I recently started work at a nice tea house I always enjoyed as a customer, and am finding the experience a let-down.
Jetlagged from flying in on Thursday, I worked 5 hours at a heavy shift Friday and nine today with only a 15 min break (in both shifts together, actually). Kind of exhausted/despise my boss. Friday night was REALLY busy, and she only had herself in the back and me on the floor, so one waitress for about 10 increasingly over-flowingly full interior tables to make all the tea, get the food out, take orders, serve everyone, do the dishwashing, explain the event that was going on, blah blah, because she's too cheap to properly staff? Also she had a teary panic attack in the back at the prospect of dealing with a lowish-key event her store does every month, and made me tell everyone some bullshit excuse as to why they couldn't order food because she hadn't *really* planned properly and so didn't have time/staff to make any.
She used to be in marketing, right? And so it was her Dreeeeeeam to own her own business-- but she's both the best and worst thing that's happened to the place. She's certainly driven and probably very good at marketing, but completely incapable of dealing with stress. Small, cramped, busy kitchens are no place for the delicate and histrionic. I've worked in a LOT of restaurants before, and it's never been like this, never been this bad.
She's just /stupidly/ illogical in terms of her basic practical logistics of the business and in terms of handling people, and can't be decently civil/professional/effective to save her damn life. Today we had an even-busier-than-Friday party in the afternoon, which resulted in Bosslasy a snapping left and right as rudely as possible (use your eyeeeeeees!!!!! ...in a busy, full to brimming kitchen to spot the small canister which is the proper home of the knife I will shortly need and be very angry at the misplacement of) to vent her incredible righteous anger (at... being a middle class white chick with occasional self-imposed career stress? idek.) that she could not even be SPOKEN to at the moment, such was her INCREDIBLE BUSYNESS!! This despite that there were quick questions that really needed answers, and she was going to bitch later if, due to lack of info, anything got done 'incorrectly.' And her correctness is so arbitrary--as my co-worker Arta pointed out, it absolutely defies logic, and is frequently contradictory, so nastily, constantly and bewilderingly delivered it reduces the employees to a state of jittery, bewildered incapacity. As Arta and I were doing dishes, with her washing and me drying, I finished a batch and moved on to collecting more dishes for Arta to wash. She was slotting some of them in a drying rack as I grabbed her a few more. Bosslady's Fiance strode in and told me to exclusively dry, so that I could stay on top of each and every dish. This despite the fact that if the dishes don't have even a moment to air-dry, you're just spreading the wet around, it takes MUCH longer to wash than to dry, and that if Arta runs out of stuff and has to stop and hunt more plates, we all have to grind to a halt. It's a small, stupid moment, but it's sort of exemplary.
Things that would and SHOULD be smooth and routine and not terribly stressful become horrible when she's in the shop. She has no understanding of how to train people (or even just /basic/ 'how to run a business effectively on the personnel end' shit) and is content to shout at her employees and imply that we're dumb for not knowing things they've /no reason/ to know about her business. I brought a cake order back to the kitchen--several of the cool cakes need heated up, served with the cream that's at her station, etc., and got a sneering 'are you JOKING? Go ask the people out front what you've done wrong!' for not knowing these particular ones were served as they were. Counting up the shifts, this is like, my third day. And I haven't really had any training, because she doesn't have people come to work unless it's HEAVING (two full weeks passed in which I couldn't catch ONE shift), and so there's never a quiet moment to go over things. I don't object to hard, complicated work, to long hours, to strenuous labor, to difficult tasks. I just object to poor treatment, unreasonable expectations and working within the confines of a sloppy, shitty, amateur-hour organization.
Having polished a plain teapot and set it in the bleach solution, someone, maybe me, maybe someone else, put another pot in the water tup full of pots, on top of it, and the first pot's spout cracked. Got hauled in back for a lecture about being more careful. Not sure this was me, or what the pots slipping against each other in a dish bucket and one breaking due to, most likely, a pre-existing hairline fracture exacerbated by water pressure or the slight contact with other china has to go with my carelessness, or why I still feel guilty and affected by this cunt's criticism emotionally when intellectually I know she's the stupidest thing on two legs since my dad's Girlfriend of the Month from the Slut Circular catalogue collection he appears to have ordered last Christmas. Still, as Bosslady whinnied that the shipping costs on Plain White Teapot had been $100 from the US, in addition to thinking 'they ABSOLUTELY were not, I know what things cost in *dollars*, you Northern fool,' 'really? what a terrible business decision you have made, to ship a single plain and completely unremarkable teapot /from a country that does not even really DO tea/ for, purportedly, $100, when you live in a country FUCKING FULL OF TEA MERCHANDISE,' and 'if you attempt to dock wages over this, I will fucking end you,' I also *felt chastened.* /What/? No, excuse me, no, like FUCK I will be your slavish feelings-monkey.
She's ridiculously competitive with employees who might rival her knowledge/afraid to devolve knowledge and power, badmouthing former staff left and right at the slightest provocation. I can't bear her bullshit and her pompous overbearing nasty uncivil attitude. I'm submitting resumes to other people and leaving asap--I didn't one one more goddamn thing to deal with right now, but she's just /mad/.
Also--the way she and her fiance who helps run the place act implies that I'm lazy? I'm a LOT of dubious things, but that's not one of them. This REALLY godawfully busy 9 hour shift had ONE thirty min break in it. She tells me to take it, then tells me to do 5 more things, and then when I get done says I've wasted 15 min of my break and now I can only have like, 15 min total off. And later, we're hosting a big party: I've poured final refills of black tea to people, and they don't want any more. There's some tea left in the pot, and we have a second, so I make a cup. Her fiance comes around and starts sniping about how I should really try to take tea closer to break, or I won't work sufficiently hard, you see.
Because I have so much fucking goddamn opportunity to take a break.
And because I don't NEED *any fucking liquid* to stand and work hard in a hot room for 9 hours without any interruption.
And because people in offices NEVER have a cup of tea/coffee and keep working.
What a total twat.
Also she doesn't pay for breaks (lunch, coffee, any, all), though preeeetty sure she's legally required to. Pretty. Sure. And Katy thinks she's required to GIVE more breaks than she does. :/ Whatever.
It's just a shame her epic cuntosity has ruined the place for me /as a customer/ I really *liked* it, though I think largely due to the almost universally nice and competent staff. Despite being herself of the Raging Bitch tribe, she's picked out weirdly pleasant useful people ...to insult and train poorly and rage at when she's failed to plan properly. And Bosslady's marketing skillz have resulted in decent schtick, with the tea timers, design, and menu--credit where it's due. (Though her attempts at macho Shylocky 'make the customers give us a pound of flesh, precious!!' comments are as nauseating, small, cheap, pathetic, small potatoes, just *funny* and lacking in decency as they are short-sighted in terms of creating successful long-term relationships with clients.) But she REALLY needs to be at one remove, 'working from home,' with a strong, sympathetic, reasonable and chilled out frontman interfacing with staff and clients on her behalf, taking her Brand!New!Procedural!Regime!! du jour and toning it down, allowing Bosslady to be her better self and do what she does well and avoid what she doesn't do well--interacting with humans/displaying basic common sense or character.
It's frustrating and I sort of blame myself, because this job's godawful, and the nannying job was a bit naff, and I'm having such a time with my uni profs that I can't help my think the linking element in these unsatisfying relationships is me. But I think it's just a terrible year, really. Independently considered, I feel I acted decently in the various circumstances, and that the people I have had conflicts with did not. The universal loathing of Bosslady--all three people I was working with, employees of long standing, shared their plans to quit (two had already given notice), the two girls debating whether this would serve as a wake up call to Bosslady or whether she's the sort of person who sleeps through alarms they'd rather not hear--makes me feel like I'm not actually myself a whiny crazy bitch. I guess I'm more jaded and self-protectively ready to condemn people based on how poorly the last work and school relationships have gone, and that negatively frames my interactions with the next batch of people I see in these capacities, but the wariness does feel earned, and if it weren't borne out I think I could happily adjust to that. I don't think it's a self-fulfilling prophecy yet, where people pick up on the fact that I expect them to be incompetent shits and defensively proceed to be hostile jobniks.
I just REALLY wish I didn't have to job hunt RIGHT now, on top of apartment shit, MA thesis stuff, PhD aps and visa worries. There's never a good time, but damn.