I'm sure that I might cause a bit of a stir with this blog post since it is being directed at a population that I have direct and very close contact and relationships with, but I just can't help it. It must be said.
Apart from the bad breath, smelly clothes/skin, hacking cough, yellowed fingers, premature aging, decreased lung capacity, fertility issues, stained teeth, increased chances of developing a serious and life threatening disease and large financial obligation....smokers have an unfair advantage. Smoke breaks.
I have worked in restaurants since I was 16 years old and in my experience it seems that at least 90% of kitchen/restaurant staff are smokers. Why I feel the need to have a good old fashioned rant right now is that so many smokers (and I am not saying all of them!) think that they have the right to leave their work duties to head outside to have a cigarette. Just yesterday we were stuck in a big lunch rush and I could not find my coworker anywhere, so I was running around like a mad person serving hers and my own customers. When I found out that she had stepped out to have a cigarette, my top nearly burst! Why does she get to go smoke because she's stressed out from the job while I have to stay and deal with it all by myself? If I were to just stop and go stand outside for 5 minutes, I would get in major shit from a boss, but since she has an addiction it's OK for her to do it? Plus since the majority of restaurant staff smoke, this generally includes the managers as well so they're not the first ones to come forward and say something. Where is the logic in all of this? Now obviously there are exceptions and I have worked with smokers who are very considerate and make sure that their smoke breaks are timed in a way that inconveniences no one. I always appreciate that.
One of my other coworkers has recently quit smoking (horray!) and he pointed out yesterday at the end of his busy shift that he didn't get a chance to have a break the entire shift while normally he would have taken lots of breaks to go smoke. He never realized that non-smokers generally don't get breaks during busy times in restaurants to recharge their batteries and take a breather. Sucks don't it!
Am I being unreasonable and can't really expect to understand because I am not a smoker? I understand that many people will read this and think, "well you should just take a break because it's your right as an employee." Have you ever worked a Mother's Day in any eating establishment in your life? I'm thinking not.