From Iceland — Side hustle: Making pizza for 7 years


Einar Agust Thorvaldsson sails the seas and serves pie

Einar Agst Thorvaldsson juggles his life as a fisherman on boats sailing from Grindavík with his job as a shift manager at Domino's Pizza. Though he's only 19, he's keen to get into the local property market. “Fishing is well-paid, but life in Iceland is expensive,” he says. “I'm trying to take advantage of all the opportunities I can to buy a house or apartment as soon as possible.”

Einar Agust Thorvaldsson, 19, member of the deck crew Valdimar ship

I started working at Domino's when I was 13 while I was at school. I was studying engineering and needed work experience to get my license, so I worked on the boats. When I got my day job, I continued working at Domino's because the pay was good, but I eventually cut my hours. The way the fishing industry works, you often only get a week or two off, which is too long. So every two weeks when I go home, I can work a shift at Domino's so I have something to do.

Manage your schedule

The good thing about Domino's is that they have a group chat and it's easy to take over a shift because anyone wants to cancel a shift. Every time I take time off from the ship, I just talk to the store manager and they make me a shift. It works out really well for me because Domino's is a flexible employer. Sometimes if I come back early from the ship, I'll take over a shift at Domino's that evening.

I mainly work in one Domino's Pizza location, but I also travel from time to time. About 30% of my shifts are travel, and 70% I work in the main location. It's a bit difficult because I live in Selfoss, and there's only one Domino's Pizza there, so if I want to travel, I have to drive to Reykjavik.

The ups and downs of work

The best thing about this side hustle is that it's fun. I really enjoy coming to work at Domino's. I always have memories of working on New Year's Day. For example, last summer in Iceland when Domino's celebrated their 30th anniversary. I wasn't supposed to work that day, but I got a call at 6pm saying, “Einar, can you help out?” So we all pitched in. It was the busiest day I've had in the last three years.

I don't like closing up shop and working until 1, 2 or 3 in the morning. I like being able to go home at a set time and go to bed.

Seven years later, I still love pizza. I love it a lot. I eat it three or four times a week. When I'm working, I eat at Domino's so I don't have to spend money. As I often say, free food is the best food.

Pizza Rage

It's really amazing how people can get so upset about pizza. I'm a shift manager, so when an upset customer comes in, I'm usually the first one to talk to them and try to address the issue. If the pizza is 5-10 minutes late, I offer a free soda as an apology. This works really well and is kind of an official Domino's guideline. Just apologize and let the person talk. We do 300 orders a day in just one store, so naturally there's at least one customer who is unhappy about something.

It's amazing how people can get so upset about pizza.”

One time, a very angry drunk guy came into the store. He asked for a pizza. I said, “Sure,” told him the price, and told him it would be ready in 10 minutes because it needed to be in the oven for 7 minutes. He came back 2 minutes later, right after I put the pizza in the oven. He was very angry and yelled, “Where's my pizza! Where's my pizza!” He just wanted his pizza now. He went to the back employee area to look for his pizza. So I took this pizza out of the oven after about a minute in the oven and gave it to him. He wanted this pizza now, so he could have it now. After a long day, I was really angry, but this was the solution. He wanted his pizza, so I'll give him this pizza.

He was too drunk to notice and just took the pizza and left. No complaints were received.

Searching for stability

I can't believe how quickly things can change. For a whole year I was the “new guy” and then after 6 months I was one of the older guys. It's really weird to see so many of my friends quit and move on to other stores or other jobs. But as long as you're having fun, we all know the saying: “If you find a job you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life.”

I will probably stay at Domino's Pizza for a long time. But as a day job, I want something more stable. I can't do shift work forever. It's ok now because I'm young and my life is chaotic, but I don't think it will be possible in the future. The same goes for other jobs. I want to work on land eventually. I don't want to continue this job when I have a family. Sometimes I'll be away for a whole week, other times I might be away for a month. My mom recently had a baby, so I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of precious moments with my siblings because we can't be together all the time. I don't want my kids to go through that.

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