Posts Tagged ‘difficult colleagues


To those with a positive, “can-do” attitude, calm the fuck down and stop making things more complicated for everyone

My return to the service industry has naturally been met with a return of everything about it that I hate. As any barman or waiter will tell you, this isn’t a business marked by major difficulties, like – say – working down a coal mine. Its curse is the sum of a million little problems. For me, at least for now, chief among these is a phenomenon I’ve encountered in almost ever bar and restaurant I’ve worked in, the over-eager busy-body who thinks he’s helping everyone but is actually making the whole experience far more painful than it needs to be.

This particular individual, I’ve notice, has a penchant for taking charge of various situations, even if they require no forethought or direction whatsoever. For instance, the task of going to the cold-room to retrieve a case of wine comes with instructions on what route to take, what route to take back, other types of wine that might be suitable if the first choice isn’t available, how to bend your back when lifting a heavy box, etc. Just to be clear, this guy isn’t any level of boss or the holder of some certificate that makes him qualified to give such instructions. He just enjoys telling people what to do.

He’s worst offence was having us prepare trays of drinks for guests as they arrive, hours before the guests actually arrived. We ended up having to throw them out (the drinks that is, not the guests). Now all this might be some way forgivable if he had any talent as a barman, so let me point out one little thing; he thinks a half-pint goes into a slim-jim glass.

I’ve tried figuring out what motivates people like this. I suppose it’s a desire to be noticed above the herd. In this case, however, I don’t think that’s the point. I think he just gets a kick from the sense that he’s in charge. My first clue what the list of utterly pointless questions he asked our supervisor on our first shift. I seriously doubt he asked these question because was unsure of the answers (nobody could be that stupid). I’m positive he thought the rest of us would learn something if he brought them up.

Of course a level in initiative is necessary in any industry. It’s what turns an average service in to a great one. But when you’re seeking to maximise the benefit from every conceivable scenario, what you’re actually doing is wasting time and effort combating problems that never existed in the first place.

Apart from all this (and a small level of dickery from one or two superiours), the only other event of interest involving my new job occured last night when I served a particular girl. She’s a very active voluteer with Fianna Fail, and I worked with her quite a bit during the summer when I was covering the Lisbon campaign. This was slightly humiliating. I mean, to go from being a proper journalist to serving drinks to privilaged fucks is quite a downgrage. Of course I realise lots of people have proper jobs and do a little bar work on the side. Still, I think I would have felt better had she not been there.