one with work


Yesterday Andrew Meltzer, Operations Manager for SSP America and one of my several bosses, stopped by the host station at Matt’s Big Breakfast where I was on the job. He was there to hand-deliver an envelope enclosing three tangible forms of appreciation for my having worked for SSP one solid year.

One item in the envelope was a letter signed by Andrew and three other high-ups. The letter says in part “We applaud your hard work, passion and commitment. You have helped to show the world of travelers that the journey begins with you!” Isn’t that nice? There is a sincerity to it in light of the fact that ours is a high-turnover business, with average term of employment much less than one year. Cooks have a 100% chance of getting burned in one year; cashiers a 100% chance of stressful in-a-hurry overload, and hosts and servers a 100% chance of being insulted/belittled/sideswiped by those ungracious few who would like reality to warp in their favor, and blame the messenger when it doesn’t. I am proud to have survived this year. It was a thousand-obstacle Obstacle Course to do so. And among the many things I learned is to never use the disparaging term “burger-flipper” again.

The other items in the envelope were a handsome one-year anniversary pin, pictured above, and a gift card for use in any SSP America location in Phoenix. I’m thinking Pei Wei for the card. Their lettuce wraps are Yum incarnate.

The other super-cool thing that happened at work yesterday was showing co-worker Topher Hend the tattoo design I’d made at his request:


Topher was really generous in his appreciation, thanking me over and over again. He’s also Shared the design on his Facebook page. He wanted this design as a memorial to his mother. I am honored that he asked me to help.

So–what a day, and what a year. Before this all started, I’d never been a restaurant host, and I’d never been a tattoo designer. It is odd to think of myself as either. Jobs do and do not define us. But the successful performance of one job or another adds to our pride, and to our power.


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