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Tips for losing your job this summer

It's that time of year again and Craig's List is starting to bulk up with restaurant and hospitality jobs aimed at seasonal help. It stands to reason that the actual number of available jobs won't increase over last year, and the pool of broke and willing applicants will be plentiful, older, and more experienced than ever. In the grand scheme of things, a summer gig, full or part time, lucrative or not, will still be hard to come by. So once you actually land one, the best way to screw it up is by partaking in: 10 Best Ways To Get Fired From a Part-Time Restaurant Job.

1) Lie on your application or resume. The restaurant business is a tight knit, incestuous community and maybe you can scam a manager into thinking you worked someplace, but chances are pretty good you'll get bagged when another server asks if you know her boyfriend who has been the Sous Chef at said previous place of employment for twelve years.

2) If you currently have a restaurant job, be indiscreet in your search. Not only does common knowledge say it's easier to get a job when you have one, but your coworkers (no matter how much they love you) are going to circle the schedule for your coveted shifts like a seagull seeking fries at OOB.

3) Gossip like a Desperate Housewife. Once you land a job, you and anyone else hired at the same time are the Newbies. You'll be new until yet someone else is hired, at least a month after you start. The people with seniority (this is a subject for another column as I believe in Fair and Equal Treatment for All) will be watching and listening. No matter what they may say about the dishwasher, the owner, the server who has had "enhancement work" or one of the obnoxious regulars, keep your mouth shut until you are no longer new.

4) Keep your phone turned on. This means personal phone calls, texting, Facebook, or checking the Red Sox score. Once again, your mom was right when she said, "If Tommy jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" All eyes and ears are on you, and life (especially in the restaurant business) isn't fair.

5) Over and above a sanctioned after-shift libation, drink heavily at work. Next to stealing, it'll get you fired faster than anything else, with no questions asked or answered.

6) Become romantically involved with your boss. Chances are pretty good your boss has a boss, too, and fast-paced summer jobs are competitive enough as it is. Don't give your coworkers an excuse to complain that you receive partiality and favoritism. And who do you think the Big boss will fire first? You or Romeo?

7) Throw your coworkers under the bus. In pressure cooker situations, mistakes are going to be made. Things will get broken, the wrong orders will go out, and not everybody will be able to stand the heat in the kitchen, so to speak. But be helpful instead of pointing fingers. Admittedly, it gets old picking up slack, but few settings require teamwork more than a busy restaurant, and make no mistake, your boss and your boss' boss know what's going on.

8) Call in sick or become suddenly ill. The whole summer is eight to ten weeks and if you want to get hired again next summer, suck it up no matter how badly you want to go on a road trip with your friends from high school. Your manager has a stack of applications on her desk and sadly, you are dispensable.

9) Badmouth your place of employment. This seems so obvious, but I've heard servers commiserate with customers over marginal food in places that are known for cold beer and live bands instead of the cuisine. Just apologize for their dissatisfaction and go find your manager, boss, or someone with experience who can handle and deflect the complaint.

10) Don't take the job too seriously. It's just a summer job, so why act like your life depends on it? Because all and any references will be necessary as you try and get a full time or "real" job after the Canadians flock north of the border. Once again, that stack of applications isn't getting any smaller and giving it your best will make the job more enjoyable and make you a shoo-in for the 2013 rehire pile.

The list of how to get fired is actually much longer, and hopefully, those of you who already have part-time restaurant jobs won't have personal suggestions to add by the time Labor Day rolls around.

The Down Low: Many thanks to those of you who emailed to offer support, encouragement and ridicule as I continue my Weight Watchers journey. To date I've lost 9.1 pounds and promptly celebrated with Number One and Carly Ladd by having Sunday brunch at The Corner Room ("celebrated" may be too strong of a word as one kid read at the table and the other was texting nonstop). I inhaled at least a thousand points with the antipasto alone, and it was well worth the extra lap around the boulevard.

As far as sticking to the plan at work, I've taken to going behind the line of fire to weigh, measure and cook my own food. Tolerance in the kitchen is waning, and I may just be adding another bullet point to the list above if I don't consider packing a brown bag before punching in at the Marsala mecca of Greater Portland.

(Natalie Ladd is a columnist for the Portland Daily Sun. She has over 30 continuous years of corporate and fine-dining experience in all front-of-the-house management, hourly and under-the-table positions. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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