Working on the edge

16 Jan

On reflection, my first couple of weeks working were some of my toughest, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing (my fault, I put myself in this position), and anyone that has worked in a fast paced kitchen/dining environment will tell you it is not a learning environment. Everyone is busy, everyone is stressed and things need to get done, now! For example, “Mark, get me 2 decaf coffees”, my first thought, where do I get decaf coffee from, second, how do I make it?. In the rushed environment I was quickly shown where it was and told to pop the decaf cartridge in this slot and hit the switch – simple………..ummmm no. Two important pieces of information left out, you have to check if the machine is full of water and secondly, the switch I just turned on and then rushed away to get a saucer, well that switch doesn’t automatically switch off! J

Our work environment is a “don’t make a mistake” environment. Anyone that has started a new job knows that one thing is guaranteed, you are going to make mistakes, it’s only human to make mistakes – sometimes I think I’m more human than most. So when you are about to serve a table and your hands are filled with hot plates, your head is full of all the information you’re trying to take in, eg seat positions, who ordered what, what side to serve from, names of guests, do I need additional plates to serve this course etc, and as you’re heading to the table your told “don’t make a mistake”, it does not help. A friendly “you’re doing a good job, just remember to……” would go down a lot better.

Constantly you are being told to hurry up. I’ve learnt there is nothing more annoying than being told to go faster when you are already going as fast as you can. I can see it in me, as soon as someone compliments me “you’re doing a good job” you work faster and are happier and want to continue to please. When someone points out all the things you are doing wrong (and when you start a job there is no shortage of the things you are doing wrong) and telling you to hurry up, the only thing you want to do is find the nearest blunt object and inflict pain on them.

Oh, and if you’re going to tell someone to hurry up or complain about having to check out late, please don’t say it sitting down doing nothing. It’s a lot more effective is you say while pitching in and giving a hand.

If there are any managers out there, or if you work in a team environment, go and compliment your employees or co-workers right now, as you probably know it works wonders. And if you have a waste of skin working for you, still try it, try the good old sandwich technique, open with a compliment, then say in a nice way that the person is a waste of skin and needs to improve this this and this and then close with a compliment.

OK, that wraps up my Human Resources class on the work environment for today, please join me tomorrow for our class on workplace hierarchies. Class dismissed, haha looks like my I’m finally putting my $30,000 Human Resource Management piece of paper to use! Who do I think I am, some kind of HR expert or something! Happy working folks.


One Response to “Working on the edge”

  1. Geoff January 18, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    Well Hap
    I think you have just passed Human Resources 101 from the greatest university of all, The University of Life!

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