The Fresh Loaf

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Tales from the bakery - war stories 2

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Bart's picture
Bart

Tales from the bakery - war stories 2

I quit working at the bakery yesterday.  Sad but true.  I could not take it anymore.  This is what happened :

My boss asked me to empty the dough from the mixer after bulk ferment.  I had to dust flour on top of it, so I did.  The head baker once told me that I also had to  put on the mixer and dust some flour to the sides too in order to easily remove it without sticking.  So I did.  My boss freaked out.  He was seriously pissed.  I was stunned because of his reaction and could not say a word.  

After that I kept on shaping bread while my boss was saying : "This dough is like concrete, otherwise it is not as hard, this is because of turning on the mixer."  He said this like 20 times.  His wife tried to calm him down but without succes and she left.  After that I pushed the dough on the table in order to prevent it to slide off the side of the workbench.  My boss freaked out even more.  He said he did not want me to touch the dough at all.  He said I could play with dough in culinary school but not at his bakery.  Stunned for the second time I could not react at all and kept my mouth shut.

I had to leave right after that second incident, but I did keep working.  I told the pastry chef that I could not keep on working here.  I did for the rest of the day until it work was done.  After changing clothes I went to the bakery store and told his wife I would stop working there, that I just could not do it anymore like this.  She called her husband and I swear if he could knocked me down with his eyes he would have.  He told her that he was in charge to keep the work go fast forward and left.  I told him I did not know he did not wanted me to turn on the mixer but that the master baker (who was in the hospital because of his illness) had once told me to do it this way.  He left again.

His wife asked to change my mind and show up Friday to give the boss a second chance.  I left.  That night when my wife came home I explained what happened.  We argued and she told me that if I had to come home all stressed up every day that it was better to quit immediately.  I drove to the bakery once again and told the boss his wife I would not show up anymore.  We had a good talk and she regretted I did not try to stay and give it another try.  She told me her husband is not an easy person to live/work with (I already knew that.)  She told me he might call me.  She asked me to rethink my decision but I asked to pay me for my work and I probably would not change my mind and wished her good luck finding someone else.

 

That night I sent an email to the pastry chef to chit chat a bit more about what happened.  The phone rang and his wife told me he was already in bed because he had to start early working the next day.  She asked me what happened and I explained.  She said that her opinion is that the boss is like not normal.  She said he is like impossible to work with and that me leaving proved this.  She also felt bad for her husband, because he really liked working with me.  So I feel a bit better about the situation, knowing my ex-boss is a difficult guy to deal with. 

I wanted to share this with you guys.  Any feedback is more than welcome.  Thanks.

Bart - Belgium

 

 

bshuval's picture
bshuval

But I think you made the right decision. If you were sufferring there, and it was really putting a strain on your life, it isn't worth it.

I am sure you will have no problems finding a job at a different bakery with a normal boss. Please keep us updated; I find this very interesting!  

 

My bread blog: http://foldingpain.blogspot.com

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Bart,
I am sorry it worked out this way for you. I understand why you quit and I might have done the same thing but I just wanted to share this idea with you. From what you have said here you sound like a respectful kind of guy. Maybe you don't feel confident enough yet to speak up for yourself and what you think is right. If you were doing what you thought was the right thing you could have defended your self and said why you turned the mixer on. Sometimes the old guys, the bosses, are under so much strain that they don't know they are being rude or overbearing. They are so used to the new guy jumping when he shouts that it never crosses his mind you are not an idiot. What you need in any job is a boss who respects your ability to get the job done. If this guy understood you did what you did for a reason and not because you are faking it, then he could either tell you what he wants done or learn to do without your help. You have to stand up for your self even in the face of a hot headed boss. He will respect you more if you don't put your tail between your legs. After all he needs the help and you need the job. It's a matter of self respect my friend. You will go home to your wonderful wife with the confidence that you held your own in mental combat and on the floor of the bakery. That is life all over the world.
Good luck.

Eric

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

their is another way to handle something like this go back on firday and when it comes time to take the dough out of the mixer ...hand the boss the scraper and say here do it yourself!!!

but everybody has to deal with things his own way there is no right or wrong the only thing is to do what you feel is best for you and sometimes it is and sometimes its not ether way you learn to live with it

and to make you feel better the master baker is right

all you did is give the dough a punch (fold) with the mixer by running it for a second the flour would release the dough. ever try to get 600 pounds of bread out of a rotating stationary mixer with out turning it on to kick the dough out HINT it aint happening.

Well maybe you could but by the time you are cutting out the last pieces the dough will be sour as hell

good luck bart maybe you will find a boss thats not brain damaged from oven heat.

Bart's picture
Bart

I want to thank you guys for the feedback! I really appreciate it a lot.

@ Eric, You are right, I should have defended myself and stood up for myself. I was totally blown away by his reaction. Next time it won't happen again. Thanks for your positive feedback.

I was on the phone yesterday with the pastry chef and he told me that Thursday (the day after I left) my boss and his wife were heavily arguing. She told that he had been very rude to me and that I was a correct guy with a broad interest in baking and eager to learn the job. She told him that he could not deal with his staff like normal people do and that he been very brutal to me. His wife clearly chooses my side and regrets that I left.
The pastry chef also asked me to rethink my decision. I might have a talk to my boss his wife again. I am welcome to go back there. I'll keep you guys updated.

 

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'm glad to hear you are still thinking about this. Your happiness at a job is more of a matter of your mental attitude, confidence about your skills and ability to learn. If you can go back and give him a chance to back up a little without looking like a fool in front of his wife, you can have a private talk. You have to be firm about wanting to please him with your performance but, be clear about not allowing disrespect or tantrums. He needs you to stay I'm sure. If you can establish yourself as a strong willed valuable man, you can find happiness here.
Good luck Bart, you can do this.

Eric

holds99's picture
holds99

Bart,

I think you made the right decision.  Your job takes up 2/3 of your waking hours.  If you're unhappy at work you're unhappy 2/3 of the time you're awake.  It also adversely affects your relationship with your family and friends.  NOT GOOD!  I think many of us have worked with and/or for similar type personalities as your boss.  When a superior reveals a consistent pattern of rudeness and insulting behavior and uses intimidation as a substitute for good management skills and practices it's time to move on.  Zebras don't change their stripes and it doesn't sound like your boss is likely to change nor is he a reasonable, competent, fair individual.  The one thing that is verbotten, in my book, is disrespect.  Being disrespectful and intimidating is the sign of a weak character.  Keep looking for a good work environment and best of luck to you.  You sound like a very nice, conscientious person.  Keep us posted on your endeavors.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Bart's picture
Bart

Thanks for the nice words Howard!  

I appreciate all the feedback I got on this posting! Thanks!

Bart

 

ilovebreadblog

Luvs2bake's picture
Luvs2bake

I also think you were right to leave that place.  I worked for 3-1/2 years or so on weekends at a small neighborhood bakery.   I was the morning cashier.  The customers were really nice and enjoyed working with the bakers very much.  Then there was the owner who would literally blow up and throw things, swear, chew you out in front of other people (including customers) over nothing and with no warning.  His favorite one for me was that I was too slow.  Anyway, after being chewed out by him many times and watching bakers come and go as if there was a revolving door at the place, one day a letter came from Social Security saying that I am now eligible to take early retirement.  I couldn't get those papers filled out fast enough.  I've been away from that place for almost a year now.  I've never gone back and never will recommend the place to anybody even though the products are very good.  In my case, the income was more than replaced so I hope that financially you will be ok.  In my case 9and yours) I think the owner had some sort of mental issues, but that doesn't excuse him from being disrespectful.  He seemed to enjoy humiliating me and I'm so glad I don't have to "walk on eggshells" any longer.   I'm feeling better about myself and life and friends are telling me that they can tell I'm much happier now.  I wish the same for you, Bart.

Luvs2bake 

Bart's picture
Bart

Thanks for sharing that Luvs2bake!  I appreciate it a lot.

Since this was a second job I have no worries about it financially.  Actually, all the money I made I set aside to buy a new oven.  It will take a bit longer to purchase it without a second income, but I don't care.  I will post when I get it.

Bart

 

ilovebreadblog

Luvs2bake's picture
Luvs2bake

I'm so glad to have helped, Bart.  I think your boss and my boss were very similar.  All the bakers and I thought he was bipolar because of his instantaneous mood swings.  Once, for no reason, he gave me the silent treatment for the first 5 hours of my 6-hour shift; then when he decided to leave and said good bye to me I ignored him.  He couldn't handle that so he fired me on the spot.  After he thought about it and realized that it was November and we were entering the busy holiday season and he would be without his early morning weekend cashier, he called and asked if I'd come back.  I agreed to do that on the condition that in January we would both start looking for new situations.  So I went back but ended up staying there for another year and a half becoming more and more miserable.  Thank goodness for Social Security!  (Wouldn't it be funny if he saw this post?)  Anyway, many more congratulations to you.

Luvs2bake

Henry's picture
Henry

 Bart

You did the right thing.

There are a lot of characters in the baking and cooking industry.

At times, I think the bakers inhale too much flour dust and those that

work nights have diffuculty relating to humans as they are often enough working

alone.

I worked with a difficult German baker back in 1994 for one month.

He never spoke, only yelled.

One day I finished my shift then told the owner I wouldn't be returning.

He thanked me for the month of work, saying that in the past two years, no one had stayed as long.

You'll always get another baking job.

H