Monday, September 18, 2006

Manager Wanted

Earlier this year I worked at Cowtown Pizza for about a month. I didn't go there looking for a job as a pizza assembler or mindless laborer; I went there to help the brand new owner turn a horribly failing pizzeria into a profitable pizzeria.

After completing my job application (on a Monday), I hung around and talked for a while with the new owner, Jason Slagle. As we exchanged our ideas about pizzeria operations and marketing, it seemed clear that Jason and I were on the same page. So even though Jason was not looking for anyone to fill the position I was seeking, he ended up asking me if I wanted to come in and work the next Sunday at 4:00. I said "Sure," without even asking how much he intended to pay me.

Jason called me a couple days after our first meeting, on Wednesday, to ask me if I would be willing to work on Thursday. I said it would not be a problem. Then Jason called me Friday night to ask me if I would be willing to work on Saturday. I said it would not be a problem. After only a few days of employment at Cowtown, Jason ended up scheduling me full-time because I was reliable and I did a kick-ass job for him. I still had no idea how much he intended to pay me.

After three weeks of employment at Cowtown, when I received my first paycheck, I finally found out my pay rate: $7.50 an hour. Not exactly the wages you pay someone you want to keep.

Nonetheless, I kept busting my ass for Jason. Here are some of the ways:
  • I worked all the busiest shifts;

  • I worked double shifts;

  • I never called off;

  • I never asked off;

  • I always showed up five or ten minutes early, working without expecting to be paid for those minutes;

  • I stayed beyond my scheduled time off whenever I was needed;

  • I selflessly shared my extremely valuable ideas and pizza-industry knowledge with Jason;

  • I sacrificed my two-hour, unpaid midday break once when a repairman showed up and Jason didn't show up;

  • I cleaned shit that obviously hadn't been touched in years;

  • I treated customers like they rule (because they do);

  • I delivered pizzas one night when I was the only person Jason could get to work with him, even though I made it clear from Day One that delivery was out of the question;

  • I did a hundred times more than any independent pizzeria owner could reasonably expect from someone earning less than $20 an hour, and I woke up sore every damn day as a result.
Jason knew how valuable I was to his pizzeria. The night I delivered, he told me I was doing a kick-ass job. Then, as I was leaving that night, he gave me a six pack of Labatt--his favorite beer--as a way of saying thanks. (Some of you may remember an allusion to this night from the original Aimless "mainpage.")

(Jason, I know you will eventually find this blog entry while searching for "Jason Slagle" and "Cowtown Pizza." So if I'm lying about any of this stuff, please set my readers straight before I finish the story. Leave a comment.)

To be continued...