Flee House

Jul. 11th, 2011 01:40 am
x_los: (Alice)
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.
x_los: (OMG)
Too wordy, but I get WELL wordy when annoyed. Scarlett!icon represents my GRITS-umbrage atm.

"I'm an American student doing a year-long MA in London. I went into the Soho walk-in clinic with a swollen finger this morning, about an hour ago. I've had this before and know that it only requires a sterile, 10 min procedure and accompanying antibiotic. But after I'd filled out the info form, the nurses wouldn't believe me when I told them that because I'm in a year-long program I have NHS entitlement. They wanted a 50 pound fee plus an 8 pound charge for the medicine. That sum may not seem huge, but add 12 pounds and that's my weekly budget, so no thanks. I think they're wrong. I double-checked:

"Can I get medical treatment?

If you come from a country with a health-care agreement with the United Kingdom, or you are enrolled on a course for six months or more, you may be able to get medical treatment on the National Health Service (NHS)... You can get more information from the Department of Health."

(source: http://www.intstudy.com/visauk.htm)


"I'm going to be entering the UK in September for a year-long course of study; I know that because I'm on a student visa and will be in the UK for more than six months, I'm entitled to NHS coverage. I do, however, have some questions."

(source: http://ask.metafilter.com/67919/Help-This-American-Student-Navigate-the-NHS)

Metafilter may seem unofficial, but it's quite dependable, in a wikipedia-is-about-as-reliable-as-Britannica (http://news.cnet.com/Study-Wikipedia-as-accurate-as-Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html) sort of way.

I might add that if the NHS more clearly publicized its policy regarding long-term American students on its website, neither the nurses nor I would be potentially confused as to who's in the right.

Barring a weird exception that's quite new and exclusive to US students, I am not wrong here. This scares me, frankly. What if I'd had a more serious problem? Either the Soho Clinic denied me basic care I believe I'm entitled to through ignorance of relatively straight-forward policy: not on, or my university lied to me as to whether I needed health insurance while here: likewise bad.

I need to know whether I'm covered in this country, as I was told by the ULondon system, or whether I need to get some insurance stat. And I need to know that when I go to a walk in clinic, they know too. But mostly? I need someone to look at my stupid finger for a sum less than fifty eight pounds.

x_los: (Andrae?)
My current flat has hell-landlords, who are impossible about repairs (-), and who would take my security deposit and run if I renewed my lease for another six months (-), is falling apart and gross (-), is ages from campus/my job (-), has a nicely central location (+), but has a lame immediate area (-) (despite decent transit connections (+)), and has roommates who squirrel away and hide in their rooms (-), causing me to do so as well, which is not Ideal. It IS decently priced (+), though they misled me about utility costs, which are actually much higher than I was told. It is also: a terrible environment for a cat (-), which ideally I'd quite like, though I in no way NEED.

The minuses outweigh the plusses by a large enough margin that I've decided to move--it's a terrible /time/ for it, but it's now or in six months when I'm desperately trying to wrap my MA Thesis. So: Must procure a new flat and move in by end of Feb somewhere in London--preferably either

1. Central-ish, or
2. Near New Cross/Goldsmiths. I'd take The General Southeast, for the right house/people.

...to be honest I'd put up with a lot in the way of location!inconvenience, and with a bit more expense, for the right house/people, as living in this flat has really REALLY taught me that I rely a /lot/ on my physical and social environment being decent to be happy. Which sounds simple, but you think you're intrepid and 'well-hard' and that you can deal with a shitty place so long as it's cheap and downtown. And then you get vile Steven and then vile Phillipe in his stead and bed, and the mold that /will not stop/, and the crushing quiet of being alone (I've never lived on my own, I find I hardly know how), and the roommates who, save one, barely speak English, and are older than you by a solid decade, and you decide that priding yourself on your ability to endure is not sufficient reason not to try for something better, kinda po' and stressed or no.

x_los: (Default)
This is such a shit legend:

"A popular legend, originating from 12th century chronicles,[12] tells how when he first fled to the Somerset Levels, Alfred was given shelter by a peasant woman who, unaware of his identity, left him to watch some cakes she had left cooking on the fire. Preoccupied with the problems of his kingdom, Alfred accidentally let the cakes burn and was taken to task by the woman upon her return. Upon realising the king's identity, the woman apologised profusely, but Alfred insisted that he was the one who needed to apologise."


x_los: (Cleopatra /Look/)
So I don't mean to always post mopey shit, but back in the UK, visa finally sorted, terrible 30 hour flight with lost baggage and vile customs official finally completed, and classes begun, yet more stupidity dogs your plucky heroine.

...yeah go with it.

I have had an enraging day of running around trying to get a bank account--yet /again/. This is like, time fifteen.

Each of the following places wants a Proof of Student Status from Goldsmiths written out /to them./ The wait for one of these from Goldsmiths is two days, accompanied by long queues to request and to pick up. It's a hassle.

Don't bother calling NatWest to set up an appointment, asking what documents you need and bringing those--the guy on the phone told you wrong, and you'll have to leave and come back all over again. NatWest doesn't want to take you unless your proof of student status has been sent through the mail, and has NOT been opened--they will open the envelope themselves!! And you can only apply at a branch near your house. So prepare to wait for that.

Barclays will take you, but they'll charge a fee because you're not English, and only SOME branches, not all, are prepared to deal with your Not Englishness. And it'll take an hour, so walk there and get told no because you waited here at Branch 1 too long, and it's the end of the day. No we can't make you an appointment. Also we only do international student accounts from 2-5. You have class tomorrow FROM 2-5? Well. Too bad.

On the phone with Co-Operative bank, person one assures me the bank will take you as a student. Person Two disagrees: No, only as a temporary account, because you haven't been here long enough. Person Three says 'No, not at all, only UK residents. Ever.' Thanks for being on the phone an hour (he does not say).

Hallifax will charge you even for this call. Hallifax wants utility bills--you have a top up meter and don't get billed? Well, go away. No your lease won't count as proof of residence. Only utility bills.

Santander--much the same.

Lloyds: you must either have been in the country three months to get a personal account or have that certificate made out to Lloyds. Further horrors probably await you then.

It'll be a BITCH to go back and get like, one for ANY bank that might want me. I think I'm stuck trying Barclays on Wednesday or waiting for NatWest's letter in the mail. It's just whenever I get there carrying ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING they told me over the phone they might need, and THEN some extra shit, something is wrong, and they want more. This is the fucking Kafka International Airport, the Beckett Play of bank accounts. I have a check for a thousand pounds from the US government that I CAN NOT sign over, cash, or deposit. It's just fucking ridiculous. I've wasted most of the day doing this instead of reading (and I have SO much reading), I'm really terrified, carrying all of this banking shit with me to all of these, that I'll loose something important. It's amazingly difficult to /give someone fucking money/ here. Like, I am that Prince in Much Ado played by Denzel, because they AMAZE me.
x_los: (awk.com)
So, after having been through a whole series of not-very-interesting other steps, I got a kind of discouraging letter from the UK immigration solicitor today. I freaked out rather a lot before realizing that really, it only told me stuff I already knew, and nothing damning. It was more the tone than the content that freaked me out, and that could very easily just be the result of the individual being professional. I asked for a consultation, wrote out and emailed some pertinent facts and questions for it, and there's really little more I can do until Monday, other than Not Freak Out So Much.

I really wanted to wake up Katy and not be alone in my panicking, but I decided there wasn't any point in disturbing her sleep, and sucked it up, took a long bath to calm down, and lay in bed until the racing thoughts began to get smaller and muzzier, finally smothering themselves in a thick haze of a restless sleep. It was burnt like a candle at both ends, too--I was late to bed and early to rise. I woke confused, filtering through where I was, what had happened--I hate mornings after something bad's occurred, the piecing-together process is like a second occurrence of the event, or more like an aftershock.

There's been nothing to do in the period between this starting and now but go to work, not make any definite long-term plans, keep reading my course texts and hang out with Katy a lot in /case/ I do have to go and really not see her for a year. It's sort of lulled me into complacency--it's hard to be PANICKED and do the filing/cook dinner. Everything seems like it'll be all right, or you're too busy with the small annoyances of tube commutes, and the price of sandwiches, and will your check EVER get deposited, to actively worry about large background sources of angst. And I do have a tendency to repress unpleasant information.

So this came as an small shock, when it shouldn't have done. There's a sense of futility in reading course-texts (in doing anything but lying in bed curled into a ball, really), but if I get through and I haven't read them, there will be /that/ to deal with after everything, and no one benefits from sulking--it's not helping anything either way, and I've done more than enough worrying about this.
x_los: (like Ace Rimmer)
Okay, so in past years getting a work-permit for the UK wasn't awful. Annoying, but not /actually/ enough to provoke the wholesale slaughter of immigration officials. But now BUNAC's done giving away Blue Cards, and there's a point system (I don't know what more they want for 'Qualifications': they say I'm five points short, but I don't know how to enter in work experience, skills, other academic certifications on this form?), and I need a sponsor and a job lined up and I'm very confused. I have a BA with two majors, am bilingual, have family in England and visible means of support and I still may not get in? Um, who /does/ get in?

Apparently there need to be no UK OR EU citizens who might do any job I wish to do. Thanks for the death!queue.

Have any of you dealt with them? I know [livejournal.com profile] marah_sarie's living in Scotland, and Grits has lived in the UK as well: who do I blow for a measly 2-3 year work visa? Should I throw myself on an Immigration Consultancy? It's not for 8 months, the proposed move, anyway. Halp?
x_los: (like Ace Rimmer)
Okay, so in past years getting a work-permit for the UK wasn't awful. Annoying, but not /actually/ enough to provoke the wholesale slaughter of immigration officials. But now BUNAC's done giving away Blue Cards, and there's a point system (I don't know what more they want for 'Qualifications': they say I'm five points short, but I don't know how to enter in work experience, skills, other academic certifications on this form?), and I need a sponsor and a job lined up and I'm very confused. I have a BA with two majors, am bilingual, have family in England and visible means of support and I still may not get in? Um, who /does/ get in?

Apparently there need to be no UK OR EU citizens who might do any job I wish to do. Thanks for the death!queue.

Have any of you dealt with them? I know [livejournal.com profile] marah_sarie's living in Scotland, and Grits has lived in the UK as well: who do I blow for a measly 2-3 year work visa? Should I throw myself on an Immigration Consultancy? It's not for 8 months, the proposed move, anyway. Halp?


x_los: (Default)

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