Saturday, February 5, 2011

Combating Passivity

Maybe it's just the culmination of a long and exhausting week, but I just need to vent here for a minute.  It's been building over the last week or so, but I have just been getting incredibly burnt out and frustrated at my job lately.  It's only a serving job--so most definitely not a career path--but I have just been so appalled by the unprofessionalism and just down right laziness in my workplace.  Now maybe I have a slight go getter personality and at times I teeter on the verge of workaholic, but I really don't think that it's asking too much for people to do the bare minimum for the requirements of their job.  On top of lazy servers our restaurant itself is just not doing very well.  Our numbers are bad, I was recently asked to fill out a corporate complaint about a manager, and I even had to confirm complaints about sexual harassment incidents among our staff.
It's really difficult for me to say those things, because I actually really like my job and I really enjoy serving. I also really like the people I work with on a personal level, but in a lot of ways, their professionalism could really be kicked up a notch.  
I think the main issue that's been getting to me is that because I'm not the kind of person who can allow myself to cut corners or slack off--people will often times take advantage of me.  My restaurant has this "team service" system where they divide up the stations on the floor with two servers sharing one station.  So basically you have a "buddy".  You're supposed to help them out throughout your shift and then you are supposed to complete your side work together--and at Chili's it's a lot of work because we cut bussers last year....but that's grievance for another time.  Lately it's been really frustrating for me because almost every single time I work, my "buddy" will leave and leave me with the majority of the work.  Or they will not complete something accurately so I will have to come over and fix it once they are gone.  Too many times I find myself still at the restaurant a good hour and a half after my "buddy" has left.
I guess where all of this venting is going is to confess that what lies in the center of all of this is a weakness that I have really been struggling with recently.  Well perhaps recently is a terrible word to use.  I've always struggled with passiveness.  I go to great lengths to avoid confrontation.  There have been many times in my life when I have been a flat out doormat.  The other week in church we had to fill out cards with something that we struggle with or retreat into in our moments of weakness.  Or at least that's how I interpreted it anyway, because I found that God was really bringing that particular weakness to my attention.  This is obviously something I struggle with very deeply because upon deeper reflection I find that it is at the root of many of the darker events in my life.  It's something I certainly need prayer about and something that I really need to work on.  I am happy to report that this last week I mustered up the courage to finally tell my manager about a particular server who was continuously slacking off.  It was terrifying and liberating at the same time.   still not sure if it will amount to much, but at least it's a step in the right direction.  I always worry about people seeing me as overbearing or controlling.  And I certainly don't want to come off as arrogant as I tell them how to do their jobs.  But this is something I'm going to have to get better at, especially since I was just recently put on the training team at work.  Hopefully that step up in authority will give me more confidence to stand up for myself and to crack down on people when they are not doing their jobs.  It'll certainly be a struggle, but I will certainly be working on that.  So thanks for listening to me vent, I feel much better already!


  1. I am amazed at your ability to understand yourself. I view your response to this as being so selfless that it really catches me off guard because I feel like I have been selfish lately, but recognizing your passivity instead of just blaming your co-workers (though they are doing a terrible job) is astounding. I would just complain about the others and never focus on my own problems in the situation other than "hey, feel sorry for me."

    Please don't be discouraged, but know that you are a light in the lives, especially of your co-workers, your positive attitude, good example, and hard work are what they need. They can't slack off forever. Your blunt honesty now may prevent them from being bums the rest of their lives.

    Praying for you and your work environment, particularly your co-servers.

  2. hey I was a server for awhile. loved it, but hard to not have sexual harrassment and laziness rampant in the workplace. I feel ya on that. something big is already happening as you are already learning that confrontation is not a bad thing... but I sense maybe a little perfectionism in there too? :) I have struggled a lot with this, so maybe it is something to consider too. I do love that you are looking deeper at what's going on. I applaud you for that. :)

  3. I'm sorry that you are so frustrated. It's hard when people don't do what they are supposed to do. Keep it up! I'm sure that you are doing great at being an example. God will give you the words. Good Job!

  4. I absolutely echo Corinne's affirmation. I feel like God has given you a really important peak into who you are. And honestly—prep yourself, I'm about to get serious fast—I think it also points to our deeper questions of identity.

    Like you I can often be an avoider of confrontation. I like it when people like me, and I like it when people appreciate the work I do. At it's worst this spirals into an unfortunate habit of working pretty hard to please others. (By the way, I'm not saying that's what you're doing. What I'm saying is...) When I catch myself deep into people-pleasing mode what I usuaully realize is just how disconnected I've allowed myself to become from an undertsanding of my worth in Christ.

    When we are able to hold in view the way our Father sees us...well...things are different. If we're bold it's because God has given us courage to be bold and not because we long to control others. If we are doormats it is because we see the need to give others grace for a season and not because we are afraid to bring correction in a loving way.

    Hey, I know this post was a vent session. You weren't necessarily looking for advice. But I hope that what all of us involved in Circles become is people who are committed to pointing out signposts of truth in one another's lives. I'm praying for you and the work situation.