Monday, May 4, 2009

Spin Cycle: Making Mountains Out of Molehills

I’m spinning; spinning my wheels. I’m spinning this week’s topic with such a twist it may not quite be what Jen over at Sprite’s Keeper had in mind, but she’s such a doll I think she will be fine with that.

The general slant of the spin is bragging.

Not just regular bragging. Tooting your own horn at work bragging. Work bragging of the kind where someone talks themselves up to the boss in such a way that the exaggeration of their feats crosses the border of exaggerated reality to pure and simple fiction.

Hence, my conundrum. Instead of making mountains out of molehills, it’s more like making mountains out of sneaker farts.

Well then, now that we have our sensory details, let’s get on with the story.

The last restaurant where I worked was a rising star at the time. I started working there when it had been open less than a year, but the chef owner had a gift, not just for cooking, but for business as well. During that first year he really made a name for himself. After a few years, he started opening up other restaurants. Many of my waiter friends were the first to go into management at the new establishments.

One of my friends there was everything you’d want in an employee. Hard-working, smart. A truly caring person who could give just the right service to a young prom couple who had never been to such a nice place; but also be able to handle the richest, pickiest asshat with aplomb and finesse. I liked her.

Another fellow employee was a back stabbing, ladder climbing bitch. She had been hired a year or two after a lot of us, but she was itchy to be pulled up the ranks ahead of the pack. Every other night I would see her go up to the dining room manager and brag about something. Her sales. A compliment from a customer. How she managed to give great service despite her slow, shit for brains busboy. A lot of her tactics for illustrating her profound greatness was by throwing whoever she could under the bus. I did NOT like her.

Sometimes, when there was a large party (fourteen to twenty) two stations would be worked as one with a team of two waiters.

One night Glenda the Good Witch was teamed up with the Wicked Witch of the West (original version people – not Elphaba). Let’s just call her Bitch Witch so there is no confusion. I was working right next to them, a true eye witness. Glenda was on the ropes making sure that not only the twenty top, but also the six other tables were happy. Checking on them, getting the little extras, opening the bottles of wine. Bitch Witch was taking orders and ringing them up. However, she had absolutely no fucking follow through. More than once I stepped in and helped when Glenda asked me by opening a bottle of wine that Bitch Witch had rung up but left sitting on the bar while the customers sat there waiting.

I mostly thought they were going with their strengths. Glenda was awesome with her interpersonal skills. Bitch not so much.

At the end of the night while I was sitting at a table doing my sales report and money drop, the dining room manager and the chef owner were having dinner at the table next to me. Bitch Witch comes up, sits down at their table and shows them her and Glenda’s ending sales read out.

Look how busy I was. I sold $2,200. Man, was I busy. You know. Glenda only sold $1,000 tonight. But that’s OK. I’ll still split the tips down the middle. Cause I’m a team player. But I bet this is the highest sales ever, right?

Technically, Bitch was supposed to ring the tables in Glenda’s station on Glenda’s number….

Her point was moot.

She did not mention that she did nothing to actually service her customers that night.

But she came really close to me grabbing a fork and shoving it up her ass.

Bottom line? They both went into management and both manage their own restaurants. I don’t go to the one the Bitch is running.

I’ve observed this phenomenon in every line of work that I’ve come across. What has always irked my idealist side is most bosses (be it manager, owner, or admin in education) seem to usually buy the horn tooters version of their accomplishments at face value. It's like many that go into management acquire some kind of immunity to smelling a stinker when they leave the ranks of the field workers.

I kind of feel like it’s my boss’s job to know how good I am at what I do without me pointing it out.

Any horn tooters driving you crazy out there at your jobs? Fellow employees who brag mountains with only a sneaker fart to stand on?

For more spins head on over to our host, Sprite’s Keeper.

38 comments:

darsden said...

I so feel ya and relate to the story! I have gone so far as to tip the one doing the "real" work personally and the other left a penny because she wasn't worth two cents ;-) yep that's how I roll sometimes.

Horn toot-er's drive the crap out of me...I have been known for playing the air sax right in front of them and they still don't get it!

Lo said...

ugh..... friday is my last day at my current position. GO ME. for a reason- there's this suckup straight up BITCH that works here that i just.cannot.stand. i hate this workplace, it is run by complete ass hats and i am so, so glad to go. :)

Alice said...

I saw this everyday as a teacher. The kissass going up and saying how wonderful they were, how great their lessons, how much the kids loved them and on and on and on. These really were some of the worst teachers. I believe if you have to tell someone how great you are, you aren't. The teachers in the trenches really know who are the good teachers and are doing well. And most of them will not toot their own horn.

Believe it or not, most of the time the principals bought into this. Those were the ones who got the plush jobs, extra pay duties that they wanted, etc.

Linda said...

Um, yea. We got one here too. He blows his horn several times a day to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately there are only 7 employees total here so we all hear it several times. I've learned to close my ears when I see him coming. Just smile & nod, just smile & nod.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hmmmm. Not sure what it says about me that I'm glad I'm not alone in that this bothers me.

And alice - you are right - I've seen way more teachers doing this than I saw in other lines of work. It has gotten to be a matter of pride for the hard workers to silently acknowledge each other and make it a point to not horn toot in the principal's office.

midlife slices said...

Fortunately, I'm my own boss but I have had to work with people like this, in the past and it really pisses me off that management doesn't see them for what they really are. Nice spin and it really brought back memories. Some good, and some bad.

Jan said...

Owning a very small company where we interact with each employee intimately on a daily basis allows us to know who is pulling their weight and who is coasting along. Fortunately for us, even the coasters do a damn fine job (our salesman notwithstanding, but sales staff are often in a class all their own).

My last job, however, was my first and last experience in corporate America. I was amazed at how far lazy, inept employees could get by brown-nosing and ass-kissing. I was amazed at how many of the management staff were aware these people were brown-nosing and ass-kissing, and let them get away with it. I gave notice there when I was called into a meeting with my manager and coworker (the coworker had been hired by said manager because she knew how to flirt with the poor old guy and bat her eyelashes at him). We were chewed to pieces by the VP of Marketing for a poorly executed special project - that I had nothing to do with. I sat there with my mouth open, incredulous that I had been included in this ass-chewing when I was working on a separate project - alone - that was going very, very well.

Later, the VP came to me and said he was sorry for including me in that and hoped I wouldn't take it "the wrong way." I just looked at him and said, "Too late." When I got home, I told Beloved what had happened and he said, "Well, it's time you started working for The Company, so give your notice." The VP seemed shocked when I did, but I don't know how he could have seen that it was coming. The day before I left, the manager and coworker were laid off.

Tell me, Pseudo, the initials of the up-and-coming restaurateur wouldn't happen to have been "Roy Yamiguchi" would it? ;)

mo.stoneskin said...

Those types are everywhere. But more importantly, I've learnt something new today. The term "sneaker fart". It's wonderful!

Debbie said...

Back when I got paid for what I did, this type of thing drove me insane. And why does management never see through these people? Sad.

Pearl said...

I work banquet jobs on the weekend, and I completely know where you're coming from on this one. I'm always amazed at how the bosses don't see through the horn-blowing of the laziest of the crew. I've worked with a gal that does very little outside of flirt with the kitchen staff and fill water glasses and pick up napkins at the end of the night, yet inexplicably she continues to get jobs...
Pearl

only a movie said...

Well, I had that "situation" last year where one of my assistants was getting special recognition...

:-) I hate this type of dynamic. Ack.

A good friend of mine has been at a restaurant for 20 years. I'm sending her the link to this. I've heard this same scenario from her so many times.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I think it's the squeaky wheel getting the grease. I hate obnoxious people like that!

anymommy said...

Seriously, there is always one!

Joanie M said...

Being in the restaurant business, I understand exactly what you're talking about. I find that the ones who have to praise themselves do it because no one else will. We have and have had our fair share of people like that here at my job. UGH!!! I just don't understand how the bosses don't see it! It's so obvious to everyone else!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Pseudo, this is exactly what I had in mind! People who take the simplest process and make it into such an obstacle course and then trumpet their accomplishments to all that would hear, including as a side note those who didn't pull their share, giving the victor all the more glory for slaying the lazy dragon as well. Well done! It would have been all the better if the sneaker fart got caught and never got what she wanted out of it, but at least Glinda also got what she deserved, TRULY deserved.
Wonderful Spin, you're linked!

Captain Dumbass said...

Oh ya. Thankfully we all lost our jobs and I never have to see her ever again. Which is good since it will keep me out of prison.

smiles4u said...

Oh yes, I have known people like this and I like you have a really hard time restraining myself from wanting to stab them with a fork, to deflate their big ego's. I think you hit this spin right on the head!

Ann's Rants said...

Sneaker fart...that is AWESOME.

What a frustrating story.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

... like making mountains out of sneaker farts.

Such a great sensory detail, though.

Mrsbear said...

I have never heard the term sneaker fart. I feel like I missed out on the punchline. I worked with a lady like that, she managed the technical library and was forever bragging about how well she kept things updated and how overwhelmed she was with work. I know from having assisted her, she spent the better part of her day on the telephone, walking around barefoot in her office, and drinking tea. Then she'd misfile everything and blame the "help" when she got audited. But I'm not bitter...;) Great spin, I hope Bitch Witch got warts.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Sneaker Farts = the quiet ones that are actually deadly...

Isn't it sad that we all know who we are talking about and they so rarely get busted.

Brigit said...

Sounds all too familiar. None of it happens where I work now. Maybe because it is just so small, and owner operated, I don't know. I'm very lucky. Where I work is beautiful, and I work with a great team. I've been there for a year now, and its the first time I can say that in many, many years.

bernthis said...

i know exactly where you are coming from and it drives me nuts.

thistle said...

Oh...the stories i could tell about snaeker farts. I'm working 'for' the queen of them right now. I'm starting to think you have to be a sneaker fart with an extremely lon nose to get a management position in the non-profit sector. Lord knows you don't get it based on your actual job experience or skills or eduacation or anything silly like that :(

Jack said...

Being a small business owner, I have never had to deal with this in the work place but have encounter a few ass kisser when I was a student. and even some family members that have their heads so far up the butts of other family members.

My father use to say...
"It's not what you know it's who you know and how far your willing to go to get there".

Midlife Mama said...

This is a great spin. There's a difference between a little judicious horn-tooting and vicious backstabbing. Sometimes you have to ensure that your boss is aware of your accomplishments, but it can be done in a classy manner. There's a big difference between that and climbing to the top by pulling on the handles of the knives planted in the backs of your co-workers. Wowzers. And a boss who can't see that is an asshat all his/her own and would definitely be worth a job change.

Midlife Mama said...

@thistle: I'm a member of management in a nonprofit, I promise you I am not a sneaker fart! However, some of my fellow mangers are.... so I understand where you're coming from. Nonprofit is completely different than a for-profit environment.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Although it is not something I am comfortable with, I do realize a bit of judcious horn tooting is part of savvy self-promotion. I just am sick of the ones who use it as a main mode of operation, and then do the exaggeration thing. What irks me most is the boss not knowing the difference.

Oz Girl said...

I think we need to remember that oftentimes the reason management doesn't see through these people is because they used to BE these people themselves. The running theme in all these comments is that these braggarts who in reality do NOTHING always seem to glide up the ladder into management.

I've been there myself... my son and his wife had more than their share of stories when they were waiters in their college days. I now hear the stories from my husband and I'm still amazed at who makes it into mgmt and somehow maintains their position amongst all their ineptitudes.

*sigh* In spite of my excitement while I look for a new job, these are the reasons I fear a new job. :-(

OH, and I thoroughly enjoyed the new term "sneaker fart" also. LOL

Ginger said...

Yep. They are everywhere. Darn old backstabbers. I am very familiar with a couple of heinous ones that I, unfortunately, have had to work with. They do less than anyone, encourage everyone else to do less and yet they are the first ones to run to the supervisor to tattle tale anything they think they see, or even anything they think they can make up. They hate me, because I "do too much work" (their words, not mine)so they recently tried this tactic on me. My machines were down (but I had a good reason) so they ran to tell management all about it. Thankfully, I had written proof that I was working, doing something else, or the supervisor that they have "kissed" so many times and thinks they are both gifts from God would have believed them. And I would have had a disciplinary write up!

Nubian said...

Wise words my father always said...

"When climbing the ladder of success, be very careful who you step on, on your way up, because those are the people you pass on your way down"

I have had MANY an opportunity to witness the "holier than thou" pass back down... widest smile I ever had!

Hit 40 said...

I am surprised that she got away with this... probably because she split the tips evenly.

Brown nosing is an art... it's a bitch. But, if you do not join the game, you are screwed!!!!

Since I am a teacher, I haven't tried to hard to play. I get paid the same no matter if I brown nose or not. I honestly work hard for the students. I would feel bad if they could point back to me screwing them over with their lack of knowledge.

My hubby on the other hand.... we both plot out how to play the game for where he works!

Melissa B. said...

Oh, how this tale rings true! I just finished a round of interviews with my cherubs for next year's editor positions. All in all, the convos were civilized, and several kiddos showed real maturity and insight. One gal, who quite possibly could be related to Bitch Witch, spent her entire 15 minutes telling me why I should pick her and why I should not pick the others. Let's just say I didn't pick her.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Our office is so small and we've all been there forever so this doesn't really happen but I can't get over "sneaker farts" I'm totally stealing that one. Great spin, Pseudo!

Pancake said...

I so can relate! Interesting they both own a business.... wonder how they treat the munchkins that work for them?

kendrasue said...

I have a coworker who is like Bitch Witch. He thinks that everything he does is God's gift when in reality he messes up quite frequently and tries to blame other people. Annoying.

Casey said...

Oof, I've known many bitch witches through the years and it was hard not to shove a fork up their asses. The thing that would have stopped me would be thinking about the next customer who had to eat off of that fork after it had ass on it.

At least Glenda made it big time and didn't get stuck on the bottom of the pack for being too nice...

creative kerfuffle said...

i hate people like that. frankly, this is one of the reasons i was laid off. the person on my staff who remained was like the bitch witch (plus she made less than me). she had no integrity. we were in publishing and she had no ethics as far as separation of edit/advertising, and so because she tooted her own horn and sucked up she's still there. i get through things like this w/ the idea that karma will catch up w/ her. i bet at some point bitch witch's business slumps and glenda's thrives. what goes around comes around.