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Quit in a selfish, but mentally necessary, way. Advice needed

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

This morning I reached a breaking point with the restaurant where I was working.  For weeks all the cooks have been overworked.  The restaurant is understaffed but nobody wants to acknowledge it.  There is NEVER enough time to get prep done before service, but the owners refused to hire prep cooks. The way the kitchen is managed is laughable.  One of the sous chefs has bullied me and everyone else constantly for no reason.  He treats everyone like trash. He is a true hypocrite.  You see him doing something, but if you make it that same way he will yell at you.  I agreed to work four days a week (14 hour days).  for the last two weeks I have been scheduled for 11 shifts without being asked whether it was OK or not. All cooks are paid 80 dollars per day (shift pay).  Overtime does not exist.

 

Anyway, Needless to say, I have been stressed.  Last night, the one sous chef worked my station.  I came in this morning to find the station in shambles.  Nothing consolidated or put into quart containers.  My whole lowboy was trashed and dirty.  The prep list was not even complete, and was impossible for one person to accomplish in 6 hours. If I left the station like that for someone else, I would have been fired.

 

So, I broke down.  I was the first person to arrive so I was alone in the kitchen.  I wrote an extremely short note to my sous chef, and left......That was it.  Mentally, I was done.  I could not bear the stress of another day working in this restaurant.  It was impossible for me to even consider another stress/anxiety filled service, coupled with the fact that my sous chef completely screwed me over

 

I chose to walk off at a horrible time.  The busiest week of the year for the restaurant.  Two cooks already quit in the last 3 days.  I left a sinking ship of sorts.

 

I feel horrible for putting the added stress on my other coworkers.  I really am not a bad person.  I turned off my phone for the day, but I did get an extremely nasty voicemail from my sous.  I could not even finish listening to it

 

I want to attempt to explain myself to him, but I don't know if it is even worth it at this point. 

 

I know I messed up, but anxiety and frustration got the best of me.  I have no desire to return to this place.

 

What would you all recommend doing?

 

 

post #2 of 8

Walk away and don't look back.

When applying for a new position, be very careful how you address your experience there when asked about it. Don't trash them, just say that it was not a good place for you. and you had to move on.

Honestly, if three cooks walked off in the past week and now you, their reputation is probably well known in the local culinary world anyway.

Good luck with your new ventures.

 

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #3 of 8

We've all been there. Do what you gotta do...just get another job. Best of luck.

post #4 of 8

What's done is done and now you just have to mitigate the possible impact of your actions.  While I can feel for you I can't say that you did the "right" thing.  In my eyes you have lowered yourself to their level.  I understand your frustration, stress, anger, and disallusionment but that doesn't condone your actions.  If you don't care about the sous chef then think about how you left your other cooks. You keep talking about the sous chef, but where was the Executive Chef in this whole situation?  I certainly would have gone to him and if you got no satisfaction then I would have told him I was done at the end of the week, or, at the very least, worked through the night and told them you wouldn't be back the next day.  But again, what is done is done and you can't undo your actions.  I wouldn't bother trying to explain yourself to anyone there (other than maybe some of the other cooks if they were friends).  Nothing you say will salvage the situation in the eyes of anyone there.  You've burnt your bridges with most of them.

 

Remember, this business can be a rather small community at times and chances are you will run into some of these people again, maybe when you are looking for a new job sometime.  My advice, going forward, no matter how bad things get do the proper thing, give proper notice or at least adequate notice, don't burn bridges, and don't sink to their level.  In the short term, you haven't done yourself any favors in terms of looking for a new job.  While chefs might be sympathic to the situation you were in, most of us have had at least 1 or 2 of those jobs in our lifetime, many (myself included) will question whether, if you've done something like this once, will you do it again at the first sign of rough times.  It might not be a fair assessment of who you are, but it will factor into the hiring decision.

post #5 of 8

Get out of the industry.

post #6 of 8

You have to do what's right for you and look after yourself - no one else will.  From what you've described, I think you made the right decision, especially if you're only making $5.71 / hr.

 

Only thing I can I suggest is that you follow foodnfoto's advise above - he's dead on.  Don't trash talk your old employer during the interview. Odds are that they're already aware of the situation at your former employer, it truly is a small world.

 

best of luck

post #7 of 8

Walking off the line is NEVER a good decision, you would have been better served working the shift and telling them you quit.  I dont know where you work/live but Chefs and Sous talk to each other, just hope yours didnt get the word out on what you did before you land another position, it could make it difficult for you if its a small community.  Good luck in the future.

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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #8 of 8

Obviously you realize that walking out wasn't the right way to do it, but I agree that you were right to quit.  I bust my ass and everyone knows it, and I've earned respect.  Sounds like a real hellhole, and no way I'd work for five bucks and change.  In the next interview, be honest.  If asked if you put in notice, admit that you didn't.  There are things no employer wants to hear in an interview, but the worst thing is a lie.  Don't trash the place and badmouth your old bosses.  Just say that it was a bad situation and you couldn't in good conscience continue working there.  Then tell them what you can do for their kitchen.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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