Thursday, June 28, 2007


Here is the story of Mr. Hawaiian Shirt Cook's possibly extremely short tenure... 

After his sparkling debut on Father’s Day, I decide to take him at his word and allow him some latitude. He is so convincing about his skills and experience, I figure he will have no trouble at all learning our menu and our systems. I turn him over to my staff to show him the ropes, and step back to see what happens. He seems to get along well; all reports are positive.

Then comes Monday. I have scheduled myself to work with him in the kitchen on Monday. He seems disconcerted. "I thought you hired me so that you wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen?" He gets all wound up showing me all the great things he has done—cleaned this, reorganized that. And he wants to tell me all about the wonderful ideas he has. But when the orders start to pour in...he still doesn’t know how to make our turkey sandwich.

Monday is not a good day. He is a huge ball of overwrought kinetic energy. He can’t do or say anything right, albeit at 100 miles an hour.  He can't put an order together correctly to save his life.  He makes comments that show a disconcerting lack of understanding about how our kitchen staff relates to the counter staff. In short, for all his twenty years experience and having owned his own restaurant, he

I try to decide if working elbow-to-elbow with "the boss" made him disastrously nervous, or if he is certifiably hopeless. And I’m afraid I don’t do a very good job of masking my dissatisfaction with his performance.

Tuesday morning, Hawaiian Shirt Cook is scheduled to open. I am supposed to be at work at 11 am. It’s almost a day off—I am to work a "short" ten-hour shift. I have not set the alarm. I’m confident that I will awake naturally at my usual 7:30 or 8:00 am; at which time I will roll over, pull a pillow over my head, and go back to sleep for an hour. And still have plenty of time to get something done around the house before I have to get ready for work.

At 6:15, the phone rings. This is never good…

It is the husband. Hawaiian Shirt Cook has contacted him on his cel phone. He will not be coming to work today. He will need the day off to go to a memorial service for his wife’s aunt.

I will need to drag my butt out of bed three hours earlier than I had planned. I will need to go to work. I will need to work a double shift.

I am not happy.

Wednesday and Thursday are Hawaiian Shirt Cook’s scheduled days off.

Should I have faith that he will reappear at his scheduled time on Friday? Or should I make arrangements NOW to cover the shift for which—based on all I have learned about human nature in the last twelve months—I’m 75% certain he will not show up?

And what if he does show up? Should I fire his butt before he turns into the same pain in MY butt that his predecessor was? Because he sure looks like he’s headed in that direction…

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