Should I submit the incident I should have been fired over as a story?

Title says it all really, here’s the story:

I work in the kitchen of a pub. I’m on shift with two other coworkers. As the most senior member of kitchen staff, I’m the defacto lead. I’m cooking all of the hot food, coworker #1 the cold, and coworker #2 is on dishes because he’s a newbie.

Coworker #1 gets on my nerves. He’s apparently the son of one of the managers, and seems to think he should be in charge of the kitchen (as he worked the bar beforehand) despite his many mistakes. He keeps wandering off to do who knows what in the middle of his shifts and will waste time messing with his phone, but we’re short staffed enough that he’s more competent than not simply by being an extra pair of hands.

During the dinner rush, the meat fryer starts displaying a message I’ve never seen before. It asks if the pot has enough oil, I select “yes” because it does, and then it tells me that the pot needs to be empty “first.”

I have no clue what that’s referring to, but since I’m busy and the fryer is useable once the message goes away, I ignore it in favour of getting food out. That was mistake one.

The fryers need their oil changed periodically, and this becomes more frequent during rushes. But when I go to filter the damned thing, I get the odd error message that had been appearing all afternoon. And I couldn’t make either go away.

So I’m panicking more than a little, and radio to the bar for a manager because we have no meat fryer and all of a sudden I can’t do half the tickets on the screen.

A little while later I come out of the walk in freezer (because I was still trying to get down the other tickets) and find both coworker #1 and a manager at the meat fryer. Coworker 1# is just pressing buttons.

I was a lot more frazzled in irl than I’d be able to convey in writing down the conversation in words. I’m trying (and failing) to explain to the manager what happened and what troubleshooting steps I’ve taken so far, but I keep getting distracted by interrupting myself to tell coworker 1 to stop pressing random buttons.

At one point coworker 1 put his hand on the lever that you have to pull to filter the fryer.

Me: (repeatedly) coworker 1 don’t pull that, it’s just going to give an error message. Get your hand off the lever. Get your hand off the lever.

Manager: Coworker 1, why don’t you leave that alone?

Me: Get. Your. Hand. Off. The. F-king. Lever. Do. Not! Pull. It. Stop-

And he pulled the lever. All throughout the exchange he didn’t make any notion that he had heard either of us talking to him, but was just stood there holding the lever for half a minute.

He’d let go of the lever after pulling it so I pushed it back, and he went to press more buttons again. I’d had enough and lost my temper. I stepped between him and the fryer and shoved him hard enough that he took a couple steps back.

He finally backed off, and I was able to explain properly to the manager what the issues had been, and she went to get help since she didn’t know what was happening either.

I took my break soon after, because f–k the dinner rush I’m angry and need to calm the f–k down. (The fryer was fixed while I was gone)

That’s when it hit me that I’d just shoved a guy. At work. That’s assault or something. And I’m SO about to be fired.

Except it’s been two weeks now and I’ve heard nothing. Not even a slap-on-the-wrist-dont-do-that-again kind of conversation. So now I am very confused as to how I’ve gotten away with this.

So do I submit that or not? I’m aware I’d get roasted in the comments.

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I wouldn’t submit it. It doesn’t have any comeuppance, it doesn’t have consequences, it doesn’t have a conclusion of any kind. You didn’t fit the fryer, you don’t even know what was wrong with it and how they fixed the fryer, it’s not a complete story. There’s stuff to talk about, but it’s stuff that is much more easily discussed on a forum rather than an NAR comments thread.

I don’t think you’d be roasted too much in the comments for shoving the guy, kitchens tend to be pretty rough and tumble workplaces, but I would be curious why you cared so much that the coworker was going to get an error message. Did the error message take a long time that would make it take longer to fix? Is touching the buttons going to break the fryer even more? I just don’t see why it mattered that he was randomly pushing buttons.

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I wanted to demonstrate the troubleshooting I’d already done by showing the manager which button combinations I’d tried. And he was just stood there in the way, pushing buttons despite being repeatedly told to stop.

Though for all I knew, pressing the wrong combination of buttons would break the fryer more. There are at least three options in the menu that I haven’t been shown what they do yet.

Mostly though I was already frustrated and already didn’t like the guy and it was distracting.

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Well, that’s something to work on. Until the manager told him to stop, it was just a random coworker who isn’t in charge of him, so it’s understandable that he wasn’t listening. It isn’t your job to manage him, just like it isn’t his job to manage other people.

You made a mistake in pushing him, but it was the first time and you didn’t do any damage. I would expect a verbal reprimand for such a thing, but not more than that unless it became a pattern. Try to calm down about stuff like this, it’s a pub not a matter of life or death.

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Without having worked in a kitchen, but having some understanding of safety issues in the workplace… is it possible they took into account that Coworker #1 was fiddling with an item that could have had resulted in an accident (plus interfering with an explanation which would help troubleshoot an actual issue getting food out), plus the fact that it was dinner rush and you were stressed out? My guess, Coworker #1 was preventing both you and the manager from doing your jobs, so the shove was overlooked. And if Coworker #1 realised they were being an ass or got told off, then unless they made an issue of the shove the manager decided to just let it go as a ‘heat of the moment’ thing.

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It’s a dangerous situation. My mother once slapped a student (11 years old). Which means that if the parents make a case out of it, you’ll never work in education ever.

However, parents were called, explained what happened, and parents reaction: ‘Oh, then he probably did something to deserve it’. (he did, kid was my age, other class and even shy little me had several fights with him).

Same here: Manager might just think: ok, this was a just push, end of story.

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I’m with the others: submitting this is likely to get you a lot of potentially judgmental flack from a fair amount of the comment section that will serve no purpose but will stress you out.

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So… where’s the story?

Obviously this was a really big event for you, but as Callyn says, none of the plot threads get resolved. The fryer is broken; we never find out what was wrong with it. Coworker #1 is a bit arrogant and entitled; and he still is, and still employed. You shoved a guy; nothing happens to either you or him.

What is there in this event from your life that might inform, entertain, or emotionally engage a reader?

I think the lack of a resolution was why I was considering submitting it in the first place. Something that wasn’t nothing happened, so it’s odd that there were no consequences.

I think in some twisted way that’s also why I wanted to submit it. I did something bad so something consequential should happen and it just didn’t. I thought maybe by getting comments on it, it would solidify that it was something I shouldn’t have done? I don’t know if that makes any sense.

Though since everyone’s saying it isn’t good as a “story” in that sense, then I won’t be submitting it.

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If you’re looking for personal resolution… is it worth considering talking to your manager? I know that sounds like a backwards thing to do but hear me out… (Or if not your manager, a counsellor or non-work manager you know and respect)

What if you said to your manager that you don’t like the fact that you pushed your coworker. Take responsibility for it, say you appreciate there hasn’t been consequences, but that you’re concerned about the situation (it was stressful, coworker wasn’t listening to you, etc). Say you don’t want that to happen ever again, and you want some strategies for dealing with coworkers who don’t listen or better procedures for dealing with kitchen equipment. Acknowledge that things got out of hand in a physical way and ask for help in finding better ways to manage that stress in the moment. Or ask for the manager to actually (do their job :wink:) manage the problem and step in when it’s clear someone isn’t listening to you but is interfering with getting on with an urgent problem. De-escalation techniques during a stressful situation is absolutely something a manager should do when they can see Person #1 playing with something and Person #2 getting increasingly frustrated. (So maybe the problem here is the manager, you know? No one was right in this situation)

Feels like you need a resolution here rather than sharing a story.

But also… is it possible you’re a better employee than you think and they’re giving you some slack because they know you’re working hard?

Also, it may feel awful in the moment, but sometimes pushing back is exactly what needs doing. I did that once with a coworker (not physically but I created a situation where there was some steam let off verbally) and it turns out that it was really helpful for my colleagues. Looking back now, it was pretty manipulative… at the time though it actually allowed for better understanding between my colleagues and this coworker. Sometimes people just are oblivious to how they are acting around others or how their actions are making people feel, and need a bit of a clue stick. Not saying make a habit of it, but I think it’s ok to let yourself off the hook a bit.

(On a side note, it’s nothing like a teacher/student situation, which has issues of massive power imbalance. A coworker is not an 11yo child in your care and shouldn’t be treated that way. Also, corporal punishment went out of style for a reason so I don’t get the comparison at all)

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