Rage on the Job

Rage (often called fury or frenzy) is a feeling of intense, violent, or growing anger. It is sometimes associated with the fight-or-flight response and often activated in response to an external cue, such as an event that impacts negatively on the person.” -Wikipedia October 2015

I wanted to write a blog about this because it is an emotion I don’t feel often, and truly, I want to understand my emotions so that I can detach my ego from it and simply observe the feelings when they arise. According to Wikipedia, rage tends to be expressed when a person faces a threat to their pride, position, status, or dignity. And that’s exactly what happened.

One of the work locations I get sent to often via my employment agency is Werelds Aan Het Strand, mostly referred to just as Werelds by the familiars. Its a good place to work because of the beautiful location, good food and long hours I get to make there without people making problems about my hairstyle. Work isn’t always sunshine and rainbows however, and sometimes its necessary to hustle which I’m generally good at.

In fact, in hospitality work, I think I make a great clutch player because I can focus well under pressure and let things go that I have no control over. I work fast, I work efficient and generally provide a high quality end result. I can be placed into many roles from the kitchen to the bar to table service, identifying strongly with my employment agency which is called All-round & Flexible (Hospitality Employment Agency) or A&F for short. I’m like a hospitality Navy SEAL, getting put often into foreign situations and having to adapt to the circumstances given to me, sometimes saving people’s asses in the chaos they find themselves in, solving problems on the fly with improvisation and creativity or simply through being good at following orders. I’m a team player and I’m all about the bigger picture.

In hospitality, you often get shit from people around you which is a mixture of issues that really need to be solved and people’s egos that need to be fed. I’m used to it, and I’m usually a mellow person around people’s quirks, taking responsibility for my own actions and focusing on the job without wasting my energy. Its important to know when to assert yourself in your position rather than back down from other people’s bullshit which is a matter of situational awareness and being able to gauge people’s personality and intentions. I’m usually one for being the better man and letting things go, but when you threaten my status on the job when I’m working my ass off, you’ve got another thing coming for you.

It started with my usual job as bar backer, or at least the job I get sent in for the most on this location. Everything was under control in my station. I probably had the most relaxed job there, even when the shit started hitting the fan. The only problem I had was that I realized too late that the wineglasses on the secondary stock were in an unacceptable dirty condition as left by the bar backer from the day before. This meant whole stocks of wineglasses were sent back when I thought I had enough to keep the bar going for the orders they had. I was troubleshooting this whilst keeping an eye on the inflow of used glassware. Wineglasses are a pain in the ass because, unlike other glassware, smudges and other stains are much more apparent by the user which means you have to polish each individual wineglass or send it through the machine again which all takes time. I’ve developed a categorization system with this to be more relaxed and efficient about it, and save having to polish like a mad man. Everything was going fine until the bar personnel told me to run drinks because drink running is where the bottleneck was; they couldn’t work without drinks being taken off the bar and they had a huge list of orders being spit out by the machine.

After running a couple of drinks, I saw my station piling up and asked the bar personnel if I could start bar backing again. They said no, so I kept running drinks. The floor manager then came to me asking me if I could bar back again after running these last drinks which I thought was a great idea, so I brought the drinks then came back to the bar personnel to check if I could bar back… and they said no again, so I stayed running drinks. The floor manager then came to me again later and asked me about my job as bar backer. I told him I was asked by the bar personnel to run drinks so I abandoned my station. He said that according to the schedule I’ve been hired in as bar backer, so if I don’t get my station under control, I can forget about coming back to work there.

I was pissed. I wasn’t just pissed actually. I was raging, shaking with the anger that was triggered inside of me.

One of my colleagues noticed and asked if I was alright. I turned and said “F*** (name of floor manager)” which I probably said loud enough to be heard by the people around me. I had tunnel vision, muffled hearing, an increased heart rate, and was hyperventilating so I wasn’t really bothered by other people’s reactions towards me. It was supposed to be my last day working there for at least a month (since I’m going to Cape Verde) so it wasn’t like I needed the job anyway, but it was about the principle. It’s funny that it happened on that last day as well.

The floor manager probably overheard me or saw me raging so he took me to the side and started explaining to me my role as bar backer. I told him I knew very well how to do my job, but not if I get pulled out of it to do something else. He then started commenting on my lack of efficiency because he always just saw me cleaning wine glasses. I explained to him that the whole secondary stock was filthy, and it had to be done because clean wineglasses were running out fast. He then said some other shit, but I broke off the conversation with an “I don’t have time for this shit” statement and started bar backing to get my station cleared.

Quality control went out the window and I was teetering on the edge of recklessness. I was moving pretty fast in my fit of rage but it was definitely not one of my finest hours working there. I didn’t care about my behavior although always being polite and helpful towards guests. I just had to breath and meditate on the task at hand to try and dissipate the emotion. The floor manager had the audacity to say ‘tempo, tempo’ which I completely ignored because he was already dead to me at that point.

I went to the kitchen to grab an apple, and was eating whilst doing my job, which is usually not really done in front of guests. One of the bar personnel noticed and was like ‘an apple?’ to which I responded with an explanation of my need to produce some endorphins. He joked back saying that the only hormone he’s making was testosterone.

Lots of people came to me asking me if I was OK, and asking what happened because they’d probably never seen me like that. I told them I was OK and just needed to breath, and would tell them what happened when everyone’s sitting down for lunch and we can all breath for a bit. The people that knew what happened had my back as well, one of them apologizing in the name of the floor manager and another telling me that I was right about the wineglasses and she had my back in the conversations to follow.

It was great to have people on my side, but what I needed was an apology from the floor manager himself. As he could see I was doing my job and didn’t really have anything to say, I think he started feeling remorse about what he said and wanted to apologize but didn’t know how. I felt his eyes on me, but I ignored him because like I said, he was dead to me. I think he had to find a way to apologize for himself, otherwise he’d be stuck with that feeling, so he “accidentally” bumped into me and said sorry. I thought it was a pretty cute way to apologize.

When things started quietening down, we were able to take some people off work-mode for a lunch break. That was a very welcome moment. I felt people were interested in what happened but the story needed time to unfold. Eventually one of my A&F colleagues asked me what happened. I kept a low tone telling her my story, but only got through the basics when one of the bar personnel who was also on lunch break interrupted me with my name, and explained to me that people were in a very stressful situation and its a shame that I was on the receiving end of that built up stress. We talked a bit more, then left to get back to our jobs and finish the day.

The whole day was a crazy shit day. There weren’t any dish washing people because of misunderstandings and unreliability of the other employment agency they have for that, as they usually hire a couple of Poles who work hard for very little, so the kitchen was an explosion of chaos. After things started getting quieter, we came together as a team to clear the kitchen and worked through it until the end.

I’m thankful for the good people around me who work hard, take hits for the team and keep the humor alive. I still like hospitality regardless of the bullshit around it. I guess that’s what makes it cool as well. Take the good with the bad, and stay light. It’s hard work for little pay, but its the best work I can find for short term cash generation and its still relevant experience to my dream of running my own eco-resort/permaculture demonstration site with a B&B. Who knows where I’ll be in a few years time. As for now, getting ready for Cape Verde preparations and saying goodbye to everything I have here for a while. It’s good to travel again ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay tuned for Cabo updates!

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2 Responses to Rage on the Job

  1. joukep says:

    Well written! Yes, I have been there as well where there is an adrenaline buildup. My last one was at Schiphol Security where I exploded…
    How was the meeting yesterday?

    • iemke postma says:

      Yeah. Same same but different I guess. I’m just not good with people threatening my job security when I’m working my ass off ๐Ÿ˜› it was good to experience the master classes yesterday. I’ll write another blog because I have Cabo updates as well.

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