And other helpful hints.
Nothing brings co-workers together like venting about the slacker. What I have found is that the slacker usually doesn't realize that they have been appointed resident scape goat. I have been there and it sucks. You leave work one day and all is fine, the next day you come in and no one will speak to you or look you in the eye.
Sometimes it is your fault...sometimes it is just your turn.
Here are some things you can do to keep your time in the corner from being too frequent or extended.
1) Do not be a slacker on the sidework.
This is the number one issue that many find unforgivable. The work has to get done and it will get done. The only thing is, if you aren't doing it...it falls to your less than grateful team members. It is a form of theft. You are stealing someone else's time.
We all have emergencies that pull us out of work early, but if you have a gravely ill child/roommate/parent on a weekly basis or more than four dead grandparents... no one is buying it.
If you are assigned to roll 50 set ups, roll 75 so no one can say anything. If you are assigned to keep the drink station stocked, keep up with it all shift. Don't wait until all the straws, lemon, napkins, and ice are gone before you bring more. Me personally, I am constantly in motion with my sidework. When I am cut out of rotation, I usually only have 10-15 minutes of work and my paperwork. Some of my co-workers will lean on the bar when it is slow and gossip. They won't clean or stock anything. Once they are cut, they are stuck with an hour of sidework and I STILL get out before they do, even if I am a closer.
2) Don't be a tattler
This one is tough because there are times you really should go to management with concerns. I have found that management usually doesn't care who is gossiping about who. They don't care who is slacking off. They don't care if a server gives bad service or is rude to guests. I know this sounds cynical, but I have found that managers are usually overworked and snowed under with all the details involved in running a restaurant/bar/club. They don't care who didn't stock the bread baskets last Tuesday. When you should probably go to management is when theft or illegal activity is involved on restaurant property. Otherwise, just mind your own business and worry about your own yard. You will get a reputation as a whiner otherwise.
3) Gossip is a four letter word
About the biggest mistake we ALL make is getting involved (friends/romantically) with our co-workers. It is so easy though. We work the same hours, have the same gripes about the workplace, we have cash burning a hole in our pockets, we aren't ready to go to sleep yet, and the local bars offer shift drinks and late night meals. It is so much fun to go have some drinks and cut loose with our coworkers, but it can have some sobering repercussions.
a) Making buddies with your coworkers always brings personal drama into the workplace. No good ever comes of it.
b) It can fuel horrible gossip wildfires that nothing can put out...especially if someone tends to run their mouth when drinking. Having a couple of drinks with the team sounds fun until your judgment gets clouded and you tell your barback how no one likes him.
c) Two words.....Love Triangles.
As hard as it is, the best way to keep work as drama free as possible is to keep your worklife and personal life as separate as possible.
Also, regarding gossip. Don't respond to it, don't pass it on, and don't believe it. You will be thankful for it when it is your turn to be the "Treat of the week".