What you see isn’t always what you get

The movie Waiting, with Ryan Reynolds, is set in a Chili’s-style restaurant.  It follows a new hire in the restaurant through his first day on the job as he meets all of the usual characters that inhabit such places.

Anyone with any job experience in such places will recognize all of these folks.

There’s the hot hostess who is too young for anyone to hit on except the truly stupid.  The line cooks that give mouth to the servers and spend the money they’re making from working the line on hot cars to get hot women. There’s the older waitress who is bitter and bitchy in the backroom and nice as can be in front of customers.

Reynolds plays the cool guy that knows the scene, always knows what to say and is well liked by all.  There’s also the bumbling manager (who is stupid enough to hit on the underage hostess).

And there’s the dishwasher, who is a burned-out professional just looking for a no-stress job.

Funny and silly movie. But it also contains a great insight.

One of the bits of restaurant culture the new hire is introduced to on his first day is the P____ Showing game.  You score points by getting folks to look at your privates, as you display it to them in different poses.

Near the end of the movie, the dishwasher explains to the new guy how he thinks the restaurant went from the brink of failure to success. A few months ago the restaurant was doing poorly and about to be closed. Corporate brought in a new manager.  The new manager hired a new line cook. The line cook brought the p___-showing game from a previous job. That game made work fun and helped build camaraderie among the workers.

The new enthusiasm and teamwork translated in better service and better service resulted in more customers and the restaurant turned the corner and became successful.

The dishwasher explained that corporate thinks the new manager turned the place around and will promote him, but he’s really just an idiot who got lucky by hiring a line cook who brought in a game the workers found enjoyable.

Maybe the dishwasher was right, maybe not. He certainly was right that the manager shouldn’t get full credit. But, he did hire the line cook. But, it certainly wasn’t anything intentional that the manager did.

I think it’s a great insight to realize that the reasons why something works or doesn’t work isn’t always the obvious or the generally accepted reasons.

I give that silly movie credit for inspiring me to look past the obvious answers to try to find that privates-showing game that might be the real cause of success or failure.

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