Monday, July 27, 2015

“Industry Standards” vs. Canadian Labour Laws

“Industry Standards” vs. Canadian Labour Laws

There's something that I've always struggled with since my foray into the culinary world four years ago. I hate everyone's attitude and the way it is' mentality that most career cooks seem to have. I've never liked the ego that comes with the long and difficult hours that we grind through day in and day out. Hell, most of us wear them as a badge of pride, talking points when we're having a end of the night beer.

“I've been working in kitchens since I was twelve!”

“oh man, my last job, I worked 14 hours a day every day!”

“I would start at seven, work breakfast, prep lunch and dinner, go home at three, shower, and come back at five and work night service until midnight, then go home to sleep and do it all again the next day.”

This asinine pissing contest is just tedious and I'm sick and tired of it. I am guilty of contributing my own experience into the conversation however. I remember when I was in college, and I would go to school from eight to four, work from five to midnight, go home and do homework until two in the morning every day.

I'm not really that upset with people talking about how hard they used to work. The problem I have is when they use their experience to belittle and shame other people for being tired or not working as hard.

Here is a scenario: Cooks start at one, and work until 10. Pretty classic, nothing too rough. It's a busy restaurant, so no time to sit down, take a fifteen minute break, let alone a half hour lunch break. They can eat during work though so it doesn't feel too bad. Dishwasher starts at four and works until eleven. Again, it being a busy restaurant, then only having one dishwasher on at a time doesn't really lend itself to the hope of taking a break outside of the quick smoke here and there.

During a shift, the dishwasher is feeling a bit soggy and tired, and steps outside for a breather in the cool air. The cook gets angry. “Why do you need to stop? There's work to be done! I've been here since one and you don't see me stopping!”

The dishwasher wants to sit down and enjoy his on-shift meal, rather than stuffing it down his face in the heat of the dish pit. But all he gets from the cook is more comments on his work ethic in comparison to the other people on shift.


I do the cooks ideology. He's working constantly, trying to get all the work done as efficiently and as quickly as possible. And for a kitchen to produce as much product as we do, everyone needs to be working hard, then the whole operation will flow well. When someone starts to slack off, everyone else needs to work that much harder to pick up the slack. Even more aggravating is when the person slacking off is the guy who started three hours after he did, and is only washing dishes.

On the other side, the dishwasher is entitled to two fifteen minute and one half hour break in an eight hour shift. Not everyone is THAT passionate about their jobs that they can work long and hard hours without a second to breathe.

In my experience, how much you enjoy a job really effects how much you can put up with. When I worked at Sydneys, I had no problem working from two in the afternoon to two in the morning. I loved doing it. I loved the people I worked with, I loved the food we were making, I loved everything about that job, so the 12 hour shift was in fact quite enjoyable to me.

The next job I had, Stella's, I hated with a burning passion. Working a mere 5 hours felt like torture and I could not be out of that place fast enough.

I don't know where I want to stand on this whole situation. I am sympathetic to the dishwasher, and the law is on his side. But we really can't afford to have someone in a key position stop working lest the entire operation is derailed.

One thing that I don know, is I don't like the way the cook handles it.
But I don't know the right way to approach this.


It's just the way the industry is.  

Friday, December 05, 2014



Everywhere I look now, I see struggles. Everyone is fighting for their rights and beliefs. 
Muslims demand that pork be removed from school menus to be more aligned to their faith and beliefs.
Atheists demand all references to religion are removed from public use.  
Minorities struggle to maintain identity and achieve equality. 
Majorities struggle with intent vs. impact, and feel shamed for having privilege. 
Sex negative and positive feminism idealists are perpetually at war with one another. 
Journalists are caught a disturbing lack of integrity, perpetually reporting on one side of an issue, while systematically ignoring the other. They are found to be financially and sexually supporting each other and the subjects of their articles, making a big web of lies, deceit, and misconduct. 
Lynch-mobs tear down, threaten, and terrify people at the slightest provocation.
Women feel oppressed and fight for their rights. Men feel the shift towards the feminism based culture is crippling and demonizing them. 
Women are being shamed for having 'male oriented dreams' such as aspiring to being a housewife with captian/first mate roles. 
Men are shamed for being alpha, dominating, or oppressive. 
Men are shamed for being beta, weak, and useless. 
Yellow journalism is rife and rampant throughout all mass media. 
Opinions are debated across every social media outlet imaginable.

Everyone is being oppressed. Everyone is oppressing someone. 

I don't like this world we live in. 

That's not true. I love my bubble. I have my family, whom I love. I have my girlfriend, whom I love. I have my friends, whom I love. I have my career, which I love. I live on a beautiful planet, which I love. I am blessed with a totally able mind and body. 

And perhaps it's my white, male, christian privilege, but I feel like most people are in more or less the same boat that I'm in. My little bubble is wonderful, I made it myself, focused on making my own happiness, and rolled with it. I feel like most people have their own wonderful little bubbles. 

Perhaps those little bubbles include literary works that I personally wouldn't find enjoyable. Or they find happiness in acts that I wouldn't enjoy. Perhaps their faith or lack there of is a major source of their happiness. Whatever, it's their bubbles. 

So why can't we all stick to our little bubbles? Absolutely no one in this world was born equal. Every single person has lived a different life. So why is the idea that there is only 'one right away of thinking' (see: sex positive and sex negative feminism) so important to us that we need to remove ourselves from our bubbles and go poking into other peoples business? 

Are we all just afraid of being wrong? Or if someone else is happier doing something different we must tell them they're doing it wrong?

I really don't know. I know what I believe. I know what I like. I know my bubble. 
Is it wrong for me to hide from the debates, the mobs, the rage, the controversies, just to feel warm and safe? 

I do understand the need for conversation. I understand the need to question everything, and the right of free speech. 

But man, sometimes all I see are hordes of people campaigning behind computer screens, vomiting out judgments and criticisms on every little thing. 

Step outside. Be the change you want to see in the world. 

Snuggles. Not struggles. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm Offended.

I’m Offended.

What a strange concept. Being offended.

What are they really saying, when someone tells me “I’m offended”

Why do I not care when someone tells me that they’ve been offended my words or actions.
My thoughts immediately jump to “So what?”

How am I supposed to react when someone tells me that they’re offended. Do I apologize without meaning, do I attempt to empathize?

What if someone taking offense offends me? What happens then?

In total honesty, I really don’t care when someone says that they’ve been offended. Someone somewhere is always offended, and it’s impossible and illogical to expect someone to apologize and change the way they act just because someone’s feelings have been hurt. Thinking about it, who cares about your feelings, really? Your family, your mother, maybe a close friend or two? But the world does not care if you’re offended. Honestly and truly.

When someone tells me that I’ve offended them, I feel like that it’s not my problem that their feelings have been hurt. Saying you’ve been offended isn’t some magic saying that makes your feelings and opinions superior than my own simply because you feel hurt because of my actions or words.
Is anyone so important that anyone else should change to accommodate them simply because their feelings have been hurt? Or should they just grow up?

You can expect to be offended, all the time. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Someone once thought that the idea of an intergraded society was offensive. People think the idea that women showing their bodies is offensive, and at the exact same time, people think that not having the freedom to express and do whatever they want with their own bodies is offensive.

Maybe the problem isn’t that you’re offended, but that you think the rest of the world should care. If the rest of the world changed everytime someone was offended, we would simply cease to be. The only way I can not offend someone is by sitting in my room, in the dark.

Oh but wait, my boss will be offended I didn’t come to work. My mother will be offended that I didn’t call her in the last month. My friends will be offended I missed our dates and get-togethers.
Clearly, not offended anyone is impossible. So why should the world conform to one person being offended. What makes that person so special?

Nothing. It’s their feelings that got hurt, it’s their problem.

We can all just grow up and stop acting like the most important person in the world.
I hurt your feeling? Grow up. You hurt my feelings (good job, that’s not easily done)? I’ll deal with them. They’re my feelings, they’re my problem. I don’t expect anyone to change the way they are simply because my feelings are hurt.

It someone did something bad, something that hurt more than just my feelings. Like, say, Stole someone’s bag right in front of me, I would do something. That would require action. But when a crotchety bag of a human says “That woman breastfeeding in public offends me” I just want to take a hold of their shoulders, look them in the eye and say “No one cares. Grow up. Go on with your life.”

And then go on with my own life.   

Friday, February 28, 2014

4am musings.

I have a ton of half formed ideas in my head... none of which I've thought out enough to warrant their own blog posts.

I saw a woman on the street today, and she caught my eye. Most people I see have their heads down, eyes cast on the ground, or towards their mobile devices. But she had her head up, her eyes toward the horizon. A faint smile teased her lips. She had a light behind her eyes. I only saw her for a second as she walked past me, but her confidence stood out. I've been thinking about her all day. I've been thinking about how I'd love to just talk to her, see where she gets her confidence from.

I actually remember a time when I was that person. My eyes were on the horizon, my head was high, and my resting face had a smile on it. I can't even put to words how happy I was
Happy, Fufilled, Loved, Respected, Estatic. I could have used all of those words to describe me. Today, I can't say any of those would paint an accurate picture of the man I've become.

I'm not depressed or anything, I'm not a sad sack by any means. I just am. I feel as if I was running, then I tripped. And instead of getting back up, I just sat on the grass, put my arms on my knees, and just quit for a while.

I don't know how I feel about my family anymore.
My older sister is happily married, getting ready to start a family. Good for her, I'm super happy (albeit envious) for her.
Let's talk about that for a moment. I remember at her wedding, I was talking to one of her friends from University. We were chatting about her thesis. I read it, and I totally understood everything she wrote. It was very well written, and easy to understand. but I could tell how much effort went into it. It wasn't a last minute job, a lot of work and thought went into it. I mentioned how I felt like I wasn't ment to go to University because I could never write something like that. Her friend looked at her, then looked at me
"You need to understand something. Your sister isn't normal."
Now those words have been on my mind ever since they were spoken.
Nothing my sister does is normal. From a small town, she went to University, graduated with first class honours, maintained a long distance relationship for four years, then got married at age twenty four. It looks by twenty five, she'll have a child.

That is extraordinary.

One of my biggest issues has always been her. I've always felt like I was in her shadow. That tiny woman casts an incredible shadow. I strive to meet the standards she sets. But it never crossed my mind that she is an I anomaly. I'm learning to let her go more and more, and try to be my own person. I don't need to get married and have a kid by the time I'm 25.

Although part of me has a crippling fear of time running out. There is no Song of Time in life. and I really don't want to be dating when I'm getting into my 30's and 40's.

Now my little sister... I see her doing the same thing that I did when I was her age. Only worse. I had a shitty girlfriend, but I thought I was happy. It wasn't until I actually had a really healthy relationship did I realize how terrible my past ones were. I worry for her because she's doing all the same things I did, but she won't listen to me when I tell her. She needs to make her own mistakes, and I get that....  But damn I wish I could mind meld with her.

I haven't been sleeping at all lately. as much as I want to, my nights are restless, my dreams are turbulent and disturbing, and I don't know how to fix them.

I really can't wait until I figure out what the hell I'm going to do, so I can start doing it already. I'm ready for this transition period of my life to be over.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Shut Up!

Right now, I feel as if I'm just biding my time.
I feel as if I'm someday just going to explode into happiness. I'll find it under a rock somewhere, make it my own, and be totally content with my life.

I believe that because I've already experienced that feeling before. Hell, I'm boarderline content right now. A little more of everything and I'm sure I'll actually be feeling some happiness creep back into my heart.

But sometimes at 4 a.m. I feel alone. And sad. I hear a voice cream into the back of my head
"You were happy before."
Shut up!
"You blew it"
Shut up!
"You're wasting time. Life is going to pass you by."
Shut up!
"You're 23 now, but tomorrow you'll wake up 33, still single, a second cook in a pub."
Shut up!
"Everything was going really well. You let it slip through your fingers, then ran away from the pieces."
...Shut up!
"I hope you like cats. That's the only company you'll get for a long time."
...I love cats...
"Your cats will eat your face when you die alone."
"So what!? I'm delicious!"
"Everything you touch, dies."
"...Shut up..."

Then I read for the next 3 hours.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

50 Book Pledge

Last year I read 25 books. This year I've pledged to read 50, but now I find myself struggling to define a book.

Is the Gruffalo a book? A childrens books lasting 20 pages and containing less words than this blog itself?

If a childrens book is considered a book, what about comic books and graphic novels? They still convey incredible stories, and I'm still reading them.

Is reading a requirement? What if I listen to an audio book?

Is just a story necessary? What if I played a video game and read the subtitles. The games I play all tell stories... many times more emotional than many of the pages that I've read.

If a game counts, what about movies, or televison shows?

I don't know what kind of parameters to set for myself. :(

Oh, and if anyone is wondering I've read one and a half books so far in 2014. So, wish me luck!