How to Deal With Higher Ups and Co-Workers

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Joined Jul 18, 2017
I noticed that no matter where I work, I always seem to run into the same series of situations.
I would work on a task or some facet of the process, whether a part of the environment wasn't clean because of it, I was torn between doing favors for other people which compromised the project, would fall by the wayside. For me, the getting the task done is all that matters, because my supervisor asked me to do it. It's that simple. It was not my intention that something happened, but the chefs assumed I did it out of intentional disrespect.
OR
I tried to use the customary polite etiquette of "behind" or "around the corner", but almost no one can hear me mostly because they are talking to each other, and they can't hear me over the volume of their own voice. So, I have to raise my voice or become more aggressive just so I can get around and do my job. But the second I do, they get offended and angry.
OR
On a Saturday, the AM prep team under preps me under the impression of simply "those guys got it". And I can't pick up their slack because I'm busy with tickets.

In any one of these situations, I have gotten write ups or lost jobs because of these situations. And it's not just in restaurants and hotels, I've dealt with a lot of that growing up. So, my question is, how do you put up with all of this BS without compromising your career?
Plus I don't know if there's a forum regarding "work culture"
 
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Joined Jan 9, 2019
Do you have a contract, in writing, that clearly defines your job/duties?
If not, then I'd ask your boss/supervisor for the job definition,..again, in writing!
Get everything in writing, ..write ups, etc., ..and retain all.
Suing employers by "ambulance chasers AKA: employment lawyers" on TV ads? what? ;-)
Perhaps at the same time, if you are uncomfortable with your position,...might start looking elsewhere,..?
I've literally walked away from a few sleazy employers ( don't list them on your resume, BTW)
 
3,330
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Joined May 5, 2010
This is a touchy subject and I'm glad someone decided to write about it.
It happens in all walks of life. People can be petty, catty, unmotivated, and disrespectful.
As a manager, I've had to deal with these people in some of the worst ways.
It seems that the quiet ones that work diligently and honorably get picked on the most.
Why?
Jealousy, envy, and just being a jerk.
My career mirrors yours as you wrote it.
Having 3 degrees doesn't prepare you for life working with others.
As you go through life and careers, who'll have to adapt to the culture. This doesn't mean being like them. It means allowing most of it to roll off your shoulder and take it as a matter of our kitchen culture.
Also remember that many people that work in kitchens don't have formal training and pick up habits, whether bad or good, that are foreign to you. Things you learned in school are unknown to these people as they only know what they know from the place they work. Remove them from their comfort zone and put them in another kitchen and they'd be lost.
It is up to you, because the world will never change for you.
 
4,785
1,050
Joined Aug 21, 2004
I have to go home with myself. I don't have to go home with my coworkers. I mold my behavior and actions to be the type that the guy in the mirror respects. He is the one I am ultimately accountable to.

If I get write ups/ lose jobs, due to lack off investigation, evidence gathering, documentation, suggested corrective action, and follow through by a company; then I figure that the company is not deserving of an employee that garners the respect of the guy in the mirror and that I am meant for greener pastures. This employment situation is not at all what the universe had in mind for me.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Same thing happened to me in Kindergarten. I got over it then, you'll get over it now......There are 100's of things that happen in a kitchen daily. None of what you brought up is on any list.........WTF........
 
14
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Joined Jul 18, 2017
Same thing happened to me in Kindergarten. I got over it then, you'll get over it now......There are 100's of things that happen in a kitchen daily. None of what you brought up is on any list.........WTF........
Har har. When it happens to consecutively it straight up makes you want to murder obliviously difficult coworkers? I can't leave a kitchen without feeling this way.
 
14
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Joined Jul 18, 2017
This is a touchy subject and I'm glad someone decided to write about it.
It happens in all walks of life. People can be petty, catty, unmotivated, and disrespectful.
As a manager, I've had to deal with these people in some of the worst ways.
It seems that the quiet ones that work diligently and honorably get picked on the most.
Why?
Jealousy, envy, and just being a jerk.
My career mirrors yours as you wrote it.
Having 3 degrees doesn't prepare you for life working with others.
As you go through life and careers, who'll have to adapt to the culture. This doesn't mean being like them. It means allowing most of it to roll off your shoulder and take it as a matter of our kitchen culture.
Also remember that many people that work in kitchens don't have formal training and pick up habits, whether bad or good, that are foreign to you. Things you learned in school are unknown to these people as they only know what they know from the place they work. Remove them from their comfort zone and put them in another kitchen and they'd be lost.
It is up to you, because the world will never change for you.
I know I can't change people. Honestly one thing I wish I understood before going to culinary school is how much of a people person job it is. And sometimes just accepting the bullshit of it all gets too much. I started going to an airsoft range to release tension, but the source of the problem, a series of problems that seems to be pervasive in a restaurant/hotel environment, never goes away. I'm researching into other avenues of food that maybe I'm better suit for. Any ideas?
 
3,330
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Joined May 5, 2010
I know I can't change people. Honestly one thing I wish I understood before going to culinary school is how much of a people person job it is. And sometimes just accepting the bullshit of it all gets too much. I started going to an airsoft range to release tension, but the source of the problem, a series of problems that seems to be pervasive in a restaurant/hotel environment, never goes away. I'm researching into other avenues of food that maybe I'm better suit for. Any ideas?
Changing jobs just because you don't like the people you work with is a futile endeavor. It's not just the restaurant industry.
 
2,532
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Har har. When it happens to consecutively it straight up makes you want to murder obliviously difficult coworkers? I can't leave a kitchen without feeling this way.
You can only control one path.....Your own.....I started in the Business in Hawaii. I was hired so the GM could watch me fall on my ass. There were 100 employees and I think they all hated me. Needless to say, I just did my job, I did it well. I impressed the people I needed to to advance quickly. The 100 employees learned I wan't that bad of a guy. I was discriminated against, it was hard to go through at the time, but it made me a better person for it in the long run....Like I said, I can only control one person.........Me
 
4,785
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
I wish I understood before going to culinary school is how much of a people person job it is.
When you get down to it, all jobs are people person jobs, whether the people be coworkers or customers because fact is...people populate this planet and they are everywhere!!!

I am not antisocial...but I will never be confused with being a social butterfly, either.

The existence and interaction with the people that populate this tiny orb of the cosmos is a double edged sword for me. The good news side of the sword, because people populate the planet, it creates a need for a product that I can produce and am passionate about. The bad side news of the sword, because people populate the planet, I will encounter them in many different aspects and roles during the process of producing my product.

The good news, people need me. The bad news, people need me. The good news, I need people. The bad news, I need people.

So that I don't become unhinged as I go through my day, I just need to be vigilant in reminding myself that the sword is indeed double edged. The sword/tool is not defective, the results produced from it's use depend upon me. Many times in reviewing the results, I can see the role that operator error played. :~)
 
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Joined Jul 18, 2017
Changing jobs just because you don't like the people you work with is a futile endeavor. It's not just the restaurant industry.
Futile huh? That's incentive for me to concede to defeat if I've ever heard it.
No matter where I work I really am surviving in a world that's setting me up to fail
 
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Joined Nov 27, 2012
yeah I kinda agree with the point that moving gigs cause of people is pointless. You'll never perfectly click with people unless you are super lucky even if you are its a numbers game until something changes. We desperately need people skills even in the BOF, handling our coworkers is half the job tbh. Toxic work culture is a very valid reason to leave a gig, but not the same as just not liking your coworkers.

I may hate bob, but I can work with him even though he was dropped as a baby. However if the powers that be are shorting me on hours for petty BS or expect me to care more about their business than what I am getting paid for I am usually absolutely out.
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
Obstacles don't block our path. Obstacles are the path. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. This applies to ourselves and personalities as much as to situations.

There's some truth but only some. If you've ever tried to change yourself then you'll realize how futile it is to try to change others. If those bums are higher than you in the org chart you can suffer, learn to kiss ass or move on to greener pastures. We're not curing cancer or landing people on Mars, we're just cooking. It should be fun, and short of that it at least shouldn't make you miserable. In this business, no one is looking at for you except you. Full stop!

That said, the one constant in every situation is you. If you can't get along anywhere you go then maybe some introspection is in order.
 
5,557
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
My brother used to have a poster in his room of a horse’s butt, with the caption underneath “ there’s one in every crowd”...

Every workplace has them. Some of them I’ve taken their names and given to family pets, ( fetch, Emil, beg, Emil..) others have been featured in bedtime stories for my kids as arch-villains, and yet others have had their names “ verbalized” as in “ don’t you dare pull a Robin (call in sick with a b.s. story) on me.

What you need to do is to imagine telling a prospective employer that you left X because too many jerks worked there, left Y because of this person, and at Z was the same thing.
 
14
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Joined Jul 18, 2017
My brother used to have a poster in his room of a horse’s butt, with the caption underneath “ there’s one in every crowd”...

Every workplace has them. Some of them I’ve taken their names and given to family pets, ( fetch, Emil, beg, Emil..) others have been featured in bedtime stories for my kids as arch-villains, and yet others have had their names “ verbalized” as in “ don’t you dare pull a Robin (call in sick with a b.s. story) on me.

What you need to do is to imagine telling a prospective employer that you left X because too many jerks worked there, left Y because of this person, and at Z was the same thing.
In a future interview, should I be that blunt about how I left or got fired?
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
If you were an employer, would you hire yourself If you left the last three places because you couldn’t get along with coworkers?

My current place, I have to work with a big-azz Hobart 120 quart mixer. I hate it, I hate the bowl lift that grinds and vibrates like a demon, I hate the bowl lock, and I hate that clutch. But I have to work with it, I do 4 types of bread with that and only two with the spiral mixer. I hate working with the other Baker, when he doesn’t have his finger up his nose he’s telling me all about his, um.. “ conquests” when he takes vacations in Vietnam and Thailand. But I have to work with him, my stuff gets made and baked regardless of how much I hate that mixer or that coworker.

That’s professionalism. Do it.
 
14
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Joined Jul 18, 2017
If you were an employer, would you hire yourself If you left the last three places because you couldn’t get along with coworkers?

My current place, I have to work with a big-azz Hobart 120 quart mixer. I hate it, I hate the bowl lift that grinds and vibrates like a demon, I hate the bowl lock, and I hate that clutch. But I have to work with it, I do 4 types of bread with that and only two with the spiral mixer. I hate working with the other Baker, when he doesn’t have his finger up his nose he’s telling me all about his, um.. “ conquests” when he takes vacations in Vietnam and Thailand. But I have to work with him, my stuff gets made and baked regardless of how much I hate that mixer or that coworker.

That’s professionalism. Do it.
Hmm, well let me divulge to you why I got fired,

All in all, it was an open kitchen. I've openly communicated to my superiors about my disdain for customer who, not very well, lie about their birthday to get free dessert. Because of our price range and the kind of people who can afford it, I can easily tell who are the 'bitches' who are more likely to do it. Apparently smack talking about them with a higher up in confidence with a higher up got me a verbal and written warning.
A completely separate incident drove me over the edge though. I was working with our Hobart to mix dough. Some flour spilled, barely a cup, no problem. And our pastry chef (my boss) asked me to clean it up. But because I took it upon myself to multi-task to be more efficient, I felt it perfectly fine to clean after the dough was done mixing and moved it to it storage. Clean when I am completely done with the mixer. That made efficient sense to. But then, my chef whispered to me "I explicitly told you to clean the mixer. Don't disobey me." That REALLY set me off because it brought me back to an old boss that constantly shat on me for thinking the choices I made was to disrespect him, when I had no implication to. It's a series of behaviors from bosses that has followed me and cost me jobs almost everywhere I worked. It felt like a Vietnam flashback.
Then Thanksgiving came around. we were wicked busy and I couldn't keep up with my station upkeep because I kept getting tickets. For me the tickets come first. I got yelled out for choosing upkeep over tickets costing me speed and punctuality at past jobs and now I believe I must choose the tickets over the upkeep.
I had a 22qt Cambro as a makeshift trash can, I couldn't have a second one as a makeshift dirty linen bag because my boss wouldn't let me. They felt like too much space was being taken up. So I have to constantly fight my way through the cold pass to get to the bag ever 30 minutes to do upkeep. A tall order considering they talked to damn loudly they cant hear me say "Behind you" so I have to yell it at them, something they incoherently take offense to. One day the juggling was too much to bear through the inconvenience upon inconvenience I had mentally just checked out. Something that two guests, this being an open kitchen, saw. That's what got me fired.
I can own up to every screw up I've made in the public eye, but when from my perspective I feel like my coworkers' obliviousness and presumptiveness make it a lot more difficult for me to cope, I have to ask myself, "Why am I doing this? Is this what my passion really is like? Should I just straight up stop trying altogether?"
 
4,785
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Why am I doing this? Is this what my passion really is like? Should I just straight up stop trying altogether?"
Open your own business. Be the boss you always wanted, while engaged in your passion. I did it against all odds. No doesn't exist when it comes to passion.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
I’ve had bosses telling me to cleanup at very unlogical times as well. Whatchyaneedtodo is to ask very brightly, “ is it o.k to clean up after the mixer stops?” No trace of anger or attitude, this trick has gotten me out of a lot of situations, including a health inspector and a very pizzed off Lieutenant looking for volunteers.

That said, I’d be pizzed off about using a Cambro for a garbage can. If there aren’t any buckets around, then use a cardboard box, but please don’t use equipment meant for food as a garbage can.

One of the few luxuries an employee has is that you don’t have to pay for mistakes. If a customer is b.s.ing you, it’s not coming out of your pocket. You just follow the rules and inform your boss. However if you think someone is stealing or lying, you gotta have some kind of proof before you report.

Hope this helps
 
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