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Overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated


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Hello! I work at a family business that my uncle owns. It's a little hole in the wall restaurant that's been around for quite some time now. My job title is labeled as "helper" so I bus tables, take food out, make sides and salads. I basically do all the server's work but get paid significantly less for it. Although I do get paid better than most people, I make 6 dollars an hour and get 10% of the server's tips. My issue is that since I work predominantly morning shifts (and most of the "helpers" are spoiled high schoolers who don't care about their job) and I actually do a good job and go out of my way to help as much as I can, I get stuck doing all the work. Since the high schoolers work at night they tend to not do everything on their checklists leaving me a lot of work to do in the mornings when I come in. Also, when I do work at night with them they are just so absent minded about things and just seem to not care at all about the place, which really irks me because I live out on my own and pay my bills so I try to take pride in my job and do it the best I can. Another issue I have, the servers. They are lazy, often times rude, and treat me like I'm their slave at times. Also, most of them don't even need the job there because they have husbands who make damn good money. Not all of them are like this, but a lot of them are. Since I am the oldest and have been there the longest of the "helpers" I tend to get a lot more work shoved on me because my manager and uncle know I will do it.

 

I'm OCD, a perfectionist, a neat freak, and a tad bit ADD. So you can imagine that combo while at work. But I'm starting to get really sick of the work getting thrown on me without any compensation for it. Like, for one, I have been there two years and my manager hired on two new servers instead of moving me up. This is mostly my fault for not speaking up I suppose, but I have never felt like my manager has even liked me much. My aunt, the co-owner, is the reason I got a job there and I don't even think my manager wanted me there because I wasn't in high school so I wasn't in her terms "recyclable" I suppose (plus I don't think they like each other much). This is why I have always worked mostly mornings, though recently I requested better shifts because I just don't make much money in the daytime. Might I add, my manager's husband makes six figures a year so she doesn't even need to work there, hell she's hardly even there as of recently.

 

My manager also picks favorites. Like her niece who is away at college most of the year. We have quite a few kids who worked here for 3-4 years go off to college but come back to work in the summertime and December. Last December I got totally screwed on my shifts and I wasn't even able to buy Christmas presents for anyone because she put me on all these crap shifts where I wouldn't make any money and the college students got all the good shifts. I was livid, her and I even got into it over it. I told her it wasn't fair to let these kids come back and take all the shifts when I have been working there nearly everyday for two years now and bust my ass everyday. But she didn't budge and told me to put my number in the back so people could text me to cover their shifts if I wanted more shifts and that they deserve to come back because they put their hours in. Well? I have put in almost more hours than all of them by now, guarantee it.

 

I seriously do care about this place, I have been going there since I was very young and don't want to see it go under but I feel like it's inevitable because no one is willing to yield or change anything. I just want to make it a better place so bad though, and that's my problem. I have good ideas but no one cares to listen to them, like the ketchup bottles. We took our ketchup and mustard bottles off the table about two years ago now because they were going "bad" (I still don't believe they were, I think people were just putting new ketchup on top of the old). We started keeping bottles in a fridge behind the bar and filling up souffle cups to take out to customers (really stupid, finally stopped that recently). I made a suggestion in the meeting that we put the ketchup and mustard bottles back on the table and just put them in the fridge at night so they stay more fresh and I got declined on that even after explaining that I thought that people were just marrying them wrong. My uncle just said that they "already tried that".

 

Also, in this meeting my manager decided that "helpers" are no longer allowed to use the computer system which I use in the morning when I work to help the morning server. They are worried we are going to screw up the money in the drawer, but for me it's really not rocket science and I haven't ever had an issue with messing anything up. She also said that at night instead of marrying the ketchup bottles, washing them, and putting new ketchup in the washed bottles that now the night time "helpers" are to marry them, let the empty bottles get washed, and let them air overnight and the morning "helper" will fill them (meaning me). I am extremely irritated by this because, what the hell is the point in that? They already get away with doing less work and never getting in trouble and now they are given a bigger excuse to be lazy. Plus, we haven't had any issues with the ketchup going bad AND we leave them out all day so it's more efficient when we have to take them to the table. I don't see the point, it's just more work thrown on me and if the ketchup bottles sit out most of the day already, and it's a pain to take them to every table when a customer needs it, then why not just keep them on the table in the daytime like my idea and put them in the fridge at night if they are so damn worried about the ketchup (with preservatives in it might I add) going bad.

 

Lately this place has just been a complete downer to me. I have been extremely depressed because I feel underappreciated completely. Plus, the stupidity frustrates me to no end. I feel like I should also be paid more because I work practically everyday there and am pretty much the second server in the mornings. I really don't like my manager much, mostly because I think playing favorites and letting the college students come back and take all the good shifts the two times of year I actually really need the money is bulls--t.

 

The only reason I haven't left is because I have been there two years now and my car is currently broke down or else I would have gotten a second job by now. I want to find a way to assert myself and let them know I'm not their b--ch (in better terms obviously) and I deserve more than what I'm getting. Any advice? (most of my coworkers are my family btw)

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How are you getting to this place? Is it close to where you live?

 

Have you tried offering to take one of the servers' shifts? If they are as lazy as you say, they will probably be happy to give up their shift and have the day off.

 

Have you tried discussing your concerns with your uncle? You are related to the owner, you should be able to throw your weight around a bit.

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