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Salty dog

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So I have a cook who's worked for me for about 6 years. His performance has been noticeably declining over the last couple years. He's been hitting the bottle heavy and his wife gave him the boot. After a busy Saturday night where he got his ass kicked he quit. He called me the next day and begged for his job back. "I have to work right now or I'll go crazy!" So I gave him another shot. He still drags but we pamper him in hopes he comes out of his funk. We try and support each other.

He quit at 2:00 Valentine's Day afternoon. Well, at least he called?
 

Eamon Burke

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Weeeeeak. We had three people(out of 7) quit on the same day,and one guy who quit by having his mom call in for him.
 

barramonday

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As you say Salty , at least he called. Valentines is a rough night to pike out on your kitchen brothers!
 

Salty dog

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One's that have been carrying his ass for the last year!

It also meant I was working the line.

I almost forgot how good I was. Almost.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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Sounds like he is struggling, but still...after six years? And after being given a second chance? On Valentine's Day? Pretty bad. Why burn this bridge on his way out?
 

Salty dog

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He's not thinking about bridges right now. One of the reasons I kept him on was to keep an eye on him. We've been through some stuff and I worry about how deep and dark his depression is. If you know what I mean?

Even though he screwed me my standing order of "call me if you start thinking about doing something stupid", still stands.
 

Deckhand

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Caledonia has more muck deposits than any other county in the state.

By the way really sorry that happened. Like you didn't have enough headaches right now.
Hope he gets some help.
 

stevenStefano

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The place I work, the Head Chef has been there for 35 years, and everyone else about 20, me just 8. Funny how in some places there is a large turnover of staff but not other places
 

ThEoRy

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That sucks man. I've had a couple guys bail on me during some of the busiest days of the year. Most times it's like, "well he was a ***** and couldn't handle the pressure on the line anyway, go back to making sandwiches all day." But sometimes I can't help but feel responsible partly for putting them in over their head. You know a guy isn't fully ready but you wanna give him a shot to step up and advance himself. I know how I react under pressure. I thrive on that ****. I rise above it and better myself because of it. That's how I got where I am today. My problem is however, and I do this all the time, I expect everyone to feel like me or think like me. Not everyone cares that much, and I have a hard time accepting that.

I've started learning over the last few years there's a reason I have a 53 year old hot lunch cook and a 46 year old lunch salad cook. They're perfectly fine just dialing in the bare minimum or even less. Not everyone wants to learn more, do more, be more. Not everyone has the passion, desire and drive like my Exec Chef, myself and my Jr. Sous Chef. A big part of being a good boss is just learning people. How to approach people, learning their personality and skill set and then determining who you can trust with what. Not only for the sake of productivity in the kitchen but also so you don't beat yourself up for setting people up to fail. In which case it's always you who has to step in, take over and fix things. You don't wanna be running around constantly fixing things. That doesn't work, and it makes you look unprepared unorganized and unprofessional. When the Chef takes a vacation for a week at my club, it's my responsibility to make sure the members and staff don't even know he's gone. It's a lot of pressure and I take it upon myself to make sure everything goes perfect. For some reason, some people just aren't built that way and I have to accept that.

Everyone has personal problem or issues outside of work as well. There's a lot of stress in life but you have to learn to check that **** at the door. It sucks when guys start drinking, doing drugs and start calling out for whatever reason. I can see the end of the road coming from a mile away at this point. All you can do is give him a chance to turn it around but that's it. Burn me again and you gotta go. I hope you get some help and if you ever need somebody to help you get it, just ask. But we are running a business and there's a really tight knit group of guys here. When you start falling off it's all us that have to pull together and make it through the fire. Even if I let you back in the guys ain't having it. You gotta hear it from them and then I look like I didn't have their back. No win for anyone, creates a negative atmosphere.

I'm not saying anything here you don't already know Scott. I'm just saying I understand how you feel. I hope your guy gets some help, it sounds like he really needs it. It sucks to be on the bottom but if you can get out of it, it only makes you a stronger better person.
 

Sarge

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That sucks man. I've had a couple guys bail on me during some of the busiest days of the year. Most times it's like, "well he was a ***** and couldn't handle the pressure on the line anyway, go back to making sandwiches all day." But sometimes I can't help but feel responsible partly for putting them in over their head. You know a guy isn't fully ready but you wanna give him a shot to step up and advance himself. I know how I react under pressure. I thrive on that ****. I rise above it and better myself because of it. That's how I got where I am today. My problem is however, and I do this all the time, I expect everyone to feel like me or think like me. Not everyone cares that much, and I have a hard time accepting that.

I've started learning over the last few years there's a reason I have a 53 year old hot lunch cook and a 46 year old lunch salad cook. They're perfectly fine just dialing in the bare minimum or even less. Not everyone wants to learn more, do more, be more. Not everyone has the passion, desire and drive like my Exec Chef, myself and my Jr. Sous Chef. A big part of being a good boss is just learning people. How to approach people, learning their personality and skill set and then determining who you can trust with what. Not only for the sake of productivity in the kitchen but also so you don't beat yourself up for setting people up to fail. In which case it's always you who has to step in, take over and fix things. You don't wanna be running around constantly fixing things. That doesn't work, and it makes you look unprepared unorganized and unprofessional. When the Chef takes a vacation for a week at my club, it's my responsibility to make sure the members and staff don't even know he's gone. It's a lot of pressure and I take it upon myself to make sure everything goes perfect. For some reason, some people just aren't built that way and I have to accept that.

Everyone has personal problem or issues outside of work as well. There's a lot of stress in life but you have to learn to check that **** at the door. It sucks when guys start drinking, doing drugs and start calling out for whatever reason. I can see the end of the road coming from a mile away at this point. All you can do is give him a chance to turn it around but that's it. Burn me again and you gotta go. I hope you get some help and if you ever need somebody to help you get it, just ask. But we are running a business and there's a really tight knit group of guys here. When you start falling off it's all us that have to pull together and make it through the fire. Even if I let you back in the guys ain't having it. You gotta hear it from them and then I look like I didn't have their back. No win for anyone, creates a negative atmosphere.

I'm not saying anything here you don't already know Scott. I'm just saying I understand how you feel. I hope your guy gets some help, it sounds like he really needs it. It sucks to be on the bottom but if you can get out of it, it only makes you a stronger better person.
I am in a similar boat. I was somewhat desperate to hire a few months back and took on a kid I knew was a project, but he had decent skills and organization, it went downhill almost right away he has almost zero follow thru, is always stirring up trouble with FOH, has no stamina and "stick-to-it-ness". Gets moody at the slightest correction. I suspended him for a week last month due to his conduct with FOH and so issues on the line. He came back and went 3 days before his old crap started coming up. Tomorrow I'm going to sit him down and make some goals and say this is your last shot here either you start meeting some benchmarks or you're gone.

I have a small kitchen & staff, usually me and two other guys and no Dish so it isn't for everyone. Me I love it going as hard as I can nearly every night working 150 covers with just a 6 burner, 24"x24" plancha, a salamander, and small fryer, and unreliable oven. It takes a certain person and he probably isn't that guy. I live for it, so do my other 2 cooks. My favorite is when its just me and one other cook and we just sling it out. I hope this guy can turn it around and make it past the end of the month. I keep hoping he will and that he'll want to not just do well at work but make something more of himself other than an almost there Pothead
 

Salty dog

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It's best when it's pure. Sarge, enjoy.

Me thinks this guy won't be around much longer.

On the other hand, my "project" has been worth everything I put into it. It's that kind of stuff that keeps you going.
 

SpikeC

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Good luck, Sarge! I have had apprentice jewelers that were like what you describe, and they didn't make it. Good attitude is hard to teach.
 

VoodooMajik

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A good attitude is Hard to teach, and Harder to learn. I have faced a lot of adversity and come out the end with a bit of a chip that needs polishing off. The hardest thing to change is yourself. I wish both of you and your cooks the best of luck.
 

pumbaa

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I wish I could work for some of the guys on this board. The attitudes that Salty and Theory have are amazing and a a total opposite to what I experience in this city. They throw you in the deep end and see if you can swim. I tend to thrive on this now and have gotten used to pushing myself, but there is no teaching anymore around here. But as Majik said you can only tech someone so much and do so much for them before you have to let go.
 

Sarge

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Finally got the project to shut up and just cook. Also he decided it would be smart to start doing things the way I've asked instead of what feels easiest for him, I don't know that I'll keep him as the season slows down since it was a 3 month fight to get to this point and there are still too many rough edges, but I don't want to strangle him at every interaction now. Maybe 2/5 but I'll take whatever improvements I can get.
 
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