This past summer, I held a cooking internship at celebrity chef Ken Oringer’s French restaurant, Clio. The experience was like a dream that came and went. After only a week at Clio, the Chef de cuisine, Rachel, became like my second mother. Although I was working in an extremely intense environment where complicated dishes with exotic ingredients such as pheasant and venison needed to be made in a matter of minutes, I loved my job. I realized that I loved my job because I loved the people I worked with. I did not just love them because they made me short rib, risotto, lobster and foie gras for free. I did not just love them because one of my co-workers was extremely handsome and resembled Chris Hemsworth, and I did not just love my job because I met Leslie Jones from Saturday Night Live when she was staying at the Eliot hotel, which is affiliated with Clio. I loved my job because my co-workers were kind to one another, respectful to each other, patient and so many other things. We were on our feet making food from 11a.m until 12a.m but the shifts flew by from all the fun we had making jokes, singing and becoming great friends. I quickly realized that the most important part of a job is who you work with.
Once I went back to college in September, I took on a second job while maintaining my job at Clio. The new job was miserable. I kept lying to myself that I loved the job. Well, the job itself actually wasn’t that bad. However, the people I worked with, well, they weren’t the nicest. They would point out every little thing someone did wrong and never give a “hey, good job with this” or say “thank you” when I’d go out of my way to make a co-worker a drink. I tried to bring positivity to the job, but it was always overturned by someone else’s negativity. Once, our own customer told my co-worker that she needed to wipe the disgusted look off her face and stop speaking to me in a condescending tone. (Damn!) At that point, I was certain the stark difference in how my co-workers treated me as well as each other at my two jobs was not just in my head; it was even obvious to those on the outside. That was the red flag that I needed to leave.
I didn’t. I’m a college student trying to not be broke or in major debt, but I made a note to my future self. For all my future jobs, and yours too, try to surround yourself with great people. They will make you a better person and make work feel like “work.”