• On empty cups and slow learners...

    I once heard a tale of an employer who didn't accept any resignations from employees between August and the end of the year. Does that apply to employers too I wonder?

    '11 Fridays till Christmas' Will Ferrell's annoying Elf face tells us on Facebook. There's a slight season silliness starting to creep in… It's October and it's downhill from here.

    But... that also means it's our season, hospitality peeps! While we paddle like crazy under the surface for most the year, we can enjoy the gentle bopping-up-to-breathe the season brings. And by bopping up I don't mean we sit back, no, we work harder! But for a short 2 or 3 months the sales come to us, we don't have to chase it! Aaaah…nice feeling. Only to start over again when we nosedive into February and faceplant in March.

    Oh and with it the season seems to have brought along with it a good bout of bitterness.

    But hang on, it is a familiar feeling… First time this year, but I can remember it from last.

    It's the paddling. It's exhausting. And apparently I haven't learnt.

    New business owner, sit up and listen. A few ideas from one tired paddler to another on how we can maybe prevent the 'silly season slump'. Next time, when we've learnt. 

    Boss like a boss

    How important is HR in your business? Pretty up there right?

    When last have you looked at the hours YOU, wearer-of-all-the-hats, put in?

    If it was one of your employees pretty sure you'd be worried about overtime...Leave...Burnout???!!

    About time you put your foot down isn't it? I know very well that it is easier said than done – when you are still working in your business and not only on it. But at least try put some working hours in place and stick to that contract!

    Watch growing waistlines

    Now what I didn't know is that employees by law only need to inform their employer of a pregnancy 4 weeks before they intend to go on maternity leave!!

    Hardly enough time to find someone new, train them up, (only temporary, so can't invest too much cause new mommy will be back in a few months) and keep the wheels turning without a glitch?!

    When you have a staff compliment of only 7, and 2 of them tell you about their pregnancy with the one foot in the labour ward certainly shakes things up a bit. We are however delighted to welcome baby Amo into the G&Co family, and our next little one is due soon too! So how on earth did I not notice?? Chef's jackets and aprons hide a lot I suppose, and you're probably likely to gain a few pounds working in a kitchen… That being said, I won't get caught unawares again.

    Apologies in advance if I randomly ask you if you are maybe pregnant. I've learnt.

    Embrace those hats

    Also wearing every possible hat in your company? Some you love, some you hate, some are so big they sometimes slip off and some squeeze the life out of you.

    How about we start wearing those hats with pride, cause even though all I want to do is cook, I have to do the maths too. Bleh. Might as well pretend it is a good fit. I might just learn to like that ugly hat once I've made peace with it.

    No the work will never be done

    And that is probably how it will stay for a long time to come. For two years I haven't allowed myself to do anything other than work. Because I can't do that bit of sewing or paint that piece of furniture until my work is done. Well, a business doesn't just stop running, so my work here will never be done. And that's a good thing right?!! So I'll paint that workbench that's been hiding under a tablecloth for so long, even though I know there's a mountain of paperwork waiting in my office. And so I did – and it felt great! You know what, the stupid accounts can wait.

    (Only till tonight, when I lie awake worrying about the work I didn't do. But oh how great it was while it lasted!)

    Fill that cup

    Yes ok coffee also helps. But also find what fills YOUR cup and fill it! I've generously dished out this bit of advice in the past, but never took it?! Till I got to a point where staff issues, kids hormones, workload, exhaustion and cabin fever made me toss the files and take up the paintbrush. A couple of hours was all it took to feel me again.

    Keep that cup full, wife and mommy, it is so important.

    Surround yourself

    It helps hearing that other business owners battle with the same issues right? Sharing your frustrations might just be someone else's saving grace in business. Hearing that he or she is not alone in this battle, and that it is ok to feel the way they do. Find like minded people and talk talk talk. Never stop gathering information, learning, sharing and motivating. It lifts you up!

     Stop the tossing and turning

    We know now our work will never be done. Not sleeping because of it? How is that helping?

    After losing many hours of sleep in our first year over the overwhelming issue of business compliance, what did I learn? It was a waste of precious rest.

    I did also learn that those things do eventually fall into place. Unless you've started a few businesses in your life, chances are you won't tick all the boxes the day you open your doors. You won't know what those boxes are. And once those doors open, you'll probably get so caught up in the paddling, those boxes end up taking a back seat. Until late at night. When you lie awake stressing that you'll get arrested because all the legal docs aren't in place. You won't. Make a list, get all the help you can and tackle each of it one by one. Then sleep. You'll need the rest.


    Here we are at the end of a less-than-desirable week. A week of feeling exhausted. A week of not wanting to wear any hats. A week of not wanting to Ginger&Co.

    A week of realising an urgent need for change of scenery. Looking at the big year planner on my wall (ok I admit it was purely out of self pity) I counted 3 weekends off since our lovely beach holiday early in January. Only to realise the one I counted actually happened last year. So two.

    One was spent on the Wild Coast, running half marathons along the beautiful coastline by day, and partying for the first team at night. Cup-filling stuff yes, but restful? Not.

    The other weekend off was spent in Kidd's Beach, too scared to move for in case it stops, like a deer in headlights. Not going to make year-end on two weekends I'm afraid.

    So we will close the kitchen (and the laptop) Friday afternoon at 4pm latest. We will pack the kids, dog, bags, bikes and coffee machine and we will head south. It's for sanity, self-preservation and cup filling. There might be a glass or two being filled too while we watch the sunset. Just us 4 and our mad dog. 

    And before I start reminiscing about Christmas bonuses and annual leave of years gone by, I remind myself that despite the merciless pace, there is no other boss I would rather work for.

    So suck it up buttercup, and all those in our industry feeling a stir in the air… Do what you need to do to get ready, 'tis the season and that crop ain't gonna harvest itself.



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