Recently I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of the major points of the book that I took away is that, above all, people have a strong desire for a feeling of importance. I have seen first hand this principle in action.
One of my manager’s greatest strength lies in his ability to be effusive—the ability to express feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner. When one of his employees does something virtuous, he goes above and beyond to make sure they know how grateful he is. Put simply, my manager knows how to exalt someone.
Our relationship is built on humor, laughter, joy. We have a very jocular dynamic between us. Coming in early or staying late doesn’t affect me negatively. Instead, it’s as if I get to spend extra time with a mentor who can offer my character supplements and also get to turn red in the face from laughing so hard.
It pains me to write this just because of how cliché it has become, but he is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. This manager of mine is only a couple of years older than me but for reasons I do not need to go into here, he joined the workforce when some people on MTV celebrate their (sweet) 16th birthday. It’s refreshing to see that all this work hasn’t turned him sour. I must admit that one of my personal fears in growing up is being overworked and losing some of the childlike joy that has remained. It’s not uncommon for my manager to put in 10 hours days—and unfortunately, sometimes that number is higher—with few days off.
Palio seems to be one of the few restaurants in Ann Arbor that does not open for lunch. I’m thrilled about this. From personal experience, working a lunch shift is slow, and often times I feel like my time can be more productively used. I rarely feel this way about the dinner shift.
Being only open for dinner means that, in theory, our mornings and afternoons should be free. Socializing or being productive in the morning is usually out of the question because of the late nights demanded by the industry. My manager and I have been talking about going to the gym together for months. Recently, we made it happen. While he is trying to drop a couple pounds before his wedding next year, we are both benefiting by having someone hold us accountable.
I want to be ingenuous when I write this: I feel lucky to be working for this man, and even more so that I can call him my friend. If there is one thing I wish to embody that my manager does so well is his ability to aggrandize people. His honesty and emotion are his greatest tools. Something, it seems to me, that are losing merit in the workplace.