I spent my entire summer working. I worked two jobs, one at a local counter-service restaurant, The Feisty Greek, that I had been a customer of for almost four years, and one as an intern in the finance department of a worldwide corporation. The two jobs were starkly different. In one, I took people's orders, wiped down tables, and prepared food. In the other, I spent literally all day in Microsoft Excel, formatting, writing formulas, and using a program called SAP to generate data. I enjoyed both jobs, but felt something was different with The Feisty Greek. I was not going to work every day just to put on my "Go Greek Once a Week!" shirt; I was going to spend time with friends and family (Greek people often say that all Greeks are family). My finance internship was a job, one that I needed for career development and that I greatly appreciated, but still a job. I liked everyone that I worked with, and my boss was very kind and encouraging, yet I looked forward to my shift at Feisty throughout the day. And though I worked my hardest at both, I think that working with people that I really connected with made a difference.
I would get to the office around 8:45 a.m., sit down, get myself a cup of coffee, and get to work. I pored over my excel sheets as I learned on the job; SUMIF, VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, and MATCH INDEX all became a part of my everyday jargon as I discussed with my boss what to do and how I would do it. According to my timesheet, I spent about 300 hours in excel over the course of the summer. Naturally, I gained a severe caffeine addiction. Six cups of coffee throughout the day was relatively normal.
On days where I had to work in Boston and at "The Feisty Greek," I would go into work early on the 6:25 a.m. train, take the 3:30 p.m. train home after my eight hours, get home at 4:40 p.m. and immediately drive to Feisty. When I walked into the restaurant, I was exhausted and running on black coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, but when I heard Yani, George, and Charlie yell out "Yasou! Ti Kanis?!" (Hello! How are you?!) in quick succession, I immediately woke up. The positive energy in the restaurant was invigorating, and if I wasn't at my A game that day, that energy certainly brought me as close to it as I could get. Working with people that you truly feel at home with really makes a difference.
My father, who works in the same office at my job in Boston, always makes a point to say hello and ask people how their days are. I truly believe that to be a difference maker; being kind to people motivates them whether you are at a restaurant or in an office. Corporate offices should take a note from "The Feisty Greek." Nothing motivates a person more than a hope to appease not just their bosses, but their good friends
My friends and I have a sort of call to arms when it's dinner time: "feelin' feisty?" we ask each other, and I am always feeling feisty.