Working for Others

Tim Mushey on his blog Sell, Lead, Succeed! recently wrote that working with the benefits of others in mind, rather than self-interests, is the best way to succeed.  The notion caused me to remember my after-school job in my high school days.

I worked in a Howard Johnson restaurant — the kind with the 21-seat counter to your right when you walked in the front door and regular tables with booths and chairs to your left.   I manned the counter area, which was also where the ice-creams and related items were stored for making desserts for the famous brand.  (At HoJo’s you entered hungry for either their touted fried clams or their famous ice-cream flavors and desserts.)

The waitresses (known then by that term, not wait-staff), who served customers on the table side, despised getting dirty making the sticky ice-cream requests from their customers, but I loved creating the delectations.  We struck a deal: I would make their desserts, saving them time and messy cleanups, and they would share tips with me!

By helping those women arguably more FUN — my operative word then — came my way, AND I earned more money than they took home.  You see, in addition to making desserts I serviced the entire 21-seat counter alone.  The complimentary comments from my customers, who had front-row seats to watch me fill not only their dinner and their ice-cream orders, but also those of my waitress “customers,” were the highlight of my nights on the job.  More than once, I received standing ovations for juggling food orders and piling on the whipped cream and cherries for the satisfied ladies!

My “performances” filled my tip jar, but seeing satisfied customers depart happy made my nights at HoJo’s memories to never forget.