One of my many side jobs is catering. I’ve always marveled at this chaotic world in which a spot on a knife can be life or death and putting linen on a table is downright heart surgery – really, I’m terrible at it.
It’s a great escape from my office job and I love to see a plain room transformed into a fantasy world with flowers and linen and lighting. It’s also cool to get free flowers and delicious leftovers. But most of all, it’s a hilarious sitcom playing out in real life right before my eyes and generally helps bring me back down to Earth.
Recently, I catered an event for a bunch of bigwigs. This company had hired an American event planning company to liaise with our establishment.
It was a small group – less than 200 people – but there were about five to 10 frenzied event planners in addition to our catering crew. Walkie Talkies in hand, they rushed around the venue, nit picking and perfecting the tiniest details. Snap, snap, everything must be perfect!
They nearly had heart attacks when a glass of wine spilled on the ground.
“Oh My God! I think we need to move this table to cover the stain!” said one. “Or maybe someone should stand over it.”
“Yes. That’s just what I was thinking.” her colleague replied with an approving nod. Then, they proceeded to move the table four times before they were satisfied.
Ear pieces in place, they radioed one another whilst in the same room to show off to the boss. They gave the evil eye to a few of my shaggy haired male colleagues and chastised another for only having one item left on his appetizer plate – dear God!
At one point in the night, my manager came in sweating and red-faced after talking with the planners. I thought he was going to blow a gasket!
Nevertheless, the event went off without a hitch – as it always does. I was happy to earn some extra cash, eat some pie and enjoy the entertainment.
The intensity and stress with which some people operate is insane. Which brings me to a saying my friend always uses: “Nobody’s going to die.”
After all, we aren’t actually doing open heart surgery here. I would estimate about 95% of us are in careers that would not result in a death if things go awry. Yet, we get so stressed out about meeting deadlines or completing projects that we feel as though the weight of the world rests on our shoulders.
Next time you feel like you’re about to blow a gasket due to a work-related pressure (providing that you aren’t actually in the business of saving lives or in some kind of dangerous career) say this mantra to yourself: “Nobody’s going to die.”
I guarantee it will give you a reality check. Yes, we need to perform our duties so as to keep our jobs. But no, we don’t need to get an ulcer from stress.
There are people in this world who take on life or death jobs. I, a blogger, public relations officer, caterer, and writer – am thankfully not one of them.