Loud and obnoxious

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by hapyegg, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. hapyegg

    hapyegg

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    11
    I am feeling pretty bad lately at my job.

    I am a female line cook and I am having difficulty in accepting another female co-worker's behavior. She is crass, loud, overtly sexy, and very un-P.C person. She however is also a **** good fast cook, very funny girl, and quite attractive. She is like a dude with a female body and doesn't hesitate whatsoever in playing up every quality she has.

    She is very touchy-feely and gives massages and pats guys (and girls) on the butt. She is very talkative and knows how to both kiss up to people and also rag on people. She's got a quick tongue and she can charm her way into doing a little less work, having people get stuff for her, and getting out of a bind. It's all kind of fake and superficial but she sure is a popular girl.

    It really drives me crazy b/c I just can't compete with her. Sure, I am a very reliable cook but I feel like if I need to stand out i need to start acting like her too. No way! I started falling into that trap and I ended up just getting the Executive Chef asking me to accompany him on his cigarette breaks and talking nasty to me. I don't want to use my body to turn other male cooks on, kiss them on the cheek, and sit on their lap. That's what she does!! I have become quite confused, upset, and very reclusive. It doesn't get me popularity points but I do keep my nose out of trouble and just in the food.

    I just don't think it's fair to others to act this way. Even other guys in the kitchen are upset at her --that is until she goes up to them and rubs up against them and massages their back and etc, etc etc.

    She is the darling of every executive chef, chef instructor, and competition judge I have met so far that has a raging libido. She in turn, gets to learn from all these chefs, be in the know, and get out of work a lot earlier and more often than the rest of us.

    It's serving her very well, but for me and perhaps the rest of the "little" people in the kitchen, I don't know how to deal! What do you all think?
     
  2. pgram

    pgram

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    You're not staying focused. She's playing a game, and unless she is truely talented at her job, she's going to end up losing. You don't need and/or want to compete with her. Be yourself and focus on your work! As hard as it may be, you'll end up in a better place. We can't change other people, only ourselves.

    If the executive chefs, chef instructors, and competition judges are showing her the attention, you pay attention to what they are saying from afar. You can learn as much watching as you can from one-on-one attention. There is no such thing as a "little" person--only people who have "little" confidence.

    Focus on your strengths. If you really can't stand the heat in "this" kitchen, then may be you may want to consider finding another kitchen. Unfortunately, we can't always choose with who work along side us. Part of success in life is learning how to stay focused to achieve what we want. If she is as you describe, at some point she's going to do or say something that will cause herself harm and possibly her job. But then, that's not your problem. Working to the best of your ability is. ;)
     
  3. jim berman

    jim berman

    Messages:
    1,908
    Likes Received:
    273
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Very, very well said! That is exactly my thoughts. Use that source of frustration you are feeling as either energy to drive you or energy to destroy you. The choice is but yours alone!

    "Do not be concerned with those things in which you can not change."
    (I live by these words, day in and day out)
     
  4. rivitman

    rivitman

    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    If she touched you, tell her to*&^% off.
    If she persists, I wouldn't hesitate to use physical force.

    Otherwise. focus on yourself and your work.
    Kitchens are tough environments, male dominated.
    Thats niether good nor bad, just a fact. The sooner you learn to dish it out AND take it the better. There are too many pressures to get bent out of shape over personal idiosyncracies, or personality conflicts.

    I draw the line at invasion of a persons body, if you don't want it to happen YOU stop it. If you have to get physical to do it, so be it.

    Be ready for the consequences. Whatever they may be.

    This business is not for the overly sensitive generally speaking. It's the most UN pc of all professions I have been in, including the my stint as an army infantryman.

    Once you adapt to it, it's actually a benefit. You don't have to play the game. You can be yourself and at the end of the day nobody cares as long as you pull your weight. Kitchens are the ultimate meritocracy, and the only things that really gets you disrespect or or respect are your abilities and work ethic. And yes, in spite of whatever off color language or conduct, females that thrive in that environment are some of the most respected cooks in the industry.

    I don't want sound dismissive of your troubles. They ARE a problem.
    But trying to bring the outside world's PC standards into most kitchens won't work generally. Remake yourself. Develop your own rules and persona. Make it known where you stand. Be a proud, strong cook. You will enjoy it.
     
  5. redace1960

    redace1960

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    12
    ohhh, have i worked next to this?! the good news is that she's riding towards a fall. these people usually end up getting the boot because some in charges' partner gets wind of their 'innocent horseplay' crap. of course that doesn't make her any easier to work next to while you wait her out. so keep this image in front of you at all times--imagine how pathetic these antics are going to look when she's a hard 50 and still at it. 'cos she will be, i guarentee it.
     
  6. beefcheeks

    beefcheeks

    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    11
    Please do not follow her ways. It's sexual harassment plain and clear. Get the whole scoop here:

    http://employment-law.freeadvice.com/sexual_harassment/

    You've got to be extra careful these days. You could lose your job, or worst yet be sued for just saying the f-word out loud. I seen it happen.
     
  7. greg

    greg

    Messages:
    1,056
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
     
  8. rivitman

    rivitman

    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Someone lays unwanted hands on me, they get one warning. The next time it's lights out. Owners, HR geeks, GM's?

    Please. Spare me.

    Invasion of one's person merits a harsh and immediate response. If I get canned, fine. If I get a rep for not tolerating anyone feeling me up? Good.
     
  9. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,159
    Likes Received:
    277
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Happyegg,
    I have to agree with pgram and Jim. In fact, if you are reacting to this,she might just lay it on thicker to really cut you down further. Focus on something else.
    Good luck.
     
  10. hapyegg

    hapyegg

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    11
    Thanks for all the advice! The support at Cheftalk is really really good. The responses were very heartening and frankly, surprisingly passionate.

    To Rivitman: what kind of touch would it take for you to consider using physical retaliation? and honestly, if an attractive female cook was giving you a really good hug and a telling you a funny joke, would it be just horseplay or something weird?

    I checked out the sexual harrassment site and i believe my co-worker could be guilty of REVERSE sexual harrassment. Most guys at work just ADORE her but there are a few that don't respond very well to her antics.

    She is guilty of (1) repeated sexual innuendo, obscene or off-color jokes, slurs, lewd remarks and language, and other offensive sexual comments; (2) persistent unwanted sexual or romantic overtures or attention;
    (3) coerced or unwelcome touching, patting, brushing up against, pinching, kissing, stroking, massaging, squeezing, fondling, or tickling.

    Seriously, #3 describes her to a tee!

    I wouldn't drag her through a court case but I am and will always be upset by her methods of bridging the gender gap. Albeit, she does what very few women can do, joke, brag, and move like the best of the guys, but really, is this a necessary precedent to establish? For most women I think, being in her wake is a burden!

    Fortunately, I have developed a pretty good work reputation and like Rivitman said, kitchen people ultimately respect how hard you work. I won that by just coming in on time, never calling in sick, and working as fast as I could. I also am a nice respectful person and that is a positive.

    And I hate to admit it, but the hyper young lady I am stewing over is also the one who taught me how to loosen up my behavior and my tongue in the kitchen. To my benefit, I learned how to be louder, to be more silly, and to be more attentive -- things i suck at. People respond better to me when I speak up than being a quiet worker bee in the corner.
     
  11. rivitman

    rivitman

    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I know inapproprate when I see it, or experience it.
    If you don't, it's not up to me to splain it to ya.

    "She is guilty of (1) repeated sexual innuendo, obscene or off-color jokes, slurs, lewd remarks and language, and other offensive sexual comments; "

    A lot of this in kitchens. Lighten up. What's required of you is a thick hide. If you are sensitive to this kind of thing, I'd quit right away, and never go back. I rather have this that to have to walk on PC eggshells all day every day, worried that I might say something naughty, and get myself canned by some prissy HR puke.

    #2? I haven't the slightest idea what your talking about, and I might suggest that your own attitudes and morals are influencing your perceptions. Does it affect you directly? Or just bug you somehow peripherally? If it's that latter, you may just be paying to much attention to sombody else's business and not your own.

    I have to tell you right now, that outside of some unpleasant straight laced corperate environment, your concerns with what she is doing, the things that don't affect you personally,the things that just bug you around the edges, is going to make YOU the bad guy (girl). I'm not going to accuse you of being a prude, I don't know you. But if this person were in my kithcen, and obeyed my rules about my personal space, I could care less as long as she got the job done.

    You shouldn't either, and you shouldn't depend on the chef or the front office to work it out for you.

    Kitchens are one of the last workplace bastions of honest humanity, and I'll do everything I can to prevent them from becomeing cesspits of forced politeness, fake friendship, ersatz clean living and general all encompassing wal mart values.
     
  12. markv

    markv

    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hapyegg:

    You have a bigger problem than this uncouth vixen. And that is your executive chef.

    He is at fault for not stepping in and doing something about her behavior. He is not only responsible for the food, but ensuring a professional work environment.

    You said you started to fall into her trap, (meaning starting to act like her), and the executive chef asked you to join him for smoke breaks and started talking nasty to you. By nasty, I assume you mean provocative, unprofessional, maybe even sexually inappropriate?

    That just further cements my comments about him and tells you volumes about his character.

    Being in an environment where the Captain of the ship not only tolerates the kind of behavior you described, but is ready to get down in the gutter himself, is not good for your professional development. I would be tempted to find an establishment that takes food and the work environment more seriously.

    I wish you well. Please let us know what happens.

    Mark
     
  13. rivitman

    rivitman

    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    It's not the chef's problem.
    It's her problem.
    If i had 2 cooks that had a problem between them, and it was hurting production, and they couldn't see their way clear to mend it on their own, I'd fire them both.

    There just isn't time for silly EEO crap and personal sensitivities.

    Work it out, leave the chef be. He's to busy to deal with your foibles. If he isn't, then HE should be fired.
     
  14. markv

    markv

    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    10
    I disagree Rivitman.

    Yes, it is her problem, but it's ALSO the head chef's problem.

    The executive chef is in charge of the staff and he is ultimately responsible for creating a productive and professional work environment. Hapyegg stated that this other woman is inappropriately touching people and being manipulative. Her behavior can undermine staff morale and cohesion. It's not just about Hapyegg working it out so she can co-exist with this other person. This other person is effecting God knows how many other staff.

    If someone behaved that way in a coporate office, the boss would be on them in no time. It should be no different in the kitchen. We are just as professional and dedicated as the suits and each of us, up to an ultimately including the executive chef is responsible for carrying ourselves professionaly, turning out a quality product, working as a team, and being profitable.

    If good staff leave because of this bozo, or the quality of the food drops, the manager is not going to want to hear "It's her problem" when he confronts the head chef about the issues.

    The mere fact that the head chef talked "nasty" to Hapyegg speaks to how a lax attitude on part of the chief can allow, maybe even foster the inappropriate behavior that Hapyegg has described.

    Mark
     
  15. kerryclan

    kerryclan

    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    10
    I agree with you Mark.

    Obviously, the two workers should first try to settle the matter themselves. But when that fails, either of them has a right and a responsibility to go to someone in a supervisory position and report the problem. No workplace should subject people to harrassment of any kind. It's bad for workers, bad for business, and it is up to the boss, in this case the chef, to at least try to resolve the problem.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like the chef is part of the problem. :mad: At this point, you can go higher with the complaint or start looking for another job.

    Where I work, people have been fired for less than what Hapyegg"s colleagues are doing.
     
  16. hapyegg

    hapyegg

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    11
    yeah, maybe i'm being too focused on the girl. i was spending so much energy hating her but as my boyfriend said, i have no reason to give her power over me.

    i am letting her get the best of me. She plays on her strengths while playing on my weaknesses. I ended up getting jealous and it made me lose my focus on what is important, learning more about cooking. Besides, with my blinders off now, I see that I really don't have anything to be jealous about. It's not a pretty sight seeing a young woman throw herself at everyone in the kitchen so that she will be liked. It's not a pretty sight to see the Exec Chef fall for it like a high schooler.

    The EC is talented for sure but he's in his own world. he is always flirting and trying to date women in the restaurant. He will give that special personal attention to the female cooks he likes by giving them a one-on-one kitchen demo, asking them to accompany him on breaks, or inviting them for drinks after work. I know b/c I was one of them. I should be getting mad at him for perpetuating a culture of favoritism.

    Anyways, i can't change them and I don't have to act like them. end of story. I'm leaving the kitchen in 3 weeks and will try to find a new place that makes great food and has a better work credo.
     
  17. markv

    markv

    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exactly my point Hapyegg. Your executive chef has helped create this monster.

    Good luck to you. Let us know where you end up and how you are doing.

    Mark
     
  18. keki60

    keki60

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    10
    Just be yourself, let her do her thing eventually she will bury herself. I work with all guys and i can be crude but i also know where my lines are drawn. I have a lot more respect for myself and sounds like you do as well.


    kelly