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I never asked to learn a lot about social media. I never went to school for any of this. 4 years ago I would’ve never imagined myself maintaining a website, much less one of my own. I’ve never thought of myself as that important. Still don’t. Back then I was still rocking this awesome Sidekick phone from T-Mobile. Hell, 4 years ago I was still using Myspace. You probably were too, don’t lie. The initial reason I joined Facebook was so that Heather could say she was in a relationship with Tommy Pierucki. But in all honesty, I’m glad social media has had the impact on my life that it has. If it weren’t for Myspace, I may have never been reunited with Heather. So now that I’ve done a few things online, it’s time to drive a proverbial stake in the ground to mark the day and say, “hey, this is where I’m at”. So here goes nothing.
The online world is so intimidating to a newcomer. What is a WordPress? Where is twitter? What does URL stand for, and why do I have to type http:// and not www? What’s the difference? I’ve been there. You’ve been there, and you know it! So here’s the short version of how I got started on my journey into the online world.
I’ll never forget one of the biggest and awesome mistakes I made in my life. I was wanting to work from home, so I googled it. A bunch of sites promising thousands of dollars a month with a website, and they’ll even coach you. So I joined up with one. Thinking that I’ve got nothing to lose, right? They called us and got a bunch of information, and asked for an “investment”. Which they would coach me to earn that back 7 fold. Ack. It hurts just thinking about that time in my online life. But it happened. Little did I know that I was getting completely scammed. But I did learn a few things in the process. I learned about gmail. I learned a little about twitter. I learned a lot about affiliate marketing, and how bad it sucks. I learned what WordPress was. (Thank goodness that company had the sense to use WordPress!) But most importantly, I learned to fail. And fail hard. I never got that “investment” back. And I never will. But I’m ok with that. I took it as a tuition paid. Because from there on out, all I wanted to do was to succeed where I had already failed. It wasn’t too long after I realized how bad the site I had built sucked when I met Chuck Reynolds. He very gently let me know over a period of time that my site sucked, and helped me to understand that I wasn’t going anywhere with it. And thank goodness he did. From there I was able to learn about using social media, web strategy and what being a genuine person online can do for a business. He was the one that opened so many doors for me. I’ve learned more from him (and Google), than most people wold learn in 4 years at a university. I honestly learned that if I ever had a question about something, I should google it first. more than 9 times out of 10, any question I’ll ever have, there’s already hundreds of other people that have had the same question. I’d ask Chuck a question, and he’d quickly respond with, “did you google it first?”.
It’s been a great journey over the last few years. I’ve had some failures, and I’ve had some great success. I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve done some epic. And I will continue to pay my knowledge forward to better myself and the community to which I belong. This really is the story of how I fell into the social media scene here in Phoenix. The rest is just history. And there’s still more to come.
So I walked into work yesterday, and management informed me that they’d like to back me as Ahwatukee’s Best Server. Holy cow! This is awesome news! The voting happens here, and you can vote once a day. Along with voting for me, they’d like to win Best Restaurant, Best Happy Hour and Best Place To Watch The Game. Voting for me would really mean a lot, so if you’re reading this…thank you so much. I’ve put my heart and time in over the last couple of years in building a community for CK’s. Now it’s time to put this community into action! Please vote for me and CK’s as much as you can! I’d really like to knock this one out of the park. There’s already been a huge response from twitter so far, and it’s only on day 1. I really appreciate all of the support. Let’s make this happen!
It’s time for a positive blog post. It’s time to lift up those who deserve it. I want to take a minute and tell everyone why I love what I do, and most importantly where I do it. I’ve been serving tables for most of my working career. I’ve had a few spats of selling cars in between, but serving and bartending have been my main source of income. I get paid on the generosity of others. Most of my paychecks are zero dollars, and very few of them have a positive amount on them. Mostly somewhere between $4 and $60 for two weeks. What CK’s pays me is an hourly rate that mostly covers my taxes, and I never see any of it. I work for tips. Seems kind of lowly when you think about it. And it can be lowly at times, don’t get me wrong. If people don’t want to tip, then I don’t make money. But I’m good at what I do. And that makes me my money. Sure, just about anyone can do what I do. It’s not rocket science by any means. But one of the best things that I have going for me is not only the venue at which I work, but the people that I have surrounding me. We are all professionals. We are all really good at what we do. I can’t do my job without the help of my talented coworkers. I also cannot be free to do my job well without the support of the best management staff I could possibly ask for. For those of you who don’t know much about where I work, CK’s is a family owned restaurant. Kendra is the owner, and does not take that job sitting down. She is hands on, and always doing something to make sure her place is the best in town. She encourages the personalities of each individual to be genuine, and real. Before I came to CK’s, I had worked for a few corporate restaurants. The corporate restaurants taught me a lot. They also taught me where I needed to be, and it wasn’t with any of their cookie cutter food factories. I will be the first to admit it, I goof off and am lazy at times. But when it comes down to it, when we’re busy, or a customer needs something, any one of us is already getting it done. The rest of the management staff is on the same page as Kendra. They will goof off with us when it’s time to do that, and they’ll be in the trenches standing right next to us, and having our back when that time comes. I’ve never felt more at home at a job than I do at CK’s. They have surrounded themselves with a team that’s pretty tight. To do as well as we’ve done over the last 6 years, really speaks to that. There have been numerous restaurants and bars that have come and gone in the short amount of time that we’ve been in business. All the while, we keep doing better and better each year. As far as the rest of the people that I work with, I would say it’s the best group of servers, bartenders, and hostesses I’ve ever seen. Way better than any corporate place could ever do. When you have that kind of team to go to work with everyday, it makes going to work a little less hectic. I’ve seen how bad restaurants are run, I’ve seen how managers can micro-manage, I’ve seen how poor structure and communication breakdowns happen. None of that happens. We communicate, we help each other selflessly, and we all are thankful for each other. And thank God for everyone I work with. It’s like we’re all on the same page, and we’re all that awesome dysfunctional family that everyone on the outside wants to join. To any of my coworkers that are reading this, I just want to say thank you for being who you are. Thank you for always being awesome. See you tomorrow.
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So this is another night where I wanted to write, but I’m not really up for it. My feelings got hurt at work, and I just kind of wanted to pout about it, come home, relax and go to bed. But as I was laying in bed, I thought that I would hate myself if I didn’t get out what happened. So here it goes. And no, nobody shit themselves tonight. At least none that I’m aware of.
Today was national foursquare day, and it was a great chance for restaurants and bars to lasso in a lot of foursquare users. Some places ran specials, some were just promoting themselves to the users, and some were doing both. It’s sort of new idea, to have a social media holiday. As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s pretty cool. From a restaurant’s point of view, today was a milestone. I mean, if you remembered where you were for your first social media holiday, that’s pretty cool. I’ve been working at CK’s for about 2 1/2 years, and I’ve also been handling a lot of our social media for about 8 or 9 months. I do it for free. I do it because I like my workplace. I do it because it’s actually fun for me. I do it because I learn new things all the time. I do it because of all the kick ass people I meet. I do it because CK’s needs it. I do it because I can. I do it because, if I’m doing it well, my tips go up. And so do my coworkers tips. We may not be doubling our income as servers and bartenders, but we are getting a bigger customer base. We’ve definitely seen a lot of new faces in our restaurant. And I’ve started to notice a few of those faces are coming back on a regular basis. And that’s our bread and butter. REGULARS. They keep us in business. They’re why we’re still in business, and every other bar/restaurant in Ahwatukee can’t hold a candle to us and are forced to close their doors. We pride ourselves on seeing the same faces just about every time you walk in. If you spend some time at CK’s you’ll understand what I’m talking about. You can’t miss it.
So back to the foursquare day. I didn’t tell my boss about foursquare day until the day it was going on. She’s got too much stuff going on, and I rarely see her. But when I got to work tonight, it was the first thing I mentioned to her. I told her a quick synopsis of what it was, because she’s not real big into the workings of social media, she mostly wants results. And I asked her if it was alright if I ran a special for anyone who checked in on foursquare that night. Nothing too fancy, just $5 off your meal of $25 or more. But it was something that foursquare users would like to see and use. Just check in and get $5 off? That’s pretty easy! She liked the idea, and I tweeted about it, and changed the tweetvite accordingly. I thought, cool, this is could be kinda big, or it could just be another Friday night at work.
I put a note up in back so that everyone could see what was going on for the night. I informed the hostess of the event, so that she wasn’t caught off guard by any phone calls or questions from patrons. Then I went around and started telling all of the servers and bartenders the same thing. Some of them reacted to me telling them about the event like it was a normal occurrence, i.e. out of the soup of the day or something. Some of them looked at me with blank stares because they don’t know what I’m talking about, much less have a facebook account. And then it happened. The last person that I told got to me. I said, “Hey, if any of your tables show you that they’ve checked in on foursquare, they’re getting a discount tonight.” She immediately responded, “What? Foursquare’s so stupid, why are we doing this?”. I snapped back in shock and said, “Screw you”, and walked away hurt. In that 2 seconds it took her to utter her feelings on foursquare, all of my efforts and work that I’ve put in to CK’s seemed to have meant absolutely nothing. I know it’s not true, but it’s how I felt. I was so mad at her. I couldn’t even look her in the eye for the rest of the night. And I didn’t speak to her for the rest of the night either. It was like someone stepped on a new toy I had received for Christmas. It was a punch to the gut. The worst part is, I didn’t even want an apology. Because I know she doesn’t understand all that I’m doing. Half of me wants to tweet from our twitter account and tell people to come in, but don’t sit in her section. The other half of me will brush it off and move on. It was just one of those tiny little things that I let get to me. And it may have been a meaningless comment to her, but it was a deep cut for me.
The interesting part about tonight is that I’ve realized that I may be alienating myself from my coworkers. I feel like they don’t understand what I’m doing, or even why I’m doing it. I wish I could hear some of the conversations about me, and sometimes I don’t. But I’ve definitely made myself out to be the resident geek. And there’s a line in the sand apparently. Some don’t care about it, and some just stay on their side. No one’s offered to get involved or help out. I’m taking my own path and not looking back. Maybe some of them think I’m doing it suck up to the boss. Fact is, I don’t care what they think. I’m doing it anyway. And I’m going to keep doing it, and have fun with it. And no one can tell me I’m doing it wrong.