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Troubled by my work

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Where I'm working right now, it seems the longer time goes by, and the better I get at my job, the less cooking I actually do.  To a degree, I understand this.  There are things that need to get done, and I do precisely that, get it done.  On the other hand, I spend a lot of time wondering why I'm helping people do this that I could do myself.  I don't want to sound arrogant or pretenteous, but I'm one of the few people (if not the only) in that business who can be informed "You have at least 20 people about to order." and I'll handle it alone with little stress.  Saturday night I'm watching from a slower fish station (where my manager has me training a new guy) as another cook gets annihilated on the grill, struggling to keep up even another person assisting him and another fishing all of his plates.  Meanwhile our prep work is diminishing, and I the idea occurs to me that I could be running that grill station alone, any one of those three could manage the station I'm working, and one or two of them could be producing prep work.  But that's where I stand; training and babysitting.  Always training the new guy to cook so he can be the guy doing it most of the time instead of me, and then get stuck helping that person later because, even though I've given them all my knowledge and tricks, they can't perform like I do.  

 

Some people will try and tell me that it sounds like I'm moving up in the world, starting to manage people, and have responsibility.  But the fact is I have no authority, I'm not the most well compensated cook in the kitchen, and I'm not even the first choice from a promotion.  But anyway, I'm not to sure what to think of all this, I'm trying to keep a good attitude but it's difficult.

post #2 of 14

Great thing about living in this country is that you can leave a job and find another one better suited for you. You may have to move, you may have to take a pay reduction to get into a kitchen with more upward potential, but one thing you don't have to do is stay.

 

Life is too short to stay at a job you don't like.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #3 of 14

My very first culinary job (way before I went to culinary school) I was in charge of just frying the calamari. A monkey can do that. It was a tough service that night and I must have got caught up because the chef started screaming that he needed a calamari order to come out. All of a sudden, a super hero from the grill station swooped over and handled the calamari and swished away back to the grill station. After the service was done and things calmed down, Mr. Hero was praised and later became Chef de Cuisine at our sister location. 

 

Try talking to the chef and ask him if you can take the grill station. If not, become a HERO my friend......become a hero.

post #4 of 14

^Agreed.

I've had a job like that; almost to the T of what you're describing, pcieluck. Finding out how much more money my "supervisor" makes while I'm running the entire show and he's in the closet all day snorting coke, and coming in most mornings coming down from heroin the night before. I was trying to keep the kitchen together by training everybody to work efficiently. The prep cooks worked fine when I was around, but when I left, they would have "dance parties" in the back and I'd end up running out of product. On my days off, I'd hear stories of the chaos on the grill the nights before. I'd have to constantly be on the FOH and bartenders for the tips like I was a loanshark making my rounds everyday (cooks got tipped out). I ended up finding out one of those dance party kids made more than me too. LOL!   Finally, I had to have a sit down with the "Manager" that I was either quitting immediately, or give me a fat raise and a promotion. He pleaded with me not to quit and gave me the raise and the promotion. Soon, I found out that he was also in the "coke closet" with my supervisor participating in the sessions because the owners caught the manager red handed and fired him. I was moved over to one of their other restaurants just before that, but it was more of the same BS... kind of... so I quit.

Life is too short. 

post #5 of 14

Is there anyone in charge seeing all this go down? The fact that you've been asked to train the others shows a certain recognition of your talents. That can either work in your favor or against you depending on how you approach it.

 

I have been one of the burn victims. Like you at my last job the better I got in the kitchen... the less cooking I did. Eventually I was moved out of the kitchen almost completely to do purchasing/inventory. Initially I was excited to learn another aspect of the business, but it came at a huge sacrifice. Not only did I step away from my passion of cooking, but I soon realized I became the scapegoat for everything that went wrong. And the department bitch for everything the managers/lazy people didn't want to do. My work ethic and general positive attitude usually gets me through some crazy drama and straight up BS, but at this job I just had enough and got the @#$! out.

 

It doesn't seem out of line for you to approach your chef/manager/boss and let them know how you feel? Again politics are different in each kitchen, so I'm not sure how feedback would be received. You can always look for other employment opportunities first, and then talking to your boss about your position and the fact that you're considering other jobs and seeing how it goes from there (in which case you should make sure you have some good leads).

 

Most likely you know your work environment better than any of us, so consider the factors and go from there. My best advice comes down to if you are miserable, don't put up with it... it's just not worth it.

'A fool can't act the wise, but the wise can act a fool...' - Kweli

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'A fool can't act the wise, but the wise can act a fool...' - Kweli

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post #6 of 14

sounds like you are a handy dude to have around.   id say put your head down and learn as much about training people as you can,while you can.   overcome the situation first and then move on if you think thats best.  sometimes overcoming something like this is just a matter of time and you just doing what your supervisors tell you to do.   you are not paid enough to worry so much and no one expects you to.   do the right thing every day.

post #7 of 14
I also agree with iamamed. Be the hero! Jump in when you can see your fellow co workers are in the weeds. Help out. Or if you see that you are slow and prep needs to be done. Do the prep. Or offer your sevices to run to the walk in for supplies or to grab fresh towels ect.
post #8 of 14
It sounds like you've outgrown the place and there is no room for advancement.....might be time to move on.Nobody can do more than their share for an extended period of time without it taking a toll.I don't know where you are working but being the best cook in a mediocre kitchen is not the best place to be.You do have an advantage though because you are training most of the new staff you can change the habits of the kitchen.Tell them when someone is busier than them they should ask what they need or if they know the station tell them to scan the line and refill anything that is low.If they can help without breaking the other cooks concentration by filling inserts,etc. than that is way better than jumping on and asking where they are and what they have on.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

I understand that knowledge and experience running a business are essential to being a successful chef.  I look at what the captains of the industry are doing, and consider what my own dreams are, and realize I'm nowhere close to either of them.  There's a lot more I want to do before I find myself buried in paperwork, or babysitting.  I never want to be one of those managers people respect little more than an overpaid expediter.  

 

Even as a chef I'd want to stay very hands on  A few days ago I heard the manager try to tell a cook to stop half ass'ing something, and he replied to him, "I'm the one back here cooking, and I"m going to do it my way!"  If i was the boss, I'd send him home and do his job myself.  Not only am I capable, but capable of doing it better, and I always want to be able to say that.  I want people to do their work realizing that the chef can make child's play of whatever they've been assigned to do that night, and if they don't want to cooperate I'm not going to let them waste my time.

 

I guess the real problem is that I'm thinking about every manager, chef, or owner i've ever worked for.  I don't want to be like any of them; I want to be much better and already have lots of ideas how I could do that.

post #10 of 14

whos to say they dont offer you a sweet  promotion today?   one you wouldnt have gotton if you had stirred the pot yesterday.   the real managers of the industy are usualy seen in the back with their sleeves rolled up doing something.   not many can keep up and thats just the way it is.   lots of people trying.   you must accept other peoples inabilities and on every team you must simply form your ways around the others willing to be there and get it done.   are you a bus driver or a rider?

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Just the mathematics of it, Smork.  Why have twice as many people doing what half the people could do, if people were positioned differently in the kitchen?  That other half can be doing things that are actually useful.  There's no point helping a dog chase it's own tail.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

Just the mathematics of it, Smork.  Why have twice as many people doing what half the people could do, if people were positioned differently in the kitchen?  That other half can be doing things that are actually useful.  There's no point helping a dog chase it's own tail.

i see.   why ask for advice when you know it all.   i knew it would be just a matter of time before i came across you.   goodluck..  

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hahah what?  Honestly I'm just trying to see this from a different perspective.  I have no problem being the hero, and helping everyone, but a hero knows when to tend to the wounded and when to charge forward and end the slaughter.

post #14 of 14

I think its time for you to find a kitchen that challenges you.

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