This is my first, I do believe, after work posting. So forgive the drunkeness. It is 12:33 am, early by most standards. Would have been earlier, but a late 3-top showed up 10 minutes before close and ordered food at 11:05 pm. No matter, we love it, and it didn’t take long.
There are times when you feel demoralized. Usually it stems from an unfortunate performance during service, and your chefs are disappointed. Or you’ve pissed someone off, and shouldn’t have, and feel like a dickhead. Currently, I am feeling demoralized, but not for any of those reasons.
As the lead line cook, I am not anyone’s boss, not in charge, not in any position of authority. Which I acknowledge. The other line cooks are free to disagree with me. But frankly, they’d be wrong. I’m not being cocky (not overly, anyway), but 9 times out of 10, I’ll be right, and they’ll look like idiots. But nevermind that, I am offering my advice not because I love the sound of my own voice (though I do) but because I believe that they can do better. There are 4 cooks currently that I believe can be awesome. Truly talented chefs. And I offer all the advice I have. I have worked their prep stations, and spent months on their service stations. So I offer advice when necessary.
But moreover, I expect the best from them. I shouldn’t have to tell them to clean something up, they should know that they should clean it up. I shouldn’t have to tell them twice to put something away, they should have done it the first time. I shouldn’t have to tell them to put something in a smaller container such that it won’t take up too much space in the walk-in, they should know it already. So when I do tell them, I seem angry. Cause I am. Cause they should have already known it. Cause I believe the best in them. And when I confront them about it, asking, why won’t you do these simple things I’ve told you to do time and time again, they say, “This is the best I can do,” or “Cause I’m forgetful,” or simply, “I’m sorry.”
What am I to do with that? Do I bother to keep trying? And it gets worse. In the more heated moments, when they are refusing to listen, or have not done the simple tasks you’ve assigned them, or shown some inatiative, and you’re yelling at them, asking them, “Why didn’t you clean this up/cut this correctly/put this away/come talk to me?,” they will just stare at the floor, or keep working on something, or ignore you. They pretend as if you aren’t even in the room. Like you don’t exist. It can be too much to take. They throw all the advice back in your face, refusing to believe in themselves as much as you believe in them.
On the bus-ride home tonight, I listened to the saddest music on my iPod – I’m a sucker for that, shutup. This was the most frustrating experience I’ve had at work thus far. I thought about tomorrow – the prep day, service. And I thought, I should get there really early, have some time to prep, get ahead, do some awesome work.
Despite all the bullshit of these kids, I still love working there, love my job, love the work. Let the revolution continue.