The first time I fired someone, I left the conference room, went straight to the bathroom and threw up.
I was 23. Maybe 24. I felt like a total ass hole. It was the only person I have ever fired prior to my current job. I had a part in other people getting fired, definitely. But not the act itself.
I have lost count of the number of people I have fired since I started my current job. I currently have 22 people working in my kitchen alone, this doesn't count the servers and bartenders employed by the restaurant.
And this may sound ridiculously cold, but it is easy. Compared to the first time, I don't have a single qualm about any person I have fired. Every single person was adequately warned or broke company policy. They all expected it.
One guy was caught smoking weed on the clock.
One guy was late so many times that I suspended him. Then he called at 6 pm for a shift that started at 10 am.
One guy called off 3 times in his first month.
And so on. Obvious reasons to let every single one of them go.
Enter this week. I have a meeting tomorrow that will determine the fate of two of my staff members. One of them has been an employee for 7 years. He has a shit attitude and the owner is done. He also has crippling depression and a drinking problem that affects his mood. And the front of house manager HATES him. I don't think I am going to win the fight for him. But I am going to have to fire him.
The second employee is someone who helps to the point of their own detriment. She tries so hard but is genuinely just really really bad at her job. I like her. But I am fairly certain I have to fire her.
Neither of these people will see it coming. Neither of these people will have any kind of back up plan or any other jobs lined up. It will totally shock them both.
I suddenly find myself extremely uncomfortable at the thought of firing either one of them. I will be backed into a corner and my hand will be forced in both cases.
This job is hard. It's hard to juggle 20 something people's lives. It's hard when I have to cut hours and hurt someone's well being. It's hard when I have to fire people I don't want to fire. It's hard being in charge. I have been a manager before, but never in a circumstance where I am reporting directly to an owner who basically says "call me only if necessary." It's my kitchen, my staff. It's me fielding the calls when someone is unhappy and me fielding the call offs. It is me covering the shifts. It is me me me me me.
Sometimes that is nice. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Tonight is the latter.
I spent an hour on the phone with one of my shift leads tonight discussing basically all of this.
It's hard to be liked and to manage.
It's hard to be effective and to still do what I love.
It's hard to be good at my job and care about the people who work for me.
Today is hard. Tomorrow will be significantly harder.
This is not my dream job, because my dream job is to own my own restaurant. But this is as close as I have come. And right now, in this moment, in the next 24 hours, I really fucking hate my job.
My front of house manager said that he has become so desensitized to firing people it doesn't even phase him. He has fired pregnant women, single dads, so on and so forth with no remorse.
If I ever get there, I am lost.
If I ever get there, I am not me anymore.