An Open Letter To My First Manager

An Open Letter To My First Manager

All the things that should have been said when there was still the opportunity to say them.

To my first manager:

When I first met you I almost cried. At 16, adults made me nervous and you were no exception. It was the first and only job I had applied for and I knew that if you didn't hire me I would beat myself up over it, scrutinizing every single detail to figure out what I did wrong. I was shaking during the entire interview, stressed over what to wear for two hours and spent multiple days googling interview questions trying to prepare. But when we first sat down you smiled and complimented my bracelets (which we later on would share a mutual love for) and then proceeded to put your papers on the table and say "so tell me about yourself". And just like that, my first job interview was over in under fifteen minutes. So thank you for that question, because you managed to ask me the one thing I wasn't prepared to answer.

Thank you for always pushing me to be better. You had confidence in me when nobody else did and constantly reminded me of my potential. From the very first birthday party you let me work to the time "Host Assist" was next to my name on the schedule instead of the usual "Server", you helped me believe in myself and motivated me to be a better worker. You let me show you what I was capable of and watched me grow, guiding me along the way.

Thank you for being stern when you needed to be. There will always be one situation I will remember where you pulled me aside and talked to me about something I did, and I'm surprisingly grateful for that. From the very beginning you weren't afraid to tell me that I needed to mature if I wanted to keep the job. I grew up a lot when I was an employee under you, and that helped me outside of the workplace.

Thank you for knowing how to do your job. You always made an effort to learn new things and improve our surroundings, and I think it helped us all somehow knowing that you were once in the same position as the rest of us. You somehow accommodated the needs of 30+ employees and never failed to forget important events going on in our lives. You showed me what it was like to have a boss who was great at being a boss, and you'll always be someone I compare future employers to.

Thank you for being someone I could talk to. Because you didn't just see us as your employees, you saw us as people. You managed to care about us all individually, and at the end of the night it was comforting to know I could come to you about what was on my mind. You somehow managed to be 100% professional while still being understanding, and I hope that's a trait I will learn one day.

Thank you for making work a place I didn't dread going to. I ended up looking forward to the three hours a night I spent at work, and it helped me forget about any stressful things going on in my life.

Thank you for making us all feel like family. You helped us understand that teamwork was one of the most important aspects of our job, and created an environment we all felt comfortable in. You helped us bond and in return we became stronger workers. Because of that, I met some of my best friends, and it wasn't unusual to catch us all sitting in the parking lot after work laughing together.

Thank you for treating us like adults. Even though a majority of your employees were under 18, you never once treated us like children. You respected us and because of that, we all held a large amount of respect for you.

Thank you for all of the lessons you taught me. The biggest one can be summed up in the quote you left in your very last email to us; “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Thank you for leaving. While that may sound strange, I'm glad you did. You taught me the difference between giving up and knowing when it is time to let go. You taught me to chase happiness, which I genuinely hope you have found.

Lastly, thank you for making my first job one of the best things that happened to me in my teenage years. Thank you for being the most wonderful boss any employee could hope for, and for being someone I could look up to as a person. I would dress up as you for Halloween any day.


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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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'Captain Marvel' Shares An Important Message That Shouldn’t Be Underestimated

Captain Marvel is an important movie from the perspective of the young audience it addresses.


(This article is without spoilers.)

From the time Captain Marvel was released, on March 8, there has been a lot of press surrounding the movie. There have been parties both advocating for and arguing against the character that Bree Larson brought to life. Controversies, particularly, were plenty; from media sources and generally, people critiquing Lardon for her lack of smiling during promotional events (to which Bree Larson had an amazing comeback) to the parallel derision and celebration of the idea of a feminist Marvel movie.

I personally watched Captain Marvel a couple of weeks after it was released and after having minimal preconceptions, including avoiding watching the trailer and scanning any reviews. I'd avoided spoilers and newspaper articles for the most part simply because I wanted to form my own opinion. I had done the same with Wonder Woman and Black Panther because of the extreme expectations placed on the cast, crew and whole conception, itself.

I'm not gonna lie. I took some issue with the progression and flow of the plot, and some of the character development was patchy. However, that's not what I primarily took from the experience of watching it.

When I exited after watching, the first thing I saw was an excited little boy jumping enthusiastically after walking out of the theater. Aggressive, playful bouncing with a fake blaster was interlaced with "Guys did you see that?", "And then she kicked him in the back!", and "That was so cool!" What I could reflect on was how little anything other than Captain Marvel could be a topic of conversation in my class of second-graders and how they would run to play as her on the playground. I could feel their shaking anticipation when both my boys and girls talked about which superheroes to be for Halloween and they could go back and forth debating being Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. I recognized how disappointed one of my fifth-grade newspaper students was when he realized he couldn't write a review for the school paper because of the movie's PG-13.

Because when you're ten and see a hero on screen that speaks to you and who you identify as, you're not following the consistency of the character arc and how the narrative follows the 3-act structure. It's not that Rotten Tomatoes comprises a team of elementary schoolers who write professional reviews.

As far as I'm concerned, and as far as I believe most people should be concerned, if the next generation of filmmakers and movie-goers find themselves wanting to experience more movies that present positive messages and instill self-confidence then we've done our job as the generations that will give them that. Our role is to identify and understand the value of these movies and characters and pass them along. Look to the kids. They know what they're talking about.

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