Sunday, 16 June 2013

The problem with tinted windows.

The cafe where I work has two whole walls of windows which are heavily tinted so that from the outside, they are like mirrors. From the inside, however, they are just windows, so while those outside can't see in, we can always see out. As a result of this, multiple times a day I find myself looking at someone checking out their own reflection as they walk past. Sometimes they preen themselves so intently that I can't help but laugh.

One girl a few days ago had spent so long adjusting her hair and clothes in the window, that I was almost tempted to go out there and remind her that everyone inside could see her, but before I had the chance, she decided to start practicing her model pouts and poses and I totally lost my shit.

I was laughing so hard that one of my young colleagues became concerned but by this time, I could no longer speak, so when she asked me what the hell I was laughing at, all I could do in reply was point, grunt and laugh some more. When she saw the girl outside the window strike yet another pose, she too began to laugh and before long, we were both in hysterics, gasping for breath and sitting on the floor because our legs would  no longer support us.

I know what you're thinking, "It can't have been that funny, surely", and you're right, it wasn't. But you've all been in a situation where the laughter just got away from you..... haven't you?

After the girl went away and we were finally able to calm ourselves my colleague admitted that she often finds herself checking out her own reflection in shop windows and then remembers there are usually people on the other side.

I, on the other hand, make a concerted effort to NOT pay any attention at all to my reflection as I go about town and here's why..... In my mind, I'm at least 10 years younger, 2 dress sizes slimmer and infinitely hotter than I actually am. So, on the odd occasion when I catch my own reflection and I'm not prepared for it, all I can think is "who is that slightly ageing, not model gorgeous woman and where did that arse come from?" And then I realise it's me, and frankly, it's just a bit depressing!

Me...In my mind
Me....In real life!

So a lesson for all you folks out there that like to primp and preen whenever you see tinted glass, remember, someone like me is on the other side, laughing at you! :)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

When wait-staff attack!

A new phrase has entered the vernacular at work in recent weeks. It all started one busy Saturday lunch shift a few weeks ago. To indicate "order up" to the wait staff, the chefs ring a bell. Some days when it's busy, that bell drives me crazy. This particular day, one of the chefs had decided that triple ringing the bell would be the most effective way to get the staff to respond instantaneously. Instead, all he was succeeding in doing was sending me around the bend.

After asking him a few times to just ring once, he did the tri-ring again. I stormed from the bar over to the pass. "If you triple ring that bell one more time, I'm going to punch you in the face." I was only 25% joking.
He looked over the pass with a cheeky little grin and replied, "You wouldn't punch me in the face, I'm too cute." I gave him my crazy eyes and said, "The mood I'm in right now, I'd punch a baby in the face!"

Of course, everyone in hearing distance cracked up laughing, and so was born the first edition of this month's "Most over used phrase". It has now evolved to include variations such as "I'm baby punchin' mad", "Don't force me to find a baby to punch" and "lucky for you you're not a baby".

Interestingly, for now at least, it has proven to be an extremely effective way to diffuse almost any amount of stress or tension. As soon as someone brings out one of the baby related retorts, nobody seems to be able to stay cranky.

Nobody made me baby punchin' mad today, so I chalk that up as a great day.

***Disclaimer: I'm almost 100% sure nobody I work with would actually punch a baby in the face, but just in case, it may be safer to only bring yours with you if it's very quietly sleeping so it does not draw attention to itself.***

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Responsibility Bites

Today I had to fire someone. It sucked, even though he deserved it. I'm a nurturer, a problem solver and a compassionate person. It is not in my nature to happily take responsibility for adversely affecting someone's livelihood. However, when I took on a management position, this was one of the unenviable responsibilities that came along with it.

I didn't sleep well last night, knowing I had to pull the rug out from under someone. My morning was filled with anxiety and by the time I turned up to work, on my day off, to have "the meeting" and deliver the bad news, I had worked myself up so much there was a moment when I didn't think I could actually do it.

I anticipated the person concerned would react very badly. He is a volatile character (one of the many reasons behind his dismissal) and I feared he would become aggressively angry in the moment. I was unsure if I would be capable of keeping my cool in the face of his anger. (Much to my annoyance, I have a habit of bursting into tears when I am very angry, or getting a huge rush of adrenalin that makes me shaky and unable to articulate my thoughts).

I've generally found my reaction to extreme anger has not affected my abilities as a manager. I have always believed that I am more effective if I have the respect of the staff and this is more easily achieved with a kind but firm hand than with an aggressive or angry approach. But in the face of someone elses extreme anger, I was not sure how I would react.

As it turned out, all my anxiety was unnecessary in the end anyway. The reaction of the employee concerned was calm and measured. I think he anticipated this outcome. He was mature in his response and listened to the advice I gave him about rectifying the issues that had lead to his dismissal so that he could ensure a different result in his next job. There was no big scene, no walk-out (another scenario I had envisioned as a distinct possibility), no yelling or tears or threats. It was all so much easier than I had expected it to be.

Yet still, although it was necessary and I had to do it for the good of the business and all the other employees, I can't help but recognise that I was just responsible for taking away someone's income. It feels good to resolve an issue that has been disruptive and ongoing, but to know that issue is a person makes it almost entirely unsatisfying.