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The Inspection (Deliveries 4/22 and 4/24)

I pulled into my pizza restaurant’s parking lot Wednesday evening. A greeter was washing the glass of the storefront. I could see people milling about inside. Seemed normal.

Cap’n’s right-hand man, Leff-Tenant, is a smart young manager. He works hard. I enjoy working with him because he’s careful. He’s also considerate of every responsibility in the store.

He was the first person I ran into. He was rocking a beard net and looked nervous.

Exhibit A) The beard net.nsa10pg20-H01FRHairNet

Beard nets are required for certain types of facial hair.

Beards. Duh.

But why nervous?

It’s not like the beard net was of a type that caught fire at random. And it’s not like it held calm wasps to his face that could explode into a stinging rage like wasps tend to. And the existence of his lower jaw and chin did not come into question due to the net. Those types of beard nets might make anyone nervous.

Then I saw it. Corporate color flashed out of the corner of my eye. I whipped my head around to focus, but it was gone.

I looked at my coworkers. Everyone in the store executed tasks with uncharacteristic silence and stoicism. The closing manager got me my starting till and issued my first delivery without so much as a joke. In fact:

“Make sure to wash your hands often, please,” she asked as she popped the cash drawer and handed me my change.

The flash of corporate color. The stoicism. The beard net. The nervousness. These pieces of evidence could only mean one thing:

Inspection.

I checked around the corner where I had seen the corporate colors fly. There he was. The Inspector.

You can always tell an Inspector. Not by the iPad or the pristine uniform. Not even the lack of conversation is definitive.

It’s the hovering. They hover worse than your mom. No, not my mom. YOUR mom.

Time passed. I took a few deliveries. He was still there every time I returned. I tried to stay out of the way. It was obvious he was finishing, though, because the Inspector was calling on Leff-Tenant for individual conversations held at the rear of the store.

About an hour later, I had no more deliveries. It was time for dishes. I stepped toward the back. I tried to slide around and near where Leff-Tenant was speaking to Inspector.

Don’t do dishes, Leff-Tenant mouthed.

I froze, nodded, and turned back toward the dispatch computer. Leff-Tenant later explained that Inspector time was a bad time for dishes.

I saw Cap’n a few times, only between deliveries. She ran to grab something the Inspector needed. Her and I chatted at one point. She told me she missed the chats since I dropped Tuesdays.

After that, she and Leff-Tenant sat through the final presentation of the Inspector.

I didn’t catch that presentation. In fact, the whole time he was there I only heard him say one thing. It was kind. He complimented the Warrior and a trainee on their “beautiful pizzas.”

The Warrior and the trainee had both nodded and thanked him. They savored such a high compliment. If you are cooking in a restaurant, and someone comes in wielding a huge +3 Battle Mace of Business Disruption, and they compliment you on your work instead of hitting you with it, you’d better savor it.

The Inspector had delivered that compliment on his way out. After he was gone, the verdict was announced.

The Inspector failed the store.

Cap’n was livid, or so I’m told. I don’t know how Leff-Tenant took it.

I texted Cap’n later and shared my Career Woman  post with her. She was grateful for my words. She assured me that it wasn’t anything we had done. She took full responsibility.

She was pretty upset. I don’t know the details. And I don’t feel I should. Nor do I want to. One thing I did know: when you try to run such a tight Enterprise only to have it fail inspection, any cap’n would feel down in the mouth.

Friday’s deliveries were done while Cap’n continued straightening things out. She is hitting the ground running, clarifying what was missed and charging forward. If I heard correctly, there will be a re-inspection soon. Sounds like she won’t be allowing the same issues to crop up.

Scrutiny and failure can be intense. Helping buoy up Cap’n during that difficult experience felt right. I’m glad I got the chance.  I hope I get more chances. We’re only $18,000 away from being debt free. This amazing lady and my coworkers help buoy me up while we accomplish that goal. For every intense problem I hear about on this adventure – for coworkers, managers or friends - I’ll try to keep my support  and encouragement intense.

But not just plain old intense.

ROE INTENSE.

(If you find yourself hitting a wall and getting depressed, especially about money, let’s talk. Message me on Facebook or drop me a comment. I may not tell you what you want to hear, but I can promise the resources to get where you want to go.)

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