How to Get Fired from Your Restaurant Job in 10 Easy Steps

Though most restaurant jobs in general aren’t necessarily the most difficult to obtain, they can certainly be the easiest to lose. The service industry is essentially one gigantic slippery slope of potential pitfalls for any employee who consistently places his or her own self-interest ahead of the unique commitments service employment commands.

According to a study conducted by The National Restaurant Association, the employee turnover rate in the hospitality industry is approximately 66%. Restaurant turnover is higher than the private sector due to several factors, including higher portions of teenagers, students and temporary employees in the industry workforce, according to the NRA’s chief economist Bruce Grindy.

And then there’s plain old stupidity and irresponsible behavior – the two inescapable pillars propping up most restaurant workforces. So if paying your bills or sustaining a semblance of a lifestyle isn’t at the top of your have-to-do list, then perhaps short-term employment at your nearest restaurant is just the thing for you.

Here then are some guidelines guaranteed to jettison you into the ranks of the jobless. All it takes is a little effort on your part. Very little, to be exact.

Call In Sick. A Lot. Especially On Weekends And Holidays. It’s always entertaining to observe individuals who make the effort to get hired for the sort of job they have no idea what they’re signing up for. The hospitality industry is predicated on profiting from special occasions and catering to people during their day’s off from work. To pull this off, restaurants require a flexible workforce who have the ability and desire to work during these times. Being genuinely ill is one thing and most respectable employers don’t want you working around their food if you’re sick. However, if your mystery illnesses coincidently always coincide with Saturdays and major national holidays, do yourself a favor and resign before being unceremoniously invited to never return.

Bait And Switch Yourself. Restaurant managers love liars the same way crack addicts appreciate empty pipes. The road to the unemployment line is paved with the corpses of restaurant employees who promised their hiring managers full scheduling availability then magically couldn’t work weekends and holidays after getting the job. The quickest way to get promoted to customer is to make your boss look like a fool for hiring you, and making promises you have no intention of keeping will do the trick every damn time.

Consistently Give Your Shifts Away. There never seems to be a shortage of people who say they want a job but don’t want to work. Coincidentally, these are also usually the same individuals who constantly complain about not being able to pay their bills while bitching about the infrequency of their scheduled shifts. Granted, part of the enticement of the service industry is flexibility of scheduling and working alongside a pool of people who can take your shift when something unexpected comes up. However, if you fall into the habit of regularly giving your shifts away there’s a better than average chance that your employer will view it as a sign that perhaps there’s someone else out there who’s willing to actually show up when scheduled.

Be Smarter Than Your Manager. The only thing worse than being smarter than your boss is letting everyone know it. Though your supervisor may frequently take up residency in the neighborhood of stupid, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose by pointing out the obvious. One of the primary endearing traits most restaurant corporations look for in their leadership candidates is their willingness to unquestionably take and implement corporate mandates regardless of how mundane or ridiculous they may be. The only critical reasoning that is characteristically required of restaurant managers is their ability to accurately decipher and impact a Profit and Loss Statement, and anything outside of that is about as welcome as a fart in a crowded elevator. There’s a good chance that your restaurant manager is stupid because that’s what the company expects, so not accepting that doesn’t make you appear overly intelligent, either.

Make Theft And Intoxication Your Priorities. Pharmaceutical connoisseurs and crooks are drawn to the service industry the same way personal injury lawyers instinctively sniff out fender benders. Unfortunately, some restaurant employees approach working stoned while simultaneously concocting ways to scam their employer with the same enthusiasm most of us reserve for our next intake of oxygen. Showing up to a hospitality job while intoxicated is a risky proposition due to the abundance of wet floors, sharp objects and dull customers which populate most restaurants, while theft is understandably at the top of every manager’s zero tolerance list. If you’re the guy who can’t make it through a shift without either a flask or a plan to pilfer, then perhaps you should consider a more appropriate line of work. Like politics, for example.

Bang Your Boss. Restaurant workers hooking up with each other is as common as the internet and porn. Though shitting where you eat is seldom advisable, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about restaurant staffs romantically commingling. But the amore line between supervisors and those they oversee is one that should never under any circumstance be crossed. Any restaurant that values the sanctity of its culture has rules in place to prevent this from happening, along with the inevitable drama and potential legal liability such relationships usually pose. However, passion and reason sometimes cohabitate as seamlessly as a Southern Baptist at a gay pride parade and periodically inappropriate workplace indiscretions do occur. If you choose to enter into a romantic relationship with your boss, just be aware that one of you will eventually have to go – and it usually isn’t the person in charge. As always, love comes with a price.

Tell Customers The Truth. The customers may not always be right, but they sure as hell better be tolerated. Like it or not, the condescending “guest” who seems determined to make your life a living hell is also the same nutsack who helps you pay rent and buy beer. Just like the creepy uncle you have to temporarily endure every Christmas, every restaurant shift is filled with surprise visits by incorrigible curmudgeons whose sole mission is to share their misery. If you value your paycheck, your best bet is to swallow the instinct to fly your fuck off flag and instead tell these cretins what they want to hear while sending them on their unmerry way as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, eating periodic shit is sometimes the trade-off for keeping yourself afloat in a world of turds.

Don’t Pretend To Buy In. The person who signs your paycheck expects to purchase a modicum of loyalty in return. Though you may consider the cuisine your employer peddles to essentially be reheated processed Sysco crap, you’re still getting paid to sell it like it just emerged from the kitchen of The French Laundry itself. The same goes for whatever promotional nonsense the marketing geniuses at the corporate office cook up for you to hawk like a curbside snake oil salesman. The condition of your conscience isn’t at the forefront of your employer’s concern so much as the profits you’re being compensated to produce, and the moment you find yourself unable or unwilling to stand alongside the company you represent is also the exact minute you need to begin looking for your next gig.

Be The Guy Who Never Takes One For The Team. Expecting your restaurant job to always be equitable and consistently fair is a little like being surprised when Justin Beiber does something stupid. Sometimes the workplace hole just beckons, and you’re required to take your turn spending time in it. This means that there will be instances when you’re asked to stay later during a shift than what you had originally planned if the business warrants. It also comes in the guise of getting called off unexpectedly if business is projected to be slower, even though you’d rather work. Either way, going with the flow and gaining a reputation for being adaptable to your employer’s needs will go a long way toward increasing your favorability rating and extending your tenure. On the flipside, too many “no thank yous” directed at your boss will place you on the selfish-short-termer list from which there is usually no return.

Make Sure Everyone Knows That The Rules Don’t Apply To You. There’s always that one guy who’s too good to be doing the job he’s getting paid for and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it. This is usually either the aspiring actor whose genius hasn’t quite yet been noticed or the Ph.D. who has magically discovered that his degree qualifies him to wait tables alongside GED graduates. There’s no greater way to strand yourself on a workplace island than to claim superiority over the people you’re working alongside while assuming exemption from collective menial tasks meant for all. Though you may have convinced yourself that you don’t deserve the same fate as your coworkers, your my shit doesn’t stink attitude will land you quick residency in time to look for your next job, asshole purgatory.

Terry Everton is a cartoonist and “wage slave.” Read other articles by Terry, or visit Terry's website.