This is all about the five employees, who because of me, lost their job.
That group of rebel cooks was led by Chef Jacques, whose name has had a bad rap with his managers since time immemorial. The reason why the managers were not in good terms with Jacques is because the latter has been guilty of many work- related infractions such as consistently high food cost, ballooning inventory variances, and flunking all evaluation appraisals. I did have a bad experience with the chef, and at that time I really walked out the kitchen. (Remember Zeta- Jones in No Reservations? ) The kitchen can get really hellishly- hot, sometimes you have to get some fresh air somewhere. However as Jacque's superior, I did have the tendency to overlook minor flaws and correct them accordingly. There is a noticeable diffrence too, the way Jacques talks to his other managers and they way he does to me.
The managers had long weighed the decision to fire Jacques, but Jacques had earned a tenure with the company, and to fire him for petty reasons would add another case in the company's long list of labor issues. I said I didn't want to add anymore case in that list. And forgiving that I was, I told the managers to please give him another chance. Give him another chance to improve.
May 27 was when I talked to Jacques that he would serve a 24- day suspension (this has something to do with boiling eggs), and in that dialogue, Jacques did tell me that he was willing to undergo such corrective measure. I had been warned by the area manager that Jacques should no longer go to work the day he signed the suspension notice for he did have tendencies to sabotage his kitchen. Since I wrote that May 29 was the effectivity of Jacques's suspension day, I gave him the consent to go to work on the 28th – with all good intentions in mind. I said, please endorse the stations properly, clean up the kitchen, etc., etc.,
Jacques said yes.
I didn't know that Jacques would be holding a cook's rebellion on his last day at work.
May 29- no line cook reported to work. All these line cooks were reputed to be followers of Jacques.
The managers borrowed cooks from other outlets to see the operations through.
May 30, donning my warrior suit, I reported to work in Jacques's restaurant and got everybody to move. The dishwasher did some grilling, the pantry chef did some frying and I think I became a mutant with six hands and four legs. Since that restaurant was found in the province, I had to sleep in a hotel room after closing the kitchen the night before and opening it again the following day.
Sunday, May 31, Jacques's rebel cooks reported to work- all too proud of their accomplishment. I stayed quiet near the kicthen door, and with folded arms, watched them intently. In sideway glances under my stare, I could feel that they were somewhat a little guilty of what they have done.
Then one by one, I summoned some strangers to do a cooking test in the same kitchen. When the rebel cooks were away the day before, I had start interviewing their replacements. So there they were, the new kitchen warriors, tossing vegetables expertly at the wok, while Jacques's men watched questioningly. They were quiet and uneasy.
I told Jacques's staff quietly, in a half- whisper, “Be afraid...be very afraid.”
Thus the new batch of cooks were hired, and I told the restaurant manager to end the contracts of those rebel cooks for we have no more use of them. We had just overhauled a kitchen team.
Two days later, without much resistance nor labor threats, Jacques resigned voluntarily out of personal shame.
But the day before Jacques personally decided to resign, the boss told the board room people that I was an amateur at handling people. Because the boardroom people are always used to talking to lawyers and a lot of due process involved...
I shrugged my shoulders. I am a woman of simple understanding.
I remember telling Jacques when we were talking to each other on the 27th, “You know, if you unravel the threads of anything, of those labor cases, of any crime for that matter- only the absolute truth will surface. It is easy to see what is right and what is wrong. When we stick to that truth, you'd see how simple things truly are. You won't really need lawyers to defend yourself at the court, right, Jacques?”
I'm glad he remembered.
All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.