Years ago, when in the upper echelons of one of the big utilities companies, I asked myself this question. Why is it that office workers seem to guzzle gossip, delight in each other’s misfortunes, stab each other in the back and generally do anything other than work?
I was going to write a book about people management from the perspective of a chef back then, because of my perception that effective communication was direct communication. Not necessarily in the style of Gordon Ramsay, (who actually isn’t one of the better chefs I have graced with my presence) but why is it that kitchens function so much better than offices?
To give you some idea of what I mean, in the last office I worked in, ordering a meal would take around three weeks. The garnish would take a full week to arrive, if you forgot a side dish that would take another week. Nobody would remind you of what had to be on the plate, and if you didn’t know they would laugh at you. Any guidance would be presented in the form of a large book which often sent you off on another recipe.
In the meantime, your head chef would be waiting to fire you, so any training anybody had given you would just be a useless expense. No question of him helping you at all – that would be INAPPROPRIATE. No, instead you would have to leave the kitchen and talk to one of the waiters, who would give you an offhand and disinterested answer because they would frankly rather be texting.
The chef de partie, in the meantime, would not listen or speak to you because he was trying to get the head chef to fire you on the grounds that you forgot the garnish and he was too frightened to speak to you.
Do you see how this works? Offices are just about always like this. I wondered at first if it was because people are sat in chairs all day. Could it be that being stationary causes this malevolence?
Jobseeking is currently extremely tiresome. I was earning 36k at 25 years old, running a team of older men as a head chef. I actually considered applying for a job washing dishes at 18k this week, before I thought about it and decided that after everything I have been through over the years, I really deserve better. Besides, I have a few things on the go that will be better than this option, but it goes to show how much I miss working practices that actually work.
It feels at the moment as if my personal life is over. It has been over for years anyway, so nothing new there, but I really didn’t need another life lesson about crap people. People are violent, selfish, nasty and back-biting as a rule, and no amount of high vibrational inspiration seems to be able to shake them out of it. Wolfe has been right about so many things. I still miss him terribly, but I would miss him more if he was around, so it is just as well really.