It’s always an honor to be asked to speak publicly… as well as a source of incredibly anxiety for many 😳.
Better than being asked yourself is when someone you’ve watched (and hopefully helped!) grow and transform during their career journey is asked to speak publicly. I’m so proud to see Paulina Gonzalez on this important panel for English for New Bostonians annual event in Boston later this month.
Paulina started with Boloco as a cashier at our original location at the Berklee College of Music back in 2002. She spoke English as a second language having recently come to the US from Colombia. She was later promoted to Team Lead, later HR Administration, and during the pandemic took on the top role at Boloco as Head of Operations. She’s also a professional photographer and loves biking with her husband and two kids.
I’ve been in and around this business for 25 years – moments like these are the true highlights. 🙌
All that said, when I posted this on LinkedIN, a good friend in the business for many years applauded the post with the following:
“A perfect example of the power and beauty of the restaurant industry. It creates opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and learn. Well done Paulina!”
Since his intentions were 100% positive, it was hard for me to respond with my true opinion on the restaurant industry’s role in Paulina’s success. The honest truth is that Paulina and so many others like her, who came to this country with an education, big aspirations, and massive potential often succeed in the restaurant industry despite the unique, life challenges the industry itself poses for its workers. Long, inconsistent hours, low pay, few to no benefits, lots of managers promoted for the wrong reason who have no idea or desire to develop people, and so on. Prolific substance and alcohol abuse are present in nearly ever restaurant in the country, not to mention that if you didn’t smoke before you began working your chances of starting will increase exponentially once in the business. In Hanover, where I live, the town actually designates a bench for the workers in town who smoke… almost all of whom work at the restaurants… situated 5 feet from the town dumpster.
So, while I love the optimism about the restaurant industry and the opportunities it gives people, and no doubt to some it does, I don’t think its a healthy career for most. Like I said to my friend, this is about Paulina, not the restaurant industry. She could have done this in any industry.
Looking forward to hearing her speak on the 27th!