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Old 08-04-2007, 10:24 AM   #1
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Work Issues

I've got a little problem at work, and I can't quite think my way through it, so I'm going to tell you folks about the situation, and you can just tell me what you think.

I really like the restaurant where I work. I think we do excellent food, the waitstaff is generally fun to be around, I generally get along well with the other cooks, and I've got an enormous amount of respect for the chef. Last night's service was a disaster though, and things sort of came to a head. Our dishwasher walked out on us yesterday before service, and that's so commonplace for us that it wasn't really an issue. It especially shouldn't have been an issue since last night was the first night we had the full kitchen crew working together since graduation weekend back in May. There was 6 of us total, plenty enough to work 4 stations, expedite, and for everyone to do a few dishes when they had time.

Unfortunately, the two of us not on the hot line ( it takes 2 to run the cold station on busy nights) basically decame the de facto dishwashers last night, in addition to running our own station. The night sort of went like this: make food for a stack of tickets as fast as we can, then run to the back and wash as many dishes as we can until we get our next rush of tickets. What gets me though, is that we never caught up on dishes the entire night until after we closed, because the other cooks on the hot line spent all of their free time leaning on their elbows or in the back smoking. I was so shocked that they had the nerve to watch us running back and forth all night while sitting on their butts smoking.

The hot line should know better than everyone how critical teamwork is in a kitchen, and they left me and the other guy out to dry. I don't think words can describe how angry I was last night. I've been at the restaurant a year now, and I'll be moving to the hot line literally any day now, but after last night's displays of egos and non-teamwork, I really feel like I don't want a part of it, and a part of me doesn't even want a part of that kitchen. This wasn't a 1 time incident, but a culmination of a growing trend lately.

The guy who was with me last night happened to mention that a buddy of his just became chef at a country club about a month ago, and has 2 line cook position open, paying $3.50 an hour better than what I make now. When I move to the hot line I'm supposed to get a raise, but it will probably be $2.00 an hour if I'm extremely lucky. After what happened last night, I was VERY interested in this new position, and really the only thing keeping me from calling the country club today is my respect for my current chef. He's a really great guy, and he's really taught me alot, but on the other hand, it's not like I couldn't use that $3.50 an hour pay raise I'd get at the new job. I'm really torn here. On the one hand, I feel a certain amount of loyalty to Chef and the restaurant, and on the other hand I'm wondering, "But don't I owe a certain amount of loyalty to myself?" And that part of me thinks I should just cut loose and go for the higher paying position.

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Old 08-04-2007, 10:37 AM   #2
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What about benefits, job security, hours, etc. at the Country Club? The grass isn't always greener.

Good Luck!!
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:47 AM   #3
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I would talk to your current supervisor and explain the $3.50 pay raise issue and see if they are willing to match it. If not, then the decision just became a little easier.
But as Uncle Bob stated, make sure this is truly a more secure and rewarding place to work. The slacker factor is very likely to be at the new place too. There are slackers in every profession. If you continue to out work them the "Powers that Be" will notice and hopefully reward your work ethic. There is more than one way to call a Jerk an Jerk. Do it with utmost professionalism.
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Old 08-04-2007, 11:24 AM   #4
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I have never made my living in a kitchen, but I know a bit about business.

You are ticked off at the moment, get over it.

The issue is the job offer. And as has been stated look at it not in the heat of the moment but consider it cooly, calmly. I know that may be tough at the moment, but get all the facts.

The person you have to be responsible to is you. If there is a better position go for it, but find out all about the offer and make sure it is in your best interest.

Your head chef would probably move in a heartbeat given a much better offer.

You are in a fluid job market and I would guess young. Calm down and consider the offer.
Before criticizing a person, walk a mile in his shoes - then you are a mile away and you have his shoes!
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:07 PM   #5
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Ok, I have two takes on this.

1) Yes, you and your partner were given the short end of the stick. You did the best you could, with what you had.

I look at like this, you showed the hot line cooks that you're better than they are. Was the Exec. Chef aware of what happened? Does he endorse or condone the hot cooks not helping with the dishes? Consider it a "hole card".

I do know that in many restaurants, with a small line kitchen, it can be very hard for many cooks to quickly and easily move onto and off the line without disrupting the other cooks flow and pattern.

2) I've worked in two different country clubs in my career. I'm currently working at one right now.

I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU LOOK INTO THIS! Not just from the high wage issue, but from other benefits that you should get. Free uniforms and laundry service, free meals, medical/dental insurance, etc. Country clubs are usually closed on Mondays, so, barring a Monday golf tourney, you can probably use the pool, play some golf, etc., at no charge.

Country clubs try to do more "gourmet" style meals, so you'll get practical experience with food products that you may have only see or worked with for a short time in college. Also, you'll get a lot of experience in just about every aspect of cooking, from line, banquet, short-order (half-way house or pool grill type), inventorying, food purchasing, etc.
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:10 PM   #6
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All good advice here. I have never worked in the food industry, but here's my two cents.

I would think of my long-term goals. After a year, do you feel you have learned enough (or feel confident enough) to seek a position that's more challenging, creative - a better position - or more in line with your goal?

Another position (doing the same thing) for a little more money may or may not cover costs like transportation/gas etc. Would it be less or more of a commute (your time)? If you decide to take the other job, I wouldn't burn my bridges. Leave on a good note, so the door is always open.

When I'm stumped about a decision, I make a list of pros & cons - & weigh it out. Not every job is going to be perfect all of the time. Hope that helps. Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2007, 03:14 PM   #7
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It depends on what's more important to you. What kind of food do they make at the country club? Will it be a step up cuisine-wise? Which restaurant will you learn more on the hot line? Who's the say that something that happened last night won't happen at the country club? There's many questions that you'll want to ask yourself. Now, if the bottom line is just about the money, then jet. But you have to decide for yourself what's the most important thing(s).
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