Industry Relationships for Dummies

One of my favorite gossip pieces in the work place is who is sleeping with whom. Before any of you reprimand me for having a sick sense of humor, read on.

Because many of us drink and participate in illegal drug-related activities to cope with the serving life, we often find ourselves partying with those that share our misery. Misery loves company, after all. In intoxicated stupors, we are sometimes attracted to or bonding with people we would never consider in a sober state.

You know what I’m talking about, the social events brought together by mutual bitching about work. Everyone is taking shots dedicated to hating their jobs. And soon, a completely unlikely couple seems to have everything in common. The couple finds they both have left hands, a cell phone, and neither have graduated from high school; it’s as if they found their soul mate! The bond is mistaken for intimacy, and the rest is for drunken stories to tell closest friends who promise not to tell. And by promise not to tell, I mean they tell their closest friends who promise not to tell. And soon, the whole restaurant knows.

It’s a flurry of stolen whispers from there on, watching the awkward exchanges between the two who either try too hard to act too normal or avoid each other all together. After awhile it becomes old news, or another outing occurs – rinse and repeat.

Sometimes the couple will attempt a real dating scenario, making it awkward for mutual friends when they break up. Other times they’ll be bed buddies until someone develops feelings for the other. Either way, intimate relationships in the work place (no matter the degree) are often entertaining for observers and the most complicated for those involved. Now add all that pressure to working in an environment filled with drama similar to the kind that you’ll find in high school. Sounds like a ticking time bomb, hence why I find the gossip more entertaining than MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant. What could be more amusing than watching adults (of all ages) scramble about like insecure, sweaty-palmed teenagers?

But there is hope! A very slim, small percentage (I don’t know the numbers, just know of some myself) that have managed to survive the drama that is dating in the restaurant industry. From their mouths to my brilliant alcohol-infested brain, here are a few rules for successful romantic endeavors.

  1. Don’t tell anyone, and I mean ANYONE, anything.

Don’t make it Facebook official until you’re ready to be under scrutiny and hear all the bad things everyone will think you “need” to know about your significant other. The beginnings of relationships are fragile and easily impressionable, so when presenting your relationship to the public be prepared to hear the worst about them (much of it probably dramatized) for other people will love to see you fall. A popular one I’ve heard is, “You’re dating him? OMG, did you know… [insert awful, dramatic information here]” Why don’t you give your relationship a chance to bloom before that happens?

  1. Leave the relationship at home.

This is really pretty self-explanatory. Just as it’s your best bet for success to leave your personal life at home, do the same with your relationship. Tiffs and affection are not something you want to bring with you to work; it affects your job performance, which in turn affects the amount of money you make. But if you’re not concerned about money, I am pretty sure your hippy friends are feeling cheated on by this strange box that has words on a screen you keep reading.

  1. Similar work ethics.

This comes down to have the same idea about the way to live life, handle problems, raise children, etc. If you don’t hold similar values and morals, you most likely won’t carry on a solid relationship. The last thing you want to do is fight or be criticized about the way you each do your job. You get enough of that from your managers.

  1. Strong ability to stay focused.

The restaurant industry is highly known for its requirements of multi-tasking. If shiny things easily excite you, you might want to reconsider working the same shifts. Good looking people (boobs and abs) are just as distracting as the disco ball on the dance floor. Imagine you found the most sparkly and shiny object/person—think Twilight—in the world and they’re thrown into the middle of your work environment; you’re going to lose your job for sure.

The list is infinite (feel free to add any ones you think I might missed)—trust me, I know—but rambling on will only discourage you all together. Following these few basic rules will not guarantee you success, but most definitely guarantee you a fair chance at it.

Restaurants/bars and relationships are a rocky mixture that can produce either disasters or miracles (I’ve had a few disasters and one miracle). If you can survive the sleezy, booze-infested, unmotivated co-workers, every once in a while you’ll find a slightly less sleezy, booze-infested moron who you can make a miracle with (no, I’m not talking about demon spawns, also known as children). Surviving a restaurant relationship is truly that—a miracle. Good luck!

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