August 05, 2005

Okay, So Advise Me

I don't know that I can do this job. I'm physically and psychologicallly wiped.
My boss and coworkers are great people. My boss is always urging me to drink and to rest. But I don't see how I can do that.

I'm the dishwasher right? There's me, and this one other guy who works in the dairy section. He's suppose to do the dairy dishes, but he spots me as well. When i get to work at 7:15 there are already several people cooking; they've been there for about 15 minutes sometimes more. There are also dishes waiting; containers and such from whatever event went on the night before. Often these are part full of leftover food and I need to empty them as well. Then there are whatever there is left over from whoever was still cooking before I left to go home at 4:15 or whenever...I've worked till 5 and there are still sometimes people in the kitchen or who are leaving the kitchen at the same time I am, so if they've just finished and are giving me all the utensils and cutting boards and whatnot that they have used up till that point to cook, as well as whatever was forgotten in the kitchen from earlier use, of course there is always a pile waiting for me and a pile that continues to build during the day as people keep cooking.

I just can't keep up. I can't take much of a break because it isn't as if there is one or two people in the kitchen who are working and then they have a break so nothing else builds up. There are always people cooking, cutting, preping food, cleaning food and this means knives, cutting boards, peelers, bakery items, pans that they used for know the kind that they serve food from at banquets and such? Well theycook things in these pans and they need to be cleaned.

And sometimes I work in the ktichen as well so stuff builds up from what I'm doing.

Yesterday soon after I came to work the guy took over and I went into the kitchen to work. I stirred onions and leeks, I sitrred rice to keep it from burning...these are all in cannibal size pots and pans mind you. I cleaned windows, the bottom of a fridge, the walls in the bakery, the sink in the bakery, peeled, with help, 15 kilos of pottatos. Diced them in a machine. Peeled and cubed onions (by hand). Pulled dill from the stalks. Then I went back to dishes (at about 3:45. By that time there was a pile built up again. And when I started more containers from some event came in. So I get through a lot of those and then more stuff came in from the bakery, more stuff from the kitchen, two big pots that I finally said I couldn't do because I can barely managed to lift them truthfully, and the only way I could reach in and wash them was by bending over them to clean them.

I'm out of breath. There is a rash that extends down both arms from the cleanser or the dishwashing liquid or both. I barely eat. I'm shaky. I come home and can barely do anything.

But we need the money. I don't know what to do. I need some good advice.

If I had another job, less physical and closer to home, even for less hours, I'd give two weeks notice and quit.

But I don't have.

I am working 9 hour days, leave the house at 6 and don't get home till 6:30...because of buses and everything.

What should I do?

Posted by Rachel Ann at August 5, 2005 09:33 AM | TrackBack

Bad situation... I have no real advice, only this: Take care of yourself or you are no good to anyone. Your family, your job, yourself. Will you work until collapsing?


Posted by: pam at August 5, 2005 06:34 PM

Oh, gosh, Rachel, I'm sorry. I have no advice to give at all. I wish I did. Is there even the hope of working your way up to a better position in the organization?

Posted by: RP at August 6, 2005 11:53 AM

I would tell everyone you know in your neighborhood that you need work. Describe what you would like to be doing. You need to put it out there in the universe (sorry if I'm sounding too Californian) for it to come back to you. Tell them how you need it badly and quickly. The more people you have looking out for you, the quicker it will happen.

How badly do you need the money? Can you give two weeks notice now and last for a little while? What about doing child care in your home? Teaching kids during the summer, maybe young ones to prep them for the upcoming school year? Tutoring, that sort of thing? Can you put up a flyer saying what you're willing to do at the local grocer? Online?

My heart goes out to you but I think you need out of this job pronto.

Posted by: Esther at August 6, 2005 09:04 PM

** big hug **

I've worked in quite a few restaurants, and usually someone has to quit or die before the dishwasher/prep cook can move up . . .

It can take a month to six weeks to get used to a physically demanding job like this, so it could get better.

In the meantime, take the California Option and start the networking to find something else . . .

Posted by: Anne at August 7, 2005 02:29 AM

First thing in the morning you ask for an additional dishwasher/prep person. You're doing. Too. Much.

Believe me, I know about communting quite a distance on the bus. I've been doing for over a tear and a half. I leave the house at 7:00am and get to work between 8:45-9:00am. Leave work at 5:30pm and (usually) get home around 7:30pm.

Lack of eating can often be a problem. You HAVE TO EAT! Luckily, the work I do isn't so physically demanding.

I good that your boss encourages you to rest. But, it also sounds like resting only allows a pile of dishes to amass that you only have to work double-time to clean before even more show up.

Either the situation at work has to change or you have to work elsewhere. You can't this up. Period.

Also, if the situation at work can improve, try to find a way to carpool or something. The commute itself can take a toll on you even if you're just sitting there reading a paper. The sheer length of the "down time", I've found, can sap a lot of your energy before you even get to work or home.

Tell your boss what you've told us and see if help can be on the way. If not, take your days off to find something closer and/or less demanding.

Good luck and puh-LEEZE find a way not to continue to do this to yourself for a paycheck. Your hard work deserves a reward, not a simple trade-off of a lot of time and effort for some money and a lot of misery.

{{{{{*HUGS GALORE*}}}}}

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 8, 2005 12:05 AM

Any decent boss would not be working you to exhaustion, you need two people to do what you're doing. I think an ultimatum is called for, I know you're desperate for the money but it's not going to help you in the long term if you wreck your health now. Tell him you can't physically keep up and unless you get some help you'll have to leave. See what happens.
Meantime maybe the bloggers and your readers can chip in a bit, how about it readers? And bloggers, let's spread the word that a fellow blogger needs help, let's make the blogosphere work.

Posted by: ligneus at August 10, 2005 03:41 AM

I was away and hadn't visited for a while. I was away.
This does not sound like a good job. Also you're relating to it like a housewife, instead of an employee.
Look for babycare jobs in your area. They pay better and the kids get older, rather than the dishes dirtier.

Posted by: muse at August 10, 2005 05:40 AM

Oh wow that sounds tough. I've been the dishwasher for a restaurant before, did it until I finally pulled a muscle in my back pretty badly and had to quit.

Look for another job anytime that you have time off.

Have you talked to your boss and told him that you can't keep up, even without taking the amount of breaks and such that you need to? And why are you doing other work in the kitchen? Slicing, dicing, cleaning windows, washing walls... those are not the jobs of a dishwasher. Just because those things need done does NOT mean that you have to do them. (Unless your boss actually says that you have to I mean LOL)

Anyway... just some thoughts. Tell me how it works out!!!

Posted by: Jana at August 18, 2005 06:26 PM
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