Opening Panic

No more than four hours of sleep last night despite going to bed at 20:00. Arrive at work at open (06:00), get changed slowly and start with slowly cleaning the thingy that needs cleaned during open. Vaguely wondering who I’m supposed to be opening with, and when they’re going to arrive. Very slow because tired.

Done with the first half and ready to mop, check time and it’s 06:35, so they’re very late. Look at rota to check who was supposed to be on with me. I’m on my own. As in, I was purposefully scheduled to do this on my own.

Cue panic since I’ve got just over an hour to sort the defrost, which I’ve never done before but vaguely heard about. Panicking because I can’t find things in the freezer, panicking because I don’t know how to count the food, just panicking in general because I’m on my own and haven’t seen another person since I walked into the staff only area.

Later, I’m nowhere near done with the defrost but notice the fryers aren’t set up yet. Then notice nothing is on except the fridges. Fryers have an on button, so I press it, and they light up and the display reads “OFF” so now I’m really panicking. Go to see (again) if there’s anyone in the corridor, notice the time is now 07:50 or so and panic more because I have ten minutes left before food starts being ordered.

Finally find manager who helps turn things on, and a coworker comes in at 08:00 and says she’ll finish sorting the defrost, but the grills never turned on and I think she never did finish the defrost since just before my shift was over we were asked to get curries and I couldn’t find them earlier but she did when she checked. Either way, felt like I was going to hyperventilate and then throw up and then collapse, and felt like that until my break. After my break I was just tired and had a stomache ache and then splashed hot oil onto my thumb, which still stings.

So that was fun.


So, first off: Congratulations on making it through that shift, despite having woefully incomplete training or support; you did what you could, and remarkably well from the sounds of it. You shouldn’t have had to that, but you persevered and did a pretty darned good job under the circumstances. Recognize this as a personal success, not as a personal failure.

Second: This was a failure on the part of whoever did the scheduling. Can you tell the scheduler — or your supervisor, or the scheduler’s boss — that you need more training before you open again, because nobody had taught you either what all had to be done or how to do much of it, and you were somehow scheduled SOLO for your first opening?


Thanks, I was kinda feeling like I had completely screwed everything up since I was too slow and not being able to find things. And since I could’ve checked earlier who else was there and seen that it was just me, though in my defense I was not expecting this at all.

This wasn’t my first open, just my first on my own. I’ve actually done a fair few, it’s just that I’ve been focused on a couple of bigger tasks and while I’m doing those the other person does most of the smaller tasks. I’ve checked my rota in advance just now, and the next open I have there is going to be someone opening with me, so that’s good.


Makes sense, re: focusing on a couple of bigger tasks you were shown how to do — and now, if you’re up for it, you can ask to learn more about the smaller tasks when you’re opening alongside someone else, so you know what’s what in case you’re ever scheduled to open solo again or whoever’s scheduled to open with you calls in sick or whatever.

But no, this was emphatically not your fault, and it really does sound like you did better than anyone should have expected you could when you were thrown in the deep end like that.


I feel you! The new-on-the-job feeling can be daunting and being thrown in at the deep end like that is stressful! You’re not alone to feel like this, we’ve all been there.

It sounds like you did a good job, be proud of yourself. It is okay to not know everything or not being able to find stuff immediately when you’re new.

I keep a little notebook in my pocket where I write everything down, big and small tasks, small tricks and tricks, phone numbers and everything else that might come in handy. I don’t know if you do, otherwise I strongly recommend it. As an example, you can make an opening to-do check list



Y’know what? Despite all the "Well actually"s in my head that are trying to point out why each part was in fact my fault, my therapist did tell me I’m supposed to be nicer to myself. So I’m going to pretend the nice things you are saying are true because I want them to be.


That’s better than believing them false because you’re afraid we’re wrong — but you could try to turn that over in your head and find reasons supporting what we said as logical instead of attempting to find reason to doubt our words. Maybe that’s a future step. :slight_smile:

Edited to add: You could also try talking with your supervisor, whom you’ve described as supportive and appreciative of your work. Explain what happened that day and what you didn’t know and what you tried, and ask what they’d want you to do differently in future. See what they say, if you have trouble believing us.


It’s not necessarily that I think you’re wrong, you’ve both made valid points. It’s like my brain is screaming at me that I know I screwed up because if I hadn’t screwed up then the result wouldn’t have been bad. So that means that if I am in the wrong and yet I’m being told it’s okay, I didn’t properly explain things and that’s why you came to the wrong conclusion, so I keep wanting to point out all the things I should’ve or could’ve done.

But that wouldn’t exactly be helpful, and it’s probably just my brain being stupid and not shutting up.


Imagine you having a new coworker. How would you think or react, especially after having this kind of experience?

Most people, I dare to say everyone who works/worked, has been in your situation. It might not be the starting assignments, but being new to the job and not sure how things are done.

I’m sure your coworkers felt with you and understood that some things hadn’t been done yet. They’ve been through the same.

I think this is worth repeating:
It is okay to not know everything or not being able to find stuff immediately when you’re new.


Even if you didn’t do everything correct, that’s okay too. You’ll learn and do it correct in the future.

Errare humanum est


So I’m sat here trying to think of how to explain that all of the things you’re saying make perfect logical sense but just don’t apply to me because… well that’s the bit I’m stuck on.

This, however… I dunno why but this made me think I know why I’m being weird about this (though not actually any help on how to stop being weird about it). Because for almost the entirety of the last six years, if I screwed up with my “work” then my sister could die. And obviously things are nowhere near that serious anymore, but I remember my dad firing someone who was relatively new-ish because they’d stated the wrong size of equipment when asked.

So my brain’s still being super paranoid about that even though it’s not applicable anymore? I don’t even know if that’s actually it or if I’m just making that up.


That makes sense, and is definitely something worth talking about with your therapist. Far from everything is life and death, and that was frankly too much responsibility for you to have had to put on you as a child, though I understand why it happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if your dad having fired the caregiver meant you were also thinking you would lose your job over not knowing how to do what you hadn’t been trained for, but that should not happen.

People hired to provide medical care are expected to know how to provide it, and what to do if something goes medically wrong. You weren’t hired to take care of your sister, simply born into the same family, and had less training but in some cases at least as much responsibility as those workers.

You are still in training, and you were turned loose on a situation where you didn’t know what all to do and had nobody to ask or get help from. You did what you knew how to do, made educated guesses on some of the rest of it, and deserve credit for doing your best (and a darned good job!) in a confusing situation where you did not have the information or training or support to complete everything perfectly. As Sillsallad said, you will learn it and do better in the future — and it’s not life or death. And next time you’ll be more prepared and trained. :slight_smile:


Next time happened. Yesterday I did the open on my own and today it was me and a new-isher coworker.

I was better prepared and had asked other more senior coworkers questions about stuff. Though one of them was kinda dismissive and told me there was no problem and I would have an easy shift. The kitchen lead came in early (and worked off the clock which I didn’t realise until I saw him clock in minutes before his scheduled time) and helped out a bit.

I asked him later if I’d really been here long enough to be doing the opens on my own, and apparently I have?

This morning the owner came up to me and the other girl and told us she didn’t realise the rota until this morning, but there would be no more senior coworker in until 10:30. We were starting at 06:00 and food starts at 08:00.

The open itself went much better. And we actually got done in time for when food was starting. An under-18 guy came in to join us, but then I had to lead the kitchen.

I don’t think I was very good at it. I kept getting myself confused and kept having to take deep breaths or I was going to scream at my coworker. Which wouldn’t have been very nice since she was trying to help. Though, uh, emphasis on trying. There were quite a few moments I was tempted to just storm off and go home, but I’ve managed it this far.

And now that we have someone who actually knows what they’re doing, the rest of my shift should be fine. I hope.

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Congratulations – you did it yesterday and have made it so far today! :slight_smile:

I suspect being ready to do the opening solo is less a matter of how long someone’s been there and more a matter of training. Someone hired last week but explicitly trained on opening every shift may be ready to open, while someone hired a year ago and never taught how to do it may not be.

It’s great that you’re able to be understanding of your new coworker, who may have been as at sea as you were at that stage. And you’ll get better at leading the kitchen the more practice you have at it. You took deep breaths and didn’t scream, and you persevered, and that’s awesome. :slight_smile: