Sunday, October 26, 2014

What is the lesson going to be in this?

I was super excited and proud of myself when I got promoted two weeks ago.  I was assured that I'd be working with our head chef until it was clear I had a handle on it.

Life, on the other hand, had other plans.  The day I was supposed to start working with the chef one of the cooks didn't show and didn't call yet again.  This meant he was going to be let go from the company.

This adds a big chunk of stress to my already stressed out head chef.  There were VIP visits, supervising the kitchen, ordering, checking in orders, inventory and the big family event the company we are contracted with was planning.  Let's toss into that mix he would now have to take over all the cooking for one of the stations.

That Monday, I had to figure it out on my own.  I hadn't worked with the woman who was training me because of Columbus Day.  There was information I didn't have, but I now have that.

This week was filled with massive mistakes.  My friend Pam says she likes getting a new job but hates the first six weeks because she feels like a dumbass.   Not only do I feel like a dumbass, I feel like I've been tossed into the deep end and told to swim when all I can do is tread water long enough to get a gulp of air.

This has left me terrified.  Terrified and terrified of meeting with my chef to discuss what's coming up this week, what I'll need to be doing on my own and how much help I can anticipate so I can get my timelines together.

It's now clear I'm going to need to be putting in some extra time at work, which means overtime.  That's a silver lining.

What I am now is scared.  I'm no longer excited. I'm frightened.  And a little paranoid. 

This is going to be a huge learning experience and I need to battle through the thorn thicket to get to a place where I can get through a day unscratched.

I asked chef if we could have a quick meeting on Monday so I could get my schedule together.  It's going to take every last drop of my courage to do that.  Five to ten minutes and I'm not sure I wouldn't rather free fall into a big bag full air.

I've had some long talks with myself about what the worst case scenario would be.  Getting let go isn't it.  I could go back to Starbucks or apply to the new Vertz that's just opened up around the corner.  Worst case is I'd be kept on to struggle along, doing a mediocre job and knowing I'm doing a mediocre job. My superiors will know I'm doing a mediocre job and I'd know they know. 

However, I have my plan in place and if that doesn't work this week I'll try something else. If I'm not riding the job by the end of November I may need to re-think.  But I need to give myself at least those six weeks.

I'm going to make sure I'm giving myself things to look forward to.  My good friend Leashya and I are going to be going to a concert on Saturday.   The probably bad, horror movie Ouija is coming out on Friday.  Chris and I will definitely catch that one.  Instead of staying home for Thanksgiving The Husband and I are taking the kids down to San Antonio for three days. 

I have other things I'm going to try to lower my stress level and give myself enough time to get things done at work.  Early mornings and an extra hour to ninety minutes in the afternoon will make a big difference.  I'll still be home with the kids in the afternoons and have dinner with them.  And I'll have my weekends. 

I'm going to be taking this one day at a time.  I'll be checking in. 

*deep breath*

Amanda's household hint of the day:  Put a flat sheet, a fitted sheet and extra pillow cases into a pillow case to make it easy to grab when it's time to change the bedding.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This has not been my best week in life

Oh geez. 

I've taken over the new position.  I had four days of training, which was fine.  I then took over on my own.  The two big days at my station are Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Wednesdays we serve taco salads and Thursdays we serve pizzas.

I never made it to my first pizza day last week because I slipped in the dry storage room and hit my head really hard on the edge of a shelf.  I ended up with a minor concussion but was back at work on Friday.

Anyway, that week was OK.  I hadn't trained for a Monday because we were closed on Columbus Day.  Monday rolls around and I'm supposed to be being closely supervised by our head chef.  However, one of our cooks didn't show up and didn't call, not for the first time so he was going to be let go.

This leaves us shorthanded in the kitchen.  This means I'm totally on my own.  I found out I was supposed to be serving custom salads and sandwiches on Monday.  When I was training we had put out the same offerings as the deli with more vegetables and different dressings than the salad bar.  Guess what?  I'm supposed to be serving only the freshly roasted stuff from the other stations.  Okay, fine.  I got that figured out and up and served.

Tuesday is pasta salads, I get that out but not on time.  I serve stuff up, clean up and then try to start getting ready for our big taco salad day.  I got some stuff done and hoped I'd be okay.

I was fine until 20 minutes before service and I flew into a full on panic.

On to today.  I thought yesterday was bad?  Oi.  I got to work early to get all my pizza stuff done.  I had been told I'd be partnered with someone today, but that only meant for serving, not for prepping. 
So, there I am trying to stretch 165 pizza doughs then cook chicken, get sauces together, make sure we have enough back up and get it all set up.  I got set up, but then I needed to make something involving apples for our head chef. 

Since we are down a person he's having to pick up the slack and do all that cooking in addition to his regular duties.  He's being pulled in 87 different directions at once and wasn't able to give me the exact instructions for what I was going to make.  It involved puff pastry, apples and sugar and cinnamon.  He tells me to layer it and it should be squares.  I have exactly 7 minutes before I have to be out on the floor so I lay out the pastry, lay out some apple slices with sugar and cinnamon and put another sheet on top, do that again and think I'll use a pizza cutter to cut it into squares after it's cooked.  Chef walks over, sighs angrily and tosses all the stuff off.  Then he walks off.  I now have no idea what to do. 

I go around the corner to where my manager is and say "I'm ready to call it a day!" 

He said "Well, you can't."

I says "I know.  I'm just venting.  I don't know what chef wants me to make.  He just ripped it up and I don't know if Dave is up front.  Should I go up front or should I go back to chef and figure out how to make this thing he wants?"

My boss tells me to take a breath and go make pizzas.

Once I'm out front and serving, I'm fine.  Dave and I get 130 custom pizzas out in 2 1/2 hours.  I'm doing all the clean up and when I'm in the kitchen chef sees me.

"Hey, didn't you tell me you bake?" he asks.

"Yeah, why?"

He asks if I can ice a cake with whipped topping.  Sure I can do that.  Then we have an exchange that this cake is for an employee upstairs who wants writing on it.  Chef makes a face and makes comments that cause me to think that he's NOT going to write anything on it. 

He leaves to do something while I look around for something to put the cake on.  There aren't any cake boxes or platters so I put it on a small sheet pan.  The cake layers are cracked in the pan and one end is squished.  I know it's going to fall apart so I transfer them as carefully as I can. 

I can't find chef.  My boss comes by and I tell him that I can make the cake look good, quickly and explain how I'd do it.  I ask him to get chef to give me an approval since I need to be done in 20 minutes.  Nothing.  I can't find anyone.  I make a management decision and just do it.

Everyone who walks by looks at the cake and says "that looks great!"

Chef walks around the corner, makes a face and says "I have to write on it."   He also wants to transfer it to something else.  This means he's going to create a cake board out of a pizza box. 

I say that we can scrape the top, turn it onto the surface and reice it.  He's not sure about this idea. 

I get the cake transferred and he looks at it.  "Is this cracked?"

I tell him it was cracked in the pan and one end is crushed.  (He made the thing and has moved it 17 times in the last 2 days, I thought he'd noticed)

Then this comes:  "By the way, this is the president's cake."

It's a cake for the president of the company and you didn't tell me?  And you want me to frost it with whipped topping? 

He announces he can't use the cake, gets one out of the freezer and ices that with whipped topping.  I cleaned up my station asked if he needed any help and then left when he said no.

I'm in the car driving home yelling to myself that I've probably fucked my career before it even got started.

I'm hyperventilating at a stoplight when I think:  Okay.  Worst case scenario?  I get fired.  What then?  I go back to Starbucks.  

I am totally dreading going in tomorrow.

Amanda's helpful hint of the day:  Don't ice cakes with whipped topping if you want them to look really nice. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Today was a good day.

I've been at the new job for almost 3 months.  I've been doing well, as I've said.

Welp,  I went in yesterday to find they'd hired someone else to work with the Korean cuisine team.  I knew that one of my co-workers was transferring to another location and some shifting around was going to be happening, but it now looked like I was going to be going elsewhere.

I was finishing up my tasks for the day, getting ready to scrub down my prep table when the exiting co-worker asked me how early I could come in tomorrow. 

"Um, 7. Why?"

"Because you're going to be training with me tomorrow and Wednesday can be a heavy day.  I like to have a little extra time to get everything ready."


I was going to be taking over her station. 

It got back to our supervisors that she'd let the cat out of the bag and I talked with my manager and the executive chef.  I will indeed be taking over the station that serves sandwiches, salads and some desserts.  It's all cold food, except for Thursdays when we make personal pizzas.  Then it's a mad house with lines around the cafe.  I'll be responsible for set up, serving and breaking down.  I'll do a very small amount of menu planning. 

In addition to taking on more responsibility, I got a raise!

As an added positive, I got my phone fixed!

Today was a good day.  I'll be going in early tomorrow to start learning what I'll be doing.

Amanda's household tip of the day:  When you are going to clean your oven, use your vacuum to get the crumbs out.  Soooo much easier. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, which is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.
Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:
  • Believing that you're better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you're special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, it's not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal. In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don't value themselves more than they value others.
When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don't receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — the best car, athletic club, medical care or social circles, for instance.
But underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. You have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make yourself feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and efforts to belittle the other person to make yourself appear better.


This diagnosis is somewhat controversial.  It's not sure what causes it, could be a combination of brain wiring and learned patterns or just a result of a person's experiences in life.

As I've talked about in the past, I have a big issue with jealousy.  It boils down to:  if people think well of THAT person, they must think less of ME.  Of course, my life is about me.  I think we're all in that position.  But, where do I go from here?  How do I change this behavior?

There are things I'm good at.  I'm good at my job.  I can be a good housekeeper when I decide to be.  I'm good at having ideas about stuff to go do that might be fun.  I'm good at cooking.

I do best when I have a checklist of things I can accomplish, something I can look at and say "There.  All completed.  I did it!  Whoo hoo!"

Growing up, when I entered writing contests in school, if I didn't get first place I considered it worthless.  Graduating from culinary school, I wasn't the ambassador for our class, that honor went to my good friend Karla.  I understand that she had more time to dedicate to spending extra time at school helping with events and the garden while I had a family I needed to give my family attention.

However, when graduation rolled around and she was wearing the cords that indicated she was graduating with honors, I actually had the thought "So, what the hell was the point of this?"  I had EXCELLED.  I mean EXCELLED, in my class.  When the year started there were 20 in my class.  7 of us completed the program.  There were financial issues with some of my classmates, one's mom got very sick and he had to go home to help care for her.  And I was at the top.

When I got back in touch to research the possibility of going back to do the pastry program, the recruiter said I was a stellar student and that's true.

The fact that I had completed my dream should have been enough.  Why wasn't it?  I came out of it with a wealth of information that allowed me to walk into my first kitchen job and know exactly what to do.

Growing up, I got a great deal of praise for my grades.  I'm smart, there was no reason why I shouldn't have done well in school.  But, BAD behavior got me a hell of a lot more attention.  I didn't consciously do it, but I know I got something out of it or I wouldn't have kept doing it.  Through a lot of soul searching I've unraveled that I'd run around asking for attention then do something big and dramatic to answer the existential question of existence.  Drama = existence.

My mom didn't have a great mom.  Her ability to parent was limited.  She didn't have a good mother role model, but she had excellent grandmother role models.  And she's a very good grandmother.  My mom did what she knew how to do.  We were all just dealing with what we had to work with.

My maternal grandmother was very generous with gifts.  I learned a lot of years after she died that she and my grandfather were the ones who paid our bills and paid my dad's tuition so he could get his master's degree from Claremont Graduate School.  This allowed him to make more money and have more opportunities in his career.  My mom and dad had a black friend who was accepted to Blunt Law School, the one at Berekely, but finances were limited.  My grandparents put him through law school,  in the sixties.

What my mom knew how to show that she cared was to give me things.  It's what she knew how to do.  Did this instill a sense of entitlement in me?  Yes.  But she was doing her best.

Yes, I'm insecure.  Where that comes from I'm not sure.  Maybe it's just me.

Now I'm sitting looking at a whole knot of stuff I didn't even know was there.  When I put effort into something am I doing it because I want to or so I can use that to show how much better I am at things?

Do I do stuff for other people because I take true joy in that or because I want people to do those things for me or so I can present the image of a woman who gives wonderful things to people?  

This has made me question the way I live my entire life.

I'm scared to death and I have no idea where to go from here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mortification and attempting to make amends

The Husband and I had a very difficult conversation last night.  He broke some confidences and told me some very, very hard truths about myself.  It wasn't exactly an enjoyable experience for me.

However,  some of my behavior was brought to my attention which I am now embarrassed and regretful about.

I'm taking this opportunity to apologize to anyone out there that I have hurt, offended, caused to make a face, etc.  If you're one of them, please please get in touch with me so I can try to make things better one on one.

I'm also taking this opportunity to bow out of anyone's life who would find keeping me in it uncomfortable.   It's breaking my heart, but it's my own fault and I need to deal with that.

I understand that I've probably burned some bridges and that kind of elemental destruction isn't something I can undo.

If anyone has anything that they feel the need to say to me, go ahead and say it.  I'm not saying that defensively, I'm saying it matter-of-factly.

No beauty or household tips today.  Things are a little intense right now.