December 11, 2013


For a while I have been contemplating whether a person's bad behavior could be excusable due to their circumstances, or if there really is no excuse for bad behavior?

During my career search in the summer I found myself serving at two different restaurants to make ends meet. When I got my full time job I continued working at one restaurant, in which I still work there now on weekends.

I chose staying in this restaurant because the manager is nice and very flexible with the schedule, and I chose to continue working because it's a fast way to make some extra cash to buy wonderful unnecessary things. I get along with everyone, other servers, managers, bartenders, kitchen staff, except for the chef.

Like every chef in the restaurant business he is constantly stressed, and he takes it out on the servers. Hard.

This chef is verbally abusive. He constantly yells at servers, amplify their small mistakes and calling them incompetent in front of the entire kitchen staff. Whenever servers miss something small and insignificant, he takes that opportunity and publicly taunt and shame them. Whenever servers ask him a question he sarcastically answers or turns it into something condensing. He makes people feel small.

Everyone is aware of his bad temper. But everyone lets him get away with it. He's the chef of the restaurant. Everyone else can be replaced.

And so his ego gets bigger, he becomes more vulgar with his insults and more condensing with his replies.

This chef is not like that to all servers, though. He's dating one of the server and so he spares her the yelling. As for me, I am one of his 'chosen' ones that he channel all his aggression and anger on. I'm his verbal shitbucket.

Let's say his past situation involved him on a path to get a honors degree in math at the University of Waterloo. He even had a job lined up with NASA. And since life is never how we plan and for whatever reason, he never finished his degree and instead became a chef. Working in the kitchen is a hard job. It's physically demanding, some customers make difficult requests, and the hours are shitty. Let's say that this made him resentful towards others with career jobs with the freedom to work a side serving job in his kitchen. And whenever this chef sees people who have taken the path he thought he would have, he sees what his life could have been and he gets bitter.

This past weekend I got yelled at for something that wasn't even a mistake or a big deal at all. The customer wanted the egg in her sandwich to be poached instead of fried. This chef called me stupid because "how can you close a sandwich with a poached egg?!" in which I asked "can't we just have it an open faced sandwich?". That got him even more angry, in which he started his public shaming of saying things such as how he 'could easily do my job', in front of the whole kitchen and the manager.

We all have our breaking points. Every weekend it becomes more dreading to work at the restaurant knowing my shift solely depend on the chef's mood. I have envisioned many times where I give him a piece of my mind and a lecture on how how he ought to treat others. Everyone is stressed in some ways, but stress doesn't give some people the rights to take it out on others.

There is no excuse for bad behavior.

As humans we are programmed to be forgiving. When someone wrongs us under certain circumstances we forgive them, but when someone starts abusing others' forgiving nature then perhaps we need to draw a line. Sometimes by letting people get away with their bad behaviors we actually empower them with that behavior, such as this case.

Financially I don't need this job, but I do have reasons why I've kept it for now. I don't know how much longer I will be working there. But I do know that once people start identifying other people's bad behavior as a part of their personality, getting out of that shameful label isn't easy.