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Director of UNH's Health Care Cost Containment Shares Her First Summer Job Story

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Amy Schwartz
Amy Schwartz, director of Healthcare Cost Containment

Amy Schwartz, director of the university system’s Health Care Cost Containment initiative, shared the following story about her first summer job.

My first summer job was being a waitress. I worked at a local seafood restaurant whose legendarily cranky owner used to stand in the middle of the kitchen at the busiest hour of the evening—sometimes there was a two-hour wait—and drop a napkin in front of the order line to see if someone would stop to pick it up. If we did not, we were the emblem of a lazy, slovenly generation. If we did, we didn’t care about picking up the food while it was hot, or about good customer service. The right answer depended on the day, although the help never really knew what day we were on; that was a secret.

There was always a lot of screaming involved, and at times the flinging of dishes (at us). We would then get a disgusted hand wave while she exited dramatically to go have a cigarette. This is the first time I learned the difference between power and leadership. The job really did teach me a lot; I learned the value of hard work, tricks to remember things (I could probably still take a drink order for a party of 15) and the power of solidarity in the face of adversity (see reference to cranky boss, above). I also think it’s the reason that I never freak out when I have multiple things to do all at the same time. I met my lifelong best friend at this job. We go out to dinner regularly. Now, of course, we reminisce about how much fun we had!

Faculty and staff who would like to share the story of their first summer job can email Erika Mantz at erika.mantz@unh.edu.