Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Morning-After Chill

Okay, I've had my morning constitutional, I've brewed a cup of coffee, I've started to mentally prepare for my day at work. Time to think over the events of last night. Time to rehash, analyze and critique. I still think that my station partner is a dicksucker, but a dicksucker with whom I must go right back to work this afternoon, so I might as well find a way to make it work.

Here's what happened: Kevin - that is, the station partner - is in charge of plating on busy nights, and I am in charge of cooking. Occassionally Kevin will need help plating if we're picking up a lot of entrees at the same time, so I will turn around and help him out for a minute or two. But Kevin has this annoying habit of lining his plates up vertically instead of horizontally, so if I try to help him it just becomes a big cluster fuck because we're reaching over each other, leading to reduced speed and efficiency as well as drips of sauces and oils on plate rims. So I've told him literally five or six times that if he wants me to come over and help him, he needs to line his plates up on the counter in a single row so that we can get things accomplished without standing on top of each other. Last night we're picking up the last four entrees of the night. Every plate is different - a bass, a tuna, a swordfish and an escolar spec - and that can be really time consuming, so I turn around to help him out. Instead of:
O O O O
on the counter, I see:
O O
O O
once again, and I flip out. I'm like "Kevin, how many times do I have to tell you not to line your plates up like that?" Kevin says, "Shut the fuck up."

Now, I understand that Kevin is probably tired of hearing me tell him to do this particular task the right way. You would think that he would do something about it then. Instead, he tells me to shut the fuck up. Not a good way to respond to criticism. If this were the first time I had told him the right way to line the plates up, I don't think I would have gotten so pissed. But when you have to tell another adult - one who is seven years older than me, even - to do something over and over and over, it starts to feel ridiculous. Kevin has been my station partner since, like, September. Can someone please tell me why we are still having this conversation??

Things just went downhill from there until eventually I just quit talking to him and didn't say another word to him for the rest of the night. It's just better that way. Keeps me from getting too stressed out. Ignore the little worm.

So I was downstairs icing the fish down, thinking to myself, there has to be a better way to handle things. The thing I most need to work on are my leadership skills. The cooking thing comes easier for me - I love doing it, so I'm always trying to push myself to improve. But people skills are harder to work on. You have to have patience. You have to lead by example. You can't talk down to people. You have to think, I am not a parent scolding a child; I am an adult directing another grown adult who commands just as much respect as I do. Basically, you have to think before you speak, and I am really bad at that. Probably my best bet would have been to just direct Kevin to move the plates on the counter top to the way that they are supposed to be and left it at that. And if he would have told me to shut the fuck up then, I probably should have just shut the fuck up and then had a conversation out in the alley with one of the sous chefs and let Kevin get in trouble for it. You live and you learn.

In any case, I have vowed that today will be a better day. It's up to me.