Most people think my story and career in food services started with Rie in college. Part of that is true. My adult career started with her when I was a waitress in college – if you count yourself as an adult when you are in college.

But really, my first experience with food service started at the tender age of 15 when I packed my bags and went to Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center to work as “staff” all summer. The jobs ranged from housekeeping (no one wanted), to front desk clerk (needed experience) to lifeguard (everyone wanted ) to last but not least – waitressing. You can guess where a young inexperienced, eager first timer landed….

Things we did and learned:

  • what family style service was all about
  • worked B,L and D 6 days a week
  • arrived a half hour before the meal for pre sets
  • stayed a half hour after the meal to clean up
  • spent time between meals at the pool
  • to carry a tray
  • about customer service – most folks were very nice but we had our fair share of grumps and had to deal
  • to be in uniform for each meal – complete with aprons and hairnets
  • adjusted our daily schedule based on which conference was there and what meal times they requested
  • that the more we worked together, the sooner we could hang out at the pool!

We also we were coached and counseled when we messed up. I still remember being called to Col Finlayson’s office (retired military who was the “Operations Manager”) because I was late for breakfast service. He told me that I did a great job but…..if I couldn’t get there on time, it didn’t matter. He needed people that would be there. I am pretty sure I was on time the rest of the summer!

And…I earned a whopping $25.00 a week (also lived in Cottage B for free and of course, had all my meals). I returned to Massanetta for 5 summers and to this day am still friends with some of the other staff that worked there. You will be glad to know that eventually I graduated to working the front desk!

I will be returning to Massanetta Springs in a few weeks and am looking forward to enjoying family style meals with my friends, You can be sure that I will be checking out food, people and service!!

What was your first job? Was it memorable? What did you learn from it and how do you still apply what you learned to today?