750 Words: 8/10/2017

It is a good morning today. I feel very energized and ready to go. The day yesterday was relatively modest. I put in the work and received some positive accolades from my coworkers and trainers. When I told one of my coworkers about me not being available tomorrow due to my break, he groaned excessively in disbelief. My managers also said that everyone gave me some major props in my performance during the lunch rush during the open hours of work that day, which helped in making me a bit more excited as for my growing dependability as a member of the establishment and the kitchen.

I found the workplace to be something of a space that is filled with acts of power in all sorts of different facets of the business, and thinking about how different people use and express their power makes work even more interesting. I have a small sandbox where I can confidently explore and observe the body languages of my colleagues and how they treat others. Funnily enough, the trainers are the ones who seem to throw their power around the most, if a worker made a mistake or is doing something wrong, the trainers, at least the male ones, will approach the employee and force themselves into their personal space will looking them directly in the eye, they don’t approach the person from the side, instead they will go ahead and stand directly in front of them when giving off their grievances. Another fun element to explore is how this power play is virtually nonexistent when looking at females in the workplace, the trainers are a lot more lenient to them and tend to engage with small talk a lot more. I was confronted on two separate occasions during the 5 hour opening shift: one time for tips on how to go faster on the breading table and another in proper food safety. The trainers are not a monolith, and their engagement strategies tend to differ depending on what they are talking about.

For example, when I was given advice on how to go faster on the breading table, the overall tone and discussion was very lighthearted and colloquial. When I was approached about food safety the tone was far more cautious and concerned. At the same time, I made sure to explore what would happen if an air of familiarity was given and I made it my business to defuse the energy by thanking the trainers for their advice and knowledge along with asking for their names and what they do, sparking a bit of conversation. Once that familiarity is established, the engagements seem to turn less into an awkward power play and fall into more of a relaxed coworker type discourse. So the biggest thing is to never shy away from criticism, being thankful for knowing the right way to do things is always a good idea and expressing that tends to be efficient in defusing tension.

There was another time that I was approached by a trainer, a big guy who manages the front of the house. I was relaxing, in a comfortable space waiting for my food since I was on lunch break, and this individual sees me and interjects his grievance of me having a small bit of hair under my chin. I switch myself back into my work mask and nod away all of his grievances and thank him for the advice. The one thing that I’m curious about is why he figured that my lunch break would be the best time to give critique, not that I’m mad about it but moreso interested in what was going on in his mind. The man seems to be relatively ambitious, willing to talk up to all of his peers, but his expression of power seems to be far hungrier than his peers, the way he carries himself and the attempts to defuse the conversation strike him as someone who probably faces similar treatment back in his division. At that time, I was too tired to really ask for his name and try to spark conversation, but maybe in another instance I can gleam more about his cult of personality and figure into what makes him tick.

These various expressions of power in the workplace are always interesting to think about. Going into a bit of reflection, I would say that my complaining wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, the attitude I had in the workplace was pretty good, and the way that I composed myself after work was amicable. Did some yoga and meditation after work and had restful sleep. I’m looking forward to work tomorrow, along with my first pay period.

That’s my 750 out of the way. I hope you all have a decent morning/evening wherever you are.

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