Ed note: I work for awesome people and I’m not saying that to keep my job, they don’t pay me enough to lie or kiss their ass. The situation has very little to do with them and is more directed at the industry as a whole. D and V, you know I love you guys.
So things have been quiet for the past week since I got back from filming in Cali last week and while I was down there, I caught a nasty bug. Like a total idiot, I scheduled myself to work the day I got back which makes no sense. Saturday it hit me and by the end of the night, I had chills so bad that I was wearing my hoodie in the Kitchen standing next to an open oven to stay warm. I don’t remember Sunday or Monday other than I couldn’t get out of bed or eat. Tuesday is blurry and Wednesday wasn’t much better. I’ve been living off of soup, Gatorade and coconut water.
I’ve also been getting texts asking when I was coming back to work and if I had someone to cover my shifts because I wasn’t feeling shitty enough.
I don’t get sick pay or vacation pay or anything like that. In fact, it cost me a lot of money to lay in bed and feel like shit for a week. If you pay attention to the Facebook page, you know I didn’t even post an update until yesterday.
Some might say “Well why don’t you get a corporate gig?” and there are a few reasons, primarily that A: I like to cook real food that isn’t directed by a committee and B: As soon as they Google my name I’m out of the running thanks to this site.
Let’s make this clear, the corporate chains are the fucking enemy and they, along with Sysco and some seriously ignorant politicians, are killing small, indie places such as the bar I work at. These are your favorite corner spots that you grew up at and they’re dying due to changes in policy over the past few years.
I don’t have access to the books but I know how to do the math and my bosses are still having to work full-time jobs to pay their bills. The bar isn’t failing, it’s just that even on a good day, the profit margin is shit at best. We run a skeleton crew and when I get sick, it means someone else might go into overtime which is a pain the accounts.
If it was up to my bosses, they’d love to pay me a lot more than what they do and provide us benefits and paid time off. The problem goes back to the industry standard and this attitude that, if we want to call ourselves Chefs that we have to work while throwing up in a bucket off the line. I’m not kidding.
This attitude is bullshit. This mentality is why talent is walking away or letting the stress drive them to suicide, again, I’m not kidding or exaggerating this. I understand that this is not a part-time gig and that being a Chef is more of a lifestyle than a career, I’ve given the best years of my life to the industry. What I’m saying is that we have to draw the line. We have to start taking better care of ourselves and our staff.
Yes, I get it, there’s a lot of whiny bitches that will cry over a runny nose, fuck them, they don’t belong in the Kitchen. But since we’re in a labor crisis we’re stuck with them.
My head is still hazy but I’m at the point that I can at least stand up and hold a knife. The truth is that I really should be taking tonight off but I really can’t afford it. We have two options, unite and start to figure out a way that small indie places can sustain or ya’ll motherfuckers better get used to eating boil in bag bullshit from Sysco