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The Waiters Digest's Year-End-pageS.
You are so thoughtful and encompassing when it comes to the world of waiters. I so appreciate your recognition of not only the efforts of the National Waiters Association... but most importantly your commitment to the world wide profession. Serving others is universal in it's scope of human kindness, thoughtfulness, and economic opportunity... for just being nice to others.
If you think the attached would be appropriate for our Waiters Digest peers, please feel free to duplicate. Certainly at your timely leisure.
DADDY THE WAITER ©
In 1980 I took what I thought was going to be a "mental vacation" from an insurance career of ten years to become a waiter. Now I realize that what happened was a major career decision that has placed me in a profession with unlimited opportunity. My success is recognized with pride not only by my industry associates but also the community and, most importantly, my children.
A few months after making that move I remember gathering my children, Paul, Jackie, and Dominic, to explain to them that I was no longer in an "acceptable" profession of a junior insurance executive. As a new and emotionally disheveled single parent I needed to qualify my own career uncertainties as to why I had voluntarily refused to go back into a field that offered thousands of dollars more a year in income. And why I had opted instead to pursue a new field that offered minimum wage plus tips. I was being scrutinized by friends and family with the strong flavor of disappointment. All of this added pressure made me even more sensitive to what my children thought of me as a waiter, provider, leader, and parent. So, I held the pow-wow to give the three of them an adult explanation of "why".
As I completed my somber presentation I was stunned with their unanimous exclamation. "Daddy, will you wait on us!!!" I was left utterly speechless. All of my dread and expectation of their rejection instantly vaporized. They didn't care what I did for a living. They just loved and trusted me no questions asked. I had to leave the room for a moment of private tears of relief and embarrassment. The relief was tremendous. And yes, I was embarrassed because my own preschool children had identified the most intimidating influence about becoming a waiter. It was me I had created my own lack of self-confidence through personal insecurities about what everyone else thought of me. I had placed myself in the worst ego-trap a person could. Yet my children, who were the least ego-concerned of anyone, were the most unsuspecting and potent resource of support.
So here we are several years later. I was invited to be a guest on a television talk show to discuss voluntary career changes. There was a career counselor also appearing on that show who made a statement about those "taking the leap". He said that the most common element among these individuals was that they have a lot of courage. That startled me! I never thought of myself as being courageous. But now I recognize that it does take personal courage to take charge of one's life and especially to start over. As a waiter, provider, leader and parent I couldn't receive a greater compliment for me and my children from another person, let alone an expert.
I have an area in my home dedicated to the accolades concerning my efforts and accomplishments as a waiter. The resources of this material are many: from my employers, to the Oregon Restaurant Association; from Oregon's Liquor Commission Chairman to our Governor; from local newspaper articles to being the "cover story" of the national Tables Magazine. From interviews with the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, to ABC's 20/20.
But the one item that all of these commendations are centered around is an essay written by one of my children in the fourth grade. The subject was for the school's career awareness week. It was placed in the school's main display case; one of the teachers called to make sure I went to see this special paper. I had some time between my lunch and dinner shifts so I went to the school after hours. The lights were off and the display case was dimly lit with the daylight filtering through the foyer windows. I had to press my hands a face against the glass and squint to read the thick pencil script. The essay is titled "Waiter Artist" and it begins:
"I want to be a waiter (that's what my Dad is). I want to be that because he loves me "
Paul C. Paz
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04/03/2013 08:16:44 AM