I am always preaching time and place. It was a lesson I had to learn from my jr. symphony conductor. It was a difficult lesson, but one that proved the most useful throughout my life. It has also been a lesson I was able to impart to others.
When I was only in seventh grade, I played upright bass. I was allowed to be in the Flagstaff Jr. Symphony – something that was only for highschool students – directed by Dr. Clarence Shaw. He was my teacher, my mentor and even though we had a large gap in age, he was my friend. His daughter was my private teacher.
One practice, I was messing around. Dr. Shaw was working with the woodwinds and the brass on a particular piece of music. I don’t remember what it was that I was doing, but Dr. Shaw stopped his instruction and looked at me. “Mr. Pickard,” He scolded. “You have the opportunity and privilege to be part of this orchestra, but right now you are wasting everyone’s time.” then he added, “This is neither the time nor the place for your immaturity, grow up or get out.”
Needless to say, I was embarrassed. Everyone was looking at me, including the “Concert Mistress” whom I looked up to and had a massive crush on. I could feel my face turn red and my fingers go numb. I sat down and almost started to cry, but I kept it together. I worked hard and when I had left, I had a four year run as “principle bassist.
Many years later, and a lot of water under the bridge, I was a manager for Denny’s. I worked primarily the night-shift. However, I also worked quite a few breakfast shifts on Sunday. There was this one cashier that worked with me, and he was so funny. He was always making jokes and playing practical jokes on his co-workers. Nothing too drastic, and nobody’s feelings were hurt.
One day, I was called to the front – I had been washing dishes, because we were backed up and our dishwasher called out sick. My lead server came back and said I was needed right away to the front cash register.
I went up there, and there was a very portly gentleman yelling at my cashier. My cashier had a bemused expression on his face. “You should not have done that! How dare you!” The portly man spat.
I got in the middle and found out that the cashier cut up the card saying his card was declined. However, his card hadn’t really been declined, the cashier was playing a practical joke on the customer. I paid for the breakfast, offered my most sincere apology and then took the cashier back to my office.
I told him about time and place, and how being at work and providing service to our customers was not the time or the place for practical jokes.
He looked hurt, broken and shocked that I was not siding with him that this was funny. Then the hammer fell and I had to fire him.
Two years later, he came into the restaurant. He looked very grown-up, and he was in the company of a young lady and they looked happy. He called me over and told me that he had taken my advice and told me that he was now a restaurant manager himself and was getting his own store.
The point is, There is a time and place for everything – no matter what is going on.