, but other times they talk about food they like or how rough their day was. No matter what they talk about, I try to listen and sympathize.
  2. Consistency People really underestimate how much children need consistency, especially kids with disabilities. It gives them something dependable in their life. I try to always have dinner ready at 5pm. We always do homework at a specific time. Things like this make it easier for them to anticipate what I’m going to ask them to do and it makes it easier for me when I have to tell them what to do.
  3. Discipline – I am never going to tell you to physically discipline someone elses child. I would never do that myself. When I talk about discipline I am referring to actions and consequences. Allowing children to grow up in a world without consequences does nothing for their moral compass or for their ability to learn about responsibility. Example: The 6-year-old that I nanny decided he would try to deceive me yesterday and not come do homework when I told him to. He likes to come home and watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. Normally, I let him finish his video before doing his homework – it’s annoying as an adult to be interrupted from a video, so I imagine as a child it’s harder to focus. Today, however, when I picked him up from school he came in and asked me where his Ipad was – I told him “You tried to decieve me and not be responsible yesterday. The consequence is that you lose the right to decide when we are going to do homework until I see responsibility again. We are going to do homework right now.” He was less than pleased to say the least. However, now he knows that he can’t do that.
  4. Find Something Special – As a nanny, you have to know when to have fun. You also need to know when to find something that can be special for you and the kids. While consistency is awesome and very necessary, on the really bad days (most of the time it’s because it was a bad day at school) I do something a bit different. We’ve made cookies, french toast for dinner, roasted s’mores over candles, and decided on a small party for christmas.
  5. Teach Independence – This doubles with discipline as they have to learn to do things on their own. The 9-year-old is my best example – each day I pick him up from school and we talk about what homework he has for the day and what is due for the week. He has 1 book report each week so he can have special privileges at school on Friday. I might ask him each day if he wants to do it but I tell him “It’s due on Thursday, so you decide what day you will do it and which works best for you.” I also tell him that he has to do his homework before dinner and shower after dinner. He has the capability of choosing what time he does those and by the time I leave each night – he has them done. This allows him moderate responsibility and teaches him to be independent and rely on me and his mother less. I find this to be very important especially when they are young because the world is not going to remind you of what you need to do when and your mom will not want to take care of her adult son. For the younger boy this might look like me telling him to take a shower and wash his hair – I choose the time but he does it himself.

Overall, I try to have fun as a nanny. We joke and laugh and have a good time, but at the end of the day – their parents are paying me to not only take care of the boys but also to give them life skills. I honestly believe that each of these tips helps me be a better nanny and helps the boys grow. Being a nanny can be like a dictatorship but most of the time it’s really more like a democracy and a bit of give and take.