In the morning when the sun was barely out, I knew today was going to be magical when torrential rains somehow started, died down, and then started again all in the span of 20 minutes of getting ready for work. I made sure to sprint to get to work in time, but that didn't matter because the manager was late due to said rains. Their lateness was completely understandable, so at this point the managers being late a fifth of the time for morning prep is just a predestined fact of life I've come to accept.
After the mundane morning prep, my work on the line started, but never ended. There wasn't a single time where I could idle for more than 3 minutes. Customers just kept coming in a lunch rush limbo. After probably the second hour of working the line I started becoming lightheaded, all while having my manager of the canine persuasion to the right of me. I appreciated his help for sure, but during my two days off all I could think about was how I was scheduled for yet another dreadful Friday when the full moon would be out. Last Friday I got out barely unscathed before dinner peak, but service was tense and rife with snarky comments spewed at me.
Fate was even taunting me when he first walked in: he was complaining about having a 5 page message and how he can't focus on work when he's dealing with so much. Now like some really bad, overly long foreshadowing or premonition, I had to work with him on a Thursday and get an early preview of what's to come on Friday. Luckily, all was calm and no sheep were mauled because he wasn't shouldering the heavy responsibility of being the service manager that day.
At the same time I had to fend off the sharp criticisms of one of my grating coworkers. I haven't thought to bring her up yet, but they've been playing an especially prominent role recently in my workplace. My fondest memories of her include an endless montage of them acting angrily annoyed and exasperated every time I made a mistake, no matter how trivial, and with no patience or consideration of me being a beginner. I'm thinking to myself, how on earth is any new hire supposed to survive, let alone feel encouraged to learn and invest themselves working here when they've got freaking hyenas roaming freely devouring these defenseless people. As it turns out, there is a guy even newer than me. Godspeed.
Every so often the hyena would be there to undermine or lowkey angry scold me in front of the customers. Today in one of many instances of her being angry, she scolded me because I took a cup that I was going to use to drink some water. Then I saw a customer coming, so I couldn't take a drink yet, so I threw the cup in the trash. Sure, I should've put the cup back, but after my mind not being clearheaded after 8 hours of nonstop work and thinking my gloves might be dirty, I threw the cup in the trash. No big deal - that's exactly what the manager expressed in their shoulder shrug and face when they asked what was up when they overheard the sound a hyena makes before it kills a newborn puppy. Nevertheless, the hunt continued- they kept stalking me with petty comments about where I place the sour cream on the burrito and how it's weird because it's not how they do it.
Now I'm thinking about Friday again which is tomorrow. There have been exactly 3 days I've seriously thought about quitting within my month of working here alongside carnivorous animals, all of which happened on Fridays, and tomorrow might make that 4.
Fridays make me remember the contradicting statements I've been told on how to make call-backs, which are requests for new food to be made fresh. The journey started on my first Friday ever with the part-time wolf manager as documented previously here. He got angry when I constantly said "(insert food) working," which as far as I knew, was the way to tell the grill guy to start cooking something. He said to tell me how much he was working with, and with my minimal training, I didn't what he meant at first, but I was told to say halfway more. Then I was calling halfway too late and running out of food, so he told me to say the specific portions of food remaining. When I did that, he would get angry when I'd say there were less servings available than he expected.
Funnily enough, when I started calling out specific portions as instructed, a coworker chimed in saying I should either say halfway or working. Then my part-time wolf manager had to correct him saying that he told me to call specific portions while saying frustratedly that when I call halfway, there are only 2 or 3 portions remaining. Anyway, the manager eventually made a full circle telling me in the end to just say working and not halfway or anything else based on the assumption that I call halfway too late, so I may as well say working.
Then one or two days later the upper level general manager comes along, hearing me saying working only. He tells me "Oh, you gotta say halfway when food is halfway, and working when..." Funnily enough the part-time wolf was there ready to correct the contradiction, explaining and asserting his saying only working rule to the general manager.
Then a week passes and I have a different manager working grill who tells me to say halfway and working. This is the manager in the last blog, who I told my frustrations when given contradictory instructions. I call over the part-time wolf, and he says "Oh yah" and reiterates his rule that was created due to my ineptitude. The person working grill simply asserts again that they need to be told halfway or working, and usually common sense would say to do as the grill guy says, but I was so mentally frustrated after 3 changes in how to make call-backs and the prior contradictions, and just my sour attitude towards the wolf guy. So, when the time to make a call-back happened, there lay the part-time wolf and the grill guy. In the world of logic, I can't say halfway because it'd be against the part-time wolf's rule, and I can't say working because it'd be against the grill guy's rule, so I simply turned around exasperated without a word said.
In the whole debacle, the part-time wolf manager was right that I performed badly during the Friday night that started this only working rule. Of course I did, because who wouldn't be thrown off by the sudden appearance of a full grown wolf and the coincidental disappearance of their beloved manager? But anyway, I also wasn't working with the grill guy who I worked with typically who did all of the work for me practically. Due to that complacency, I wasn't prepared to make call-backs frequently or early enough or know what to expect from a more typical grill guy. The lack of preparation and the stressful, negative atmosphere culminated into that night. Now we have some rule based on one night's performance because people aren't capable of learning from their mistakes and improving. Overall, the constant contradictions, the people trying to correct me, and then the part-time wolf having to repeat his rule to correct people trying to correct me describes how so many people are just not on the same page in the workplace. It's the maddening, facepalm worthy, monotonous, agonizing, boring, comical, and dumb reality of working there.
Actually, the contradictions aren't a big deal by themselves. Half the time the work is fine and the coworkers are nice enough, but the many bad things: the bad managers, some bad coworkers, the awful lunch and especially dinner peaks, and the physical and mental demands of the job make it unbearable. I'm Agent Smith living in a Chipotle zoo of wolves and hyenas, a mind numbing reality of making chips every morning and plopping the same foods on the same entrees in every possible combination saying the same script ad nauseum to the customer. The tired reality of petty workplace politics, bad managers and coworkers alike, terrible training, being understaffed, constant contradictions, and being surrounded by people who embrace and are entrenched in the cortisol filled culture of the dinner peak where they turn into ravenous beasts and subsequently pat each other's backs the next day reminiscing about how bad the night was like it's a badge of honor. The superficial reality of bending over backwards for the customer, embracing the increasingly profit-driven, soulless culture of Chipotle that views you as expendable and replaceable, and hitting sales and throughput goals at the cost of your sanity. The stink of petty, backwards maturity, and narrow minded people and of mild tomato salsa on my shirt that I have to wash every day. The very being of Chipotle is killing my soul and I must escape.
And I'm trying to. I'm moving in a positive direction. My mind does not have to remain at Chipotle. I am free. After all, how much I let the dumbassery and bull crap of the workplace affect me is ultimately my choice. This workplace isn't worth investing myself into.... When I first started working I was looking forward to improving, learning, and being a great worker, but now...not so much. I am breaking free of this reality and no longer will my mind remain caged.