Jake has been on his 10-day vacation, so Whitey and I have been working his full-time schedule. This means we have to actually work instead of just sit around and count money all day while planning our next vacation. /sarcasm
Whitey has picked up the lunch shifts, and I have been working the dinner shifts. The last two nights have been busy, so I’ve been able to actually make food. It’s perfect, of course. Toppings are put on pizzas exactly where they should be, and the crust is cooked exactly right. But it’s my restaurant, and that’s how I want it.
That’s the thing. When you hire someone, you want them to do it EXACTLY your way. You trust them to do the job you would’ve done were you able to be there 24/7. A good employee becomes invaluable, because they do it your way, not their way. After all, it’s your business.
Jake has been with Paizano’s for four years now, and Kris will have worked with us for six years this May. I trust both of them to make decisions on my behalf when I’m not physically at the restaurant. Because they do it my way, and with a smile that isn’t forced, because they like what they do.
Working at a restaurant, or in the hospitality business for that matter, isn’t for everyone. But it is for us, and for a lot of people like us. Service minded. Perfectionists. People pleasers.
It’s one of the reasons we opened Paizano’s. I asked Whitey, “What was your favorite job, ever?”
“Cozzola’s Pizza,” he said. “I loved working there. It was fun, and everybody got along, and customers were always full and happy. And I really liked bartending at Legend’s, except the owner was a total bitch.”
I told him, “Sully’s Italian restaurant, and even waitressing at Rosette in Bend. I loved waiting tables and serving great food, suggesting wines and meeting all of the regulars that came in.”
And so, Paizano’s came to fruition. We quit our jobs and went for it.
A couple came in to pick up a pizza with their son who was about 10 years old. They had to wait about five minutes for it to finish up in the oven. During that time, the boy shook the bouncy ball game machine until he had a handful of balls, threw them throughout the dining room, banged on the pinball game, went out on the patio and jumped on the rocking patio chairs, and then came back in to grab the pizza off the counter to take it to the car.
He tilted the pizza almost vertically when opening the front door, and I could hear the pizza slide in the box. I laughed and said, “Whoops! Be careful — that pizza will get messed up if you don’t keep it straight, like this…” (motioning with my hands to carry it correctly) “… and you’ll never get a job as a pizza guy if you can’t carry a pizza correctly!”
The boy stopped in the doorway, wrinkled his nose and squinted as if smelling a foul odor, and said, “I’m not gonna work at a pizza place when I’m a grownup. I’m gonna be rich.”
I made almost three times as much money working in my heyday in advertising, but I wasn’t as happy as I am now. I had closets of designer handbags and high-heeled shoes, toys in the garage that I’d get to play with once a year, and a fancy business card. Now when I go to work, I get to wear a t-shirt and jeans, comfy Crocs, and schlepp my laptop back and forth in a functional cloth bag. Working at a job that I love affords me much more than a padded bank account. It affords me time. Peace of mind. These are things that are priceless; they cannot be bought. And so yes.
I am rich.