Tonight was not a great night at work. I was fine. But the rest of the staff did not seem to be happy. It started with a small mistake here. Then a large mistake there. Add a couple of new staff to blame things on and let the Judgment Games begin.
I do not enjoy watching people gang up on others. I try to keep my mouth shut, I really do, but I just cannot.
We all make mistakes. The new girl made the small one. But the Sous Chef made the big one. It was my table and she forgot to start a chicken until after the appetizers were cleared. Chicken takes a while to cook… so this looks pretty bad. I did the right thing and went to the table and told them I had forgotten to order the chicken. I took full responsibility, even though it was not my fault. I find the table rarely believes you when you blame the kitchen, but is usually impressed when you admit you made a mistake and apologize profusely.
So I covered for the chef. I took the blame. But of course, now we have a wounded ego to deal with. So the anger begins. Now the new girl is a complete pain in the ass. Everything she does is wrong. Everything she says is stupid. A constant stream of criticism emerges. But it was the chef that screwed up…
I can only listen to this for so long…
So I stood at the opposite side of the kitchen and loudly told the bartender, across the room, how I was forced to cover for the chef tonight. “How embarrassing”, I say. And later, when the nastiness doesn’t stop, I proclaim to no one in particular. “I find self important people so funny. Look at me, I’m so important.” And finally, when I can take it no more, I look the chef right in the eyes and say “The amazing thing is, the Nightmare will never end until you wake up.”
We create this ridiculous system. We participate in it. And then we abuse others when we look bad. This world we live in is truly a Nightmare.
Until you wake up.
Then all the anger just seems so crazy. So useless. So divisive. So unnecessary.
I know I should keep my mouth shut. But seriously, wake up.
I really needed this tonight.
I hope I can help.
Good for you, saying something. You’re right. You can only take so much and then it just comes out. But you handled it like a true gentleman. She should not be blamed for something that’s not her fault. Even when I worked at a McDonald’s, we didn’t go after the new people if they made a mistake. They’re new! Maybe if they were taught right, or given more time to acclimate themselves, it won’t happen.
I tried to be a gentleman… I think I came off as rude…
Sometimes you have to be firm. I know it sounds childish, but to put it simply, he did start it. People sometimes might not realize that the way they’re reacting is affecting so many people. When a person gets angry, that’s all they can think about. Rationalization is not an option at that point. You just have to tell it like it is, put them in their place, and then maybe they’ll get it. Maybe he was mad at himself because he realized he screwed up, but he wasn’t ready to own up to it and needed to direct his anger elsewhere. Who knows. But you did do the right thing. Don’t second-guess yourself and don’t beat yourself up over it. 🙂
Tristan, you’re great. I wish more people would do that instead of keeping their mouths shut. You’re a sweetie.
Thanks for the support! I do try…
Notice that the chef could not be with ‘what was so’ and you were not able to be with ‘what was so’. Neither of you were able to simply be with that which showed up. I say notice, not blame.
We live in a culture where ‘we are our performance’. As such any breakdown that shows up in our lives disturbs us. When disturbed we act, we strive to protect ourselves and some of us do it by attacking. Underneath the self importance of the chef you are likely to find a human being that felt vulnerable, at risk, who lacks self esteem. Isn’t that each of us? Really, underneath it all don’t we all feel at risk and strive to protect ourselves?
Perhaps it is worth being present to the saying hatred is never ended by hatred but by love. And within that context I ask myself what I would have done if I had been there? In particular I ask myself about that the new girl: did anyone just give her a hug and allow her to feel loved, to let go of her tears?
With my love
I think you hit the problem on the head, Maz, I wasn’t sure what the new girl did wrong but the chef was definitely really upset. You did right to apologize to your table and you took responsibility for a situation that was a “no win”. Very gallant. Your best next move was most likely to have kept a cool head and give the new girl some love rather than try to point out the chef’s problem when he/she was in a rage. I am sure the rest of the staff knew what was happening and thought that the criticism of the new girl was unfair. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail today :-). You have a good heart, Tris.
Perhaps. It is hard when I have zero respect for her as a leader. In reality, the staff was joining in, because it is better to have the chef like you than the new girl. Technically she is the sous chef and not at all my boss, so I am not too worried about getting in any trouble.
I forgot to mention what I said to the new girl in private. I cornered her multiple times and wouldn’t leave without a smile. I made sure that she knew that I knew they were picking on her and I didn’t agree with it. And I even brought her a chocolate in secret…
Too bad the rest of the staff are so weak that they joined in on picking on new girl. I am glad you consoled the new girl. Bravo!
Well handled, indeed. I like the simple truth of that Nightmare statement.
I agree with you.Sometimes it’s difficult to keep our mouth shut,but even when we complain or try to make people understand ,they keep judging us.I encourage you to keep being awake!!
The time is OVER for ego, lies and deception (I refer to the notoriously megalomaniacal chefs of the world, and the girl). You did a very gallant and compssionate thing indeed. In future, however, to avoid direct and immediate negative repercssions, and to facitate (versus delay or divert or distort) the personal evolution of the primary players, try to allow the lessons to be learned by the one(s) creating the situation. Your interventions, despite the loving intent, may be very counterproductive. EVERYTHING happens for very good spiritual reasons, you see. There are no ‘accidents’. As Einstein pointed out, God does not play dice with Creation! Besides, what’s more important: learning a potentially life-long lesson, or a single entree coming a few minutes late? Something to ponder. . . .
Oh, and kudos for having the cajones to call the Kitchen Tyrant on his big screw-up. I know how much guts that takes! And he’ll respect you more now, mark my word (if he’s not a complete a-hole at least!).
I’m not so sure. Take the heat (no pun intended) and be quiet. 🙂 Commercial kitchens are always a mess, even on good days.
Hi, Tristan. You are such a fascinating and prolific writer that I’m going to have to put you back on Daily posts! Your writings this week have been full of wisdom and opportunities for your readers to grow. Good for you! 😎
Thanks Judith… I always love your comments!
My mouth often does the same thing: It’s like it has its very own brain sometimes! And, often, it doesn’t help. We are DEFinitely a funny, funny species. The only thing to do: Keep laughing, because it gives a little room for Love to slip in………..
We absolutely MUST wake up–you are so very right. Anger is going to bury us on this planet if we don’t!