I work for several different booking agencies. Many of them have it stated in my contract that eating on the job is strictly prohibited, but its sooo hard to ignore the smell of fresh popcorn, sweet cotton candy, grilled hamburgers and all the yummy sweets parties are known for serving.
It wasnâ€™t until I was photographed at a party with a mouth full of cookie that I decided to put a nix on eating on the job.
- It was not hygienic to eat near my paints
- It was rude to be eating will I am being paid to do a job
- If I wanted to maintain a professional persona then I needed to be prepared on the job which includes eating before a job or arranging a break time to eat outside my painting vicinity.
I get hired to do long events where I might be standing on my feet for over 6 hours. Bending and lifting kids can not only work up a hunger, but food is a must when you are working at such an intense pace. Whenever I have an event booked for longer than 4 hours I always require a 15 minute break and I pack a light lunch that I can eat during my break. I learned this method the hard way, but to this day my method helps me avoid hunger headaches and ensures I am able to do my best job possible.
Because of my Latin roots and the majority of the parties I attend are hosted by latin people, they are always offering me plates of food and sometimes alcohol. Latin people are notorious for demanding that you eat their food and enjoy it. I explain to the host that I do not eat during my jobs, but they can always pack a plate to go. Most of the time I do not want the food they are offering anyways, but letting them know I will take a plate to go kills 2 birds with one stone so that I donâ€™t offend anyone or have to stop painting to eat.
I also do a lot of events that have lavish catered food and I make sure never to assume I am allowed to eat the food until the event planner invites me. Nothing is ruder than standing in line inÂ front of invited guests and serving yourself a plate of food. I look at myself and a hired guest, and I would not appreciate someone eating from my party without an invitation to do so.
If you are a hiring agent, I suggest writing some general rules to avoid your performers potentially embarrassing you. Make sure to state that there is no eating on the job and that alcohol on the job is strictly prohibited. If the client requests that you eat, you must wait until your contracted time is over or request a plate to go.
By laying down rules you can avoid losing a gig and setting a standard for professional behavior. Sometimes stating the obvious can mean the difference between a headache and a tip. Communicate everything assume nothing. Words to live by.
Heather is the CEO of Silly Farm Supplies, a retailer of face and body art supplies.