Now That's Reality
I've never really been a reality TV person. I mean let's be honest, when's your next trip to a deserted island where people will make you eat sheep's brains. It's more like Real People TV, not reality. If I want to see fake people say mean things behind each others backs I only have to go work in any office. Mostly for that reason, I've never been a reality TV person. Until now.
There's this new show, okay so it's almost over now, called The Restaurant. It's about this chef guy named Rocco who never actually cooks and how he is starting his own restaurant which is apparently a big huge deal even though he's chef at two other restaurants. Rocco's ability to annoy patrons with his pathetic attempts at glad handing is nothing short of stellar. The episode where Rocco makes a really bad joke to the food critic was classic. The thing that makes this show so realistic though is Rocco's attitude towards his employees. This is an attitude I can really relate to.
When I was in college, I worked in a restaurant that was just starting up. The owner was not a chef, but had all of Rocco's arrogance. His parents owned another restaurant and had put up the money for him to start this place. This guy had other flaws aside from arrogance though. He looked down on some of us because we weren't quite where he was financially, even though his finances where tied into who his parents where.
The way he was most like Rocco, was that he thought we should all have the life goal of making him successful. We should all work extra, even off the clock if possible, to help HIS restaurant succeed. We were all one happy family until things went wrong and one by one we were all expected to shoulder the blame for the next catastrophe.
I think that this, on a larger scale, is how business is now. It is the people on the front lines, whether they're waiters or bussers or customer service or an admin sitting at a desk somewhere that bear the brunt of a lousy meal or a bad economy.
The way Rocco treats his staff is nothing short of heinous, especially poor Gideon who is called in and sent home four times after breaking his arm by slipping in the kitchen. I don't usually advocate this kind thing Gideon, but sue Gideon sue.
The really sad thing is that this is very much how the average worker is treated in America today. Without the hospital visit of course. I can't tell you how many interviews I've sat in where I've been made to promise a company at least a year's commitment. The last long term, and I use that term loosely, job I had they made me promise I would never ever look for another job again. It started out temp, but would almost definitely go perm.
I practically had to sign in blood and the first week and a half my boss constantly harped on the fact that the position had a high turnover. I promised again and again that I would never look for another job. Four days later I got a phone call from the temp agency telling me the job had ended. Apparently they decided to outsource it to another country. My boss didn't even have the guts to tell me to my face.
This is getting to be so common in business today. An employee is expected to show undying loyalty and an employer feels free to discard us at a whim. Just an idea, if you treat your workers better, you'll probably get better workers. Loyalty, like trust and anything else worth having has to be earned on both sides.
Oh and if any of my fellow workers at that small little bistro are out there, watch 'The Restaurant', I guarantee you'll relate.