Waiting Tables for Godot

750 Words3 Pages
Waiting Tables for Godot Jean-Pierre Godot, the owner of an up-scale French restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts hired Diane Alemeida to work as a server. The job paid $3.15 an hour plus tips, which was enough to convince Diane to stay in Boston instead of going home for summer vacation. Godot expressed a belief in teamwork and the expectation of excellence from all members of his staff; this inspired Diane work toward these goals. Diane did begin the job by putting in the maximum effort and received multiple compliments from customers on the ability to provide prompt, accurate, and personalized service. The tips that she averaged of nearly 20% per shift punctuated these compliments. The problem for Diane was that Godot did not comment on these accomplishments. The first acknowledgement that Diane received was of a negative fashion. Diane dropped a bowl of soup while trying to carry multiple bowls out at once and Godot not only yelled, but insisted that the menu price of the soup be deducted from Diane’s pay along with an additional $5 to clean the carpet. Godot was prone to fits of temper whenever employees made errors or moved too slowly. This negative reaction to poor employee performance is a form of operant conditioning, utilizing punishment and negative reinforcement to discourage unwanted behaviors. What Godot did not realize is the negative effect this feedback was having on employee performance. The night after the error Diane worked more slowly to avoid spilling and was instead berated for being slow. Instead of going faster, Diane responded by working less efficiently which in turn had an adverse effect on tips. The reaction that Diane displayed could be considered neglect, a passive behavior that allows job conditions to worsen as a result of reduced effort. In the end Diane displayed cognitive dissonance, meaning that Diane’s attitudes were

More about Waiting Tables for Godot

Open Document