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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

Fuck UWM and all universities! UW-Milwaukee and their brethren are mediocre. Click banner ads on ClixSense instead; it's a better use of time than a college education in the UW System.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Well Known" but Anonymous Restaurant Seeks Masochistic Manager

Date: 2012-02-08, 5:17PM CST
Restaurant Assistant Manager

As one of the most well known restaurants in Wisconsin, we believe in having a good time. We strive to provide the best customer service for every patron that walks through our door. Our diverse menu features quality meals, ranging from steaks to seafood. But the success of our restaurants can't be attributed to our food alone; without a talented hourly and management staff we would not be where we are today.

We are an upscale casual full service concept seeking a front of house Manager. Candidates should have:
•3+ years of current casual, full-service experience
•A stable work history; no more than two jobs in the previous six years
•Experience with a high volume national chain is a plus!
•Ability to build sales and rapport in the community
•If you would like to be considered for this position immediately, please forward your resume."

Just like me, you’ve probably noticed that jobs marketed as “big earnings potential” or “hot opportunity” say that because being fairly rewarded for your effort or hours logged is not guaranteed in those positions. This is particularly true for commissioned jobs, but this vacancy is clearly advertising a salaried ASSISTANT restaurant manager job. (The vacancy headline touts the position as top management but comes clean in the third line about being second banana.) So why the hyperbole?

It turns out that it is part sales job, part operations management: The assistant manager is expected to solicit customers "in the community." It would be unclear whether this entails the donning of a mascot costume and holding promotional signs roadside, except the "builds rapport" requirement implies more of a public relations officer role. Just don't expect anyone outside the restaurant proper to take this liaison experience seriously!

Food service is truly one of the top career pits because it's very difficult to be considered qualified for other fields once you've spent any part of your adult life in food service. (Food service managers and employees do have transferable skills -- such as triage capacity, calmness under pressure, and time management -- but most HR departments are either ignorant of this or wholesale deny it.)

The assistant manager must have encountered high turnover for the top manager to require “no more than two jobs in the previous six years.” I suppose recent graduates who completed a series of different internships and/or were laid off from the part-time Work Study jobs they had need not apply. They’re supposed to be capable of white-collar office jobs anyway, but with the high underemployment among today’s college graduates, the requirement is quite spiteful of those who sacrificed years of full-time work potential to earn a higher education.

It’s generally assumed that a restaurant manager wants to keep with the same branch to better know local market idiosyncrasies and demand cycles, a knowledge which often gives the competitive edge necessary to schedule lean staffing; to accurately forecast inventory usage; and to run appropriate promotions to earn regional recognition in sales and/or profit. So -- why move?

Common causes of food service employee turnover include uninformed scheduling (especially understaffing during peak periods) and purchasing insufficient quantities of product (generating many complaints and customer credits when what they want is regularly out of stock). Similarly, managers sometimes change branches because the local market is too hectic and unpredictable for them to coordinate resources because actual conditions run contrary to their planning and hence make the managers look incompetent.

Speaking of which, the lack of hyphenation in compound adjectives preceding nouns, e.g. "well-known restaurant" and "front-of-house manager," makes the vacancy writer look incompetent. Thankfully, he/she properly uses a semicolon, and hence we know that he/she is fully capable of passing English 202.

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