Thursday, November 27, 2014

Relief and devastation at the same time

Why am I feeling relieved and devastated at the same time?  Because I have been shifted from the job I was promoted into back into prepping for the Korean station.

I knew this was coming, the writing was pretty much on the wall.  As I've said, the chef wasn't talking to me unless he totally had to.  Yesterday, there was communication but there were also several snarky comments. Maybe this is just part of the restaurant industry, or maybe it's just this guy.  Either way, I was a disappointment and a frustration to him.  THAT doesn't exactly feel good.

(When I told Pippi what was happening she told me she already knew the shift was going to happen and they'd wanted her to take over what I was doing.  My response?

"Well that was obvious.  It was like they'd moved in a girlfriend, told me she was a nanny but we don't have any kids."

She said "That's funny.")

My manager, who is the master of positive feedback, pressed the point that they were moving me somewhere I'd be much less stressed and unhappy.  He keeps saying he has the philosophy that if a person is enjoying what they're doing they will be much more successful and efficient.  He noticed that I'm very stressed out carrying the pantry position and I seemed comfortable in my skin over with the Korean chef.

I told The Husband when I got home who then asked me why I had such an issue with responsibility. My past record of handling sole responsibility for anything job related isn't good.  I flip out and end up stepping back down.

It's something to bring up to my therapist the next time I see her.  It's worth exploring, I agree with that.  Then I have the thought:  what'swrong with being good at support positions?  I've excelled at assistance and support.  I'm good at it.  When I was in new housing sales, way back in the early 90's, I was a sales assistant to the women in the company that were the most difficult to work with.  When I went to work down in Norco with a woman named Susan, our boss kept calling to ask me how things were going.  I kept saying that things were going well, she and I were getting along, I was getting her potential client files and follow up calls in order.  Later, I found out she went through assistants like crazy.  I was with her for over a year, something that had never happened before.

I'm having some depression now.  I got the idea to go to culinary school in 1997.  It was my dream to learn to cook and then cook.  I've got some evidence now that I may not be cut out for that.  One of my classmates was incredibly talented at creating dishes.  So very much better than me.  I have student loan for my knowledge, but maybe I don't  have the talent.  I execute instructions.  I can follow recipes, but that I could have learned on my own, the way my friend  Chris is doing.  Maybe this dream is just not something I'm able to make happen.

As you can see, I've lost a good deal of confidence and faith in my ability to create something out of thin air.  Mystery basket?  Jesus, when we watch Chopped The Husband has all kinds of ideas.  Me?  Not so much.

My thoughts are going into some dark places and I'm not sure how to proceed.  I know nothing succeeds like success and I'm going back to where I'm successful.  Nothing succeeds like success and all that.

Hopefully, while The Husband and I are in San Antonio with the kids for the Thanksgiving weekend I can focus on having a good time and looking forward to going back to working for the Korean woman who likes me.

Oh, living my emotional life is never boring........

Saturday, November 22, 2014

a li'l update on the job situation

Here's an excerpt of a yahoo chat The Husband and I had yesterday.

The cast of characters: 


Bardiclug-The Husband

Chef-my head chef

Pippi-my recently hired co-worker

Macy-the woman who trained me before going to another account within the company

(anything in parentheses is a little info to give clarification)

lipsticksavior:boy I'm glad today's over.
bardiclug:Crazy day?
lipsticksavior:Crazy morning.  We're all required to get there at 6:30 because the president of our company was coming to visit. As predicted, I saw him walk through the cafe.
bardiclug:He didn't even stop to eat?  Or did Ms. Park (the Korean chef I used to work with) have to make him lunch?
lipsticksavior:So, I've got my plan together about what I'm going to make and put out.
lipsticksavior:I'm feeling like I've got a plan and then Pippi tells me that chef told her he wants to see me pull the leftovers cart and lay all the protiens out to select what I'm going to use. 
lipsticksavior:I tell her 'Okay, I'm going to finish up the tasks I've already started and then I'll get that out.  I've already gone and looked at it and I know what I'm going to use."
lipsticksavior:She says 'Well, I'm just telling you that he told me that that's what he wants you to do." 
lipsticksavior:I finish up and I pull the stuff out and verify to myself what I'm going to be doing.
bardiclug:So why is he telling her and not you?  That's annoying.
lipsticksavior:While I'm working she's asking me what I'm doing, I'm telling her and then when she sees me doing something she thinks I should be doing differently she goes to tell chef what I'm doing and comes back with instructions from him.
lipsticksavior:I make egg salad, turkey salad, chicken pesto wraps, beef fajita wraps, bbq sausage wraps, cobb salad wraps, a  pork loin sandwich with orange ginger marmalade and slaw and get that all plated up.  Then I check to see that we have enough produce for the salad part.
lipsticksavior:As I have done every day since I've taken over this station, I start to take stuff out at 9:30. (everything is set out in a big ice bin, salad bar style and I make everything custom for the customer)  I come back to get all the veggies when Pippi walks up and says "Okay, your stuff isn't covered and he says it's too early to put it out."  Then chef walks up and says he told me before to not set up before lunch.  Get it all plated and put it out after lunch.
lipsticksavior:Okay,  THAT instruction was never given.  Telling me one day to pull everything, put it in the freezer to chill and bring it all back out later is not the same as saying "Going forward, let's wait until after lunch to pull out your set up." 
lipsticksavior:I pull it all onto a utility cart and I'm going to cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the walk in.  I'm then told "You can't have it on this cart.  This is a utility cart."  Okay fine. 
bardiclug:It sounds to me like you need to have a discussion with Chef and ask him to speak to you directly about these things.
lipsticksavior:In the middle of all this it's announced that the president is on his way. Okay, got it.  I'm trying to pull this cart into the walk in and find space for all my stuff.  Pippi walks up and says "The president's on his way.  Do you want to finish covering that?"
lipsticksavior:Yes, I know the president is on his way and no, I have to move this stuff off this cart.  Then Dave (another co-worker) asks me if I just want to park that, no I have to move all the stuff off this cart.  Then Preston (the direct manager of all the kitchen staff and cashiers) comes up and says just put that over here.  I say "I have to move all this stuff off this cart, I've told 3 people now.  I'm trying to find room for all this."
lipsticksavior:Now I'm crawling on the floor of the walk in looking on the bottom of the speed racks, which are all full, so I can move this stuff.  I get so frustrated I started to cry. 
lipsticksavior:Preston's telling me "hey it's all good.  I will help you with this.  get off the floor and let's get this done. "
lipsticksavior:I come out of the walk in and Pippi walks up "The president's on his way."  yes, I know.
lipsticksavior:I get all cleaned up, make sure my mini rack has a cover and sticker then I take my break.  Meanwhile, all the time I spent pulling the food I already put out and finding space for it I don't have my veggies plated up.  When we get back from our break we have our meeting and then I need to get all the veggies into the proper containers and take everything up front and I have 10 minutes.
lipsticksavior:I was 8 minutes late getting set up and there's an issue with deli making enough chips for me to have at my station so I have to go over and take some of theirs.
lipsticksavior:then we had service, the president walked through and at some point Pippi comes over to tell me that chef wants me to get my cart as empty as possible before I leave today
lipsticksavior:I stayed late to do a deep clean yesterday. Usually I'd scrub the floor and some other stuff today but since the president was coming I did it yesterday.  I cleaned inside the drains and made sure it all polished and looking good.  At 2:35 Pippi comes up and wants to know if I'm on track to be out on time.
lipsticksavior: yes, I have to empty my ice bin and the cleaning that goes with that and I'm done.
bardiclug:Well, that was a day....  I'm glad it's over too!
lipsticksavior:That's the situation I'm in. I work and Pippi goes to tell chef what I'm going.  Chef tells Pippi what I'm supposed to be doing.  If that's going to work for him, then fine. 
lipsticksavior:So I have to watch my back because he's got someone watching me all the time.
bardiclug:It could be Chef, but more likely it's Pippi running off to Chef every 5 minutes. 
lipsticksavior:But, it's a frustrating situation at work.
lipsticksavior:pippi keeps saying that S4 isn't going to be her station, but they've got her supervising me and working the station with me.  There's a bunch of info that she was given to tell me that I never got from Macy or anyone else.
lipsticksavior:I have the idea that chef will say he tells me to do things and I don't listen.  But, again, walking by and saying "you know we have a tomato slicer" isn't the same as saying "use the slicer instead of hand cutting those"
bardiclug:Yes, extremely frustrating.   If communication is the problem, the only thing you can do is be more pro-active and talk to him.  Don't wait for him to talk to you.  And if he says something that isn't clear, ask for clarification.  That puts it back on him to be clear about what he is saying. 
bardiclug:That's what I've had to do here, and it's a least BETTER than the other way.
lipsticksavior:I need to do that. 
lipsticksavior:I'm taking all the feedback and implementing it.  And I just wait and see what happens.
bardiclug:Well, you're home now.

And that's what I'm dealing with.  Again, I'm not getting direct communication and it looks like that's how it's going to be and I'll just work with that.  I'm anticipating a couple of things.  One, I had told Preston that I'd continue to run the station through Thanksgiving and then we could revisit.  I have a feeling it's going to be suggested that Pippi take it over.  If we're looking at it like Pippi and I are applying for the position, she is the logical choice.  She has a bunch more experience and knowledge.  Two, everything stays the same and I continue to operate under the status quo.

Next week, we are off Thursday - Sunday, a short week.

I'll be back to riding the waves the first week of December.

Whoo hoo!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Two weeks later, life is not great

I'm really depressed.  Work isn't improving.  If anything, I'm doing worse.  This week, a new line cook was hired and I found out later that she was hired to come over and help me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the help, but my superiors were sneaky about it.  I got that word from the woman who's helping me out.  I also overheard a conversation between her and the head chef about what I was saying, what I was doing and how I'd responded to things he'd asked be done.

This is making me think that not only does my boss not have my back, I need to be actively watching it.  Let's toss in the fact that he doesn't talk to me.  Unless it's totally neccessarry, we don't speak.  I'm working with the woman helping me on Friday and she asked me what the chef had told me about something.

"Oh, he doesn't talk to me."  I answered.

"Well......that's odd."  she said.

"Unless he has to, he doesn't speak to me.  When he comes up to the table, he'll talk to you but he won't talk to me."    And that's just what happened.

I'm now doubting my ability to do anything.  Manage time or produce anything appetizing may not be what I can do.  It's making me feel like ditching it and going back to slinging books at Barnes and Noble or going back to Starbucks where at least I know what I'm doing. 

In addition, my relationship with The Husband is back on shaky ground.  There are days we don't talk to each other and days we get along fine.  It depends on the day and how he's feeling about me at that time.

As I said, life is not great right now. 

That's all.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our heroine had a few good days

Yes, more in the continuing saga of the new position.  I ended up going in to talk to my boss this week, stating that I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew.  I'd come in an hour and a half early for two days in a row and I was just barely getting my service stuff out on time.

Again, Monday was a challenge because I hadn't been trained for it.  Chef ended up bringing me out a bunch of stuff and then told me he'd gotten it out in 15 minutes, so there was no reason I couldn't do that too. 

Tuesday I needed to steam shrimp, cook chicken, hand cut veggies and make an apple tart that involved being baked in a waffle iron.  Again, I'm in an hour and a half early.  I got part way through my morning and went in to tell my boss I thought I'd make a mistake. 

We weren't able to talk right that second but we did get together again after service and I was cleaned up.  What I stated, was that I didn't think I had enough experience to complete what was needed.  I explained that the last couple of days should have been easy, but I was needing an extra 90 minutes to get everything done.   Really, I just sort of vented and ended up crying about how frustrated I was. 

Then my boss surprised me.  He said "Whoa.  You are taking this job way too seriously.  We're just cooking food here."  Then we had a good back and forth about the fact that the kitchen staff is really stretched due to being short-handed, how I wasn't comfortable approaching the chef with questions and requests for help and my general lack of confidence. 

He gave me some suggestions and said he'd talk with chef, we'd then go from there.

Wednesday, we serve taco salads.  I got all my prep done with plenty of time but then had a snafu with the deep frying of tortillas.  I know what to do differently next week.  Okay, check.

Thursday, is the biggest day of the week. We serve pizzas.  I arrived half an hour early to make sure I got everything ready on time.  I was able to get it all out and had a small cushion of time to make sure everything was out.

Friday, I serve premade sandwiches and other stuff.  I used some of the stuff from earlier in the week to have premade taco salads, premade pizzas and then some wraps and sandwiches.  I had to run to get it all out, but run I did and my station was totally full and looking good.

I keep telling myself through the morning "If I can get to service then I'm golden.  If I can get into service then I'm golden."   Because once service starts at 11 a.m. I can stay in my serving station and take a breath.  Then it's clean up time and I can prep for the next day if I need.

I'm anxious to see how this next week goes.  Were those good days a fluke?  Or am I getting the hang of it?

Today, I am resting and trying to not think about work.  Tonight, my friend Leashya and I got to see the Psychadelic Furs and have fun.

Here's to small victories.

Amanda's household hint of the day:  Don't buy anything special to clean your garbage disposal.  Just toss some lemon wedges into it while it's running.