UnderCover Waitress: Guest Post by Diane Carlisle: Working for Mom

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guest Post by Diane Carlisle: Working for Mom

I am so pleased to have fellow blogger Diane Carlisle compose the post for today! When she says she worked for her mother, she does mean in her mom's "family-owned" restaurant. Her blog, Are We There Yet?, is on my blog list in the left sidebar.


Diane Carlisle is a software developer who enjoys writing, photography, boating, and online gaming. She has written and published two short stories, Lethal Injection, The Seed and Snow Leopard, both available at her author page, D.S. Carlisle. She is the author of Are We There Yet? A personal blog about making progress in her journey toward publication.

Working For Mom – The Pros and Cons of Working For Your Mother

won’t lie to you. I hated working as a waitress and bartender when I was just out of high school. Attending college wasn’t difficult, but working for my mother while trying to keep my grades up was probably the most difficult job I ever had. Forget that my job was waitressing and bartending, which is frustratingly under-appreciated to begin with, always has been. Working for my mother made it near impossible. So, if you ever work in a family run business, know this. Favoritism may be what you see from your perspective, but here’s a little of what really goes on.


1.     You’re not likely to lose your job. Why? Because your mother doesn’t want to have to support you if you can’t find another one. You might get fired for intentionally dumping an ashtray on the obnoxious drunk who frequents the establishment on a daily basis, but you’ll get hired back the next morning when your mother finds out the reason you did it was because he’d called you a whore.

2.     When your mother isn’t around, you are the boss, by association, even though you’re only nineteen. Everyone who works there will listen to you as if what you say goes, even the 50 year old cook in the back.

3.     All of your meals are free. That’s because your mother feels guilty because she doesn’t cook at home anymore. We’re all at the restaurant 24/7 and there’s a stove, a grill, a fryer, and FOOD.


1.     You don’t get regular pay raises or Christmas bonuses like the other workers. The other workers have families to support and need the money. You’re just a college student trying to make a little extra cash. Word.

2.     You get to give Joe Drunk a ride home because he drank too much. Do you think any other employee would be put at such a risk? Oh, the liability! No problem, I’ll get one of my daughters to drive the drunk home. Um, how about we just cut the guy off before he’s had too much to drink? Oh, that’s right; we’re here to make money. But wait, I’m only making minimum wage. What about hazardous duty pay?

3.     Your promotion to management doesn’t include a pay raise. You’ll just get a name tag with the title “Assistant Manager” on it so the others will recognize you as the Chosen One. You’ll also get all the accountability when the rest of the jealous workers stop doing their jobs.

4.     You get to close out (by yourself) a thousand dollars worth of cash to carry home in a bag at 2:30 a.m. while the club next door is in full swing.

So there you have it.  In the voice of Paul Harvey, “The Rest of the Story.”


  1. Thank you for having me as a guest here. I enjoy your blog! There are so many more cons I didn't list, but it could be a whole entire book of them. :)

    1. Thank you, the please is mine. :) If you write that book, I'll bet it will sell well.

  2. Thanks for having Diane--she's awesome! Can't believe you had to do the drunk driving assignment. Yikes. Good post Undercover!

    1. As I am the only one in my family with much restaurant experience, I greatly appreciate the perspective of an actual family member working for a family-owned restaurant. :)

    2. My sister and I both had to do the business of driving drunks home, but she was the one who got to where the title of assistant manager, never getting recognition for it. I got that portion from her.

  3. I can so relate! I work in a health food store for my parents (retail-another thankless profession). Don't have to drive drunks home (thank goodness!). But I'm management, placing tons of orders and everything else, and I haven't gotten a raise in years. But, like you said, I can't get fired and I get lots of free stuff, including food! Kinda (almost) makes up for the lower pay.

    1. The free stuff does make up for the low pay, definitely! I spend anywhere from $300-$600 per week on food items and food related charges. People do not realize how much they spend on food and, as in your situation, retail items. I wouldn't have known this to be true if I hadn't started an aggressive budget back in February of this year.

      The owners of your business also know you are not likely to file a law suit against them if they fail to protect you as required by law. Who would sue their own family? Wait...I take that back. I think I read a contradicting news article somewhere before.

      The benefits work both ways. It's what I'm trying to say. :D

    2. Kathy, don't hold back, tell us what you really think. I always thought you were the senior manager, with all those perks of eating someone's left-overs. Sometimes we don't know how well we have things until they are gone. Sincerely, your brother-in-law, Tim.

  4. Certainly quite a mix of pros and cons!

    Not sure I'd care for driving drunks home...

    1. It was always the same ones and almost every single weekend. Thank goodness none of them ever got sick in my car! >:(

      I think I would have quit on the spot.

  5. Kathy - Diane's sisterMay 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Diane, you had a totally different experience working for Mom than I did. Being I worked for her almost 20 years with a final farewell pay, the economically unbeatable competetive wage of ...


    She would never fire me because I was cheap labor.

    I was never in charge, the new girl was.

    There was a time, I was paid $3.00/hr, paid her $35.00 a week to watch her grandaughter and had to pay for my own food.

    I worked Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, every year, until my husband said no more because I too had a family to spend those holidays with. We opened those days for one customer, the same one you threw the ashtray on.

    I'd be there all day to collect a whopping $15.00.

    Oh, yeah and driving the drunks home, only to be called whores because we left with them. Forget that it was out of the kindness of Mom's heart that we suffered the slutty reputation created by the same customers we helped.

    The name badge with Manager written on it was for the extra duties we aquired, the pay for those duties was that we got to wear it and the other workers didn't.

    Closing alone?!! Try coming in alone, running the place alone during lunch hour. Seat customers, take their order, cook their food, serve it to them, answer the phone and take orders, prep, handle the incoming shipments and cash out at the register.

    You also get to do the shopping on your days off without pay. And never show up on a busy Friday night or Saturday night when your not scheduled because you will be!! And did I mention, without pay!!

    Never work for family, or my Mom if your one of her daughters, unless you get more pay than all the others and do less. Because either way, from someone else's view, you are being favored and get paid more for doing nothing. So may as well be worth your while!!


    1. Hahahah. Tim responded in the wrong place. It's a good thing he remained anonymous.

      We were both on the phone reading your response and I was in tears laughing, "the pay for those duties was that we got to wear it and the other workers didn't" had me laughing so hard I had to shut my office door. :D

    2. You guys (Diane & family) are funny! :D


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