I ventured into the realm of Sauron again. Took a job with Sodexo as a “Kitchen Lead” (translated: lunch lady) at Waldport High School. All I can say is “yikes” – yup that’s the word that springs to mind when I recall September 2014 through February 2015.
First off, I started early every morning and left late every afternoon. I thought that I was just unfamiliar with the processes of the job and gave my time to learn them. Over 5 months I was able to speed up a bit, but only by scheduling myself to work from 5:30 AM until whenever I could get the clean up finished. I felt that I should only charge for 6.5 hours even though I was often working until 2:30 or 3:00 PM. I was expected to stay long for inventory once per month, so I got paid for that extra time. I was also expected to stay long and help other employees prepare food that required over night thawing for the next morning. For this, I just got a thank you.
Then, I ran into an old friend and discovered that she had worked for Sodexo in the same county. Her take on it, after finally leaving, was that she had been set up to fail. That’s the feeling I left with, too. However, I might have stayed for the entertainment of “high school drama.” But, even my caring for the individuals of which I became fond, was not enough after my best helper was “fired” by my boss.
It seems that the previous “lunch lady” had a hard time with this kid and kicked him out of her kitchen. He told me about it right up front when he was suggested to me by his counselor as a student helper. I just told him that if he messed with me that I’d kick his butt – we were friends from that point on. He was very insecure, carried his past “mis-deeds” around as a weight on his shoulders. I spent a lot of energy talking to him, trying to encourage him. Deep down, he was a good kid. My boss found out this kid was working for me after a few months, came in to my kitchen and told me to get rid of him. He wandered into the kitchen at that moment to get ready to work the lunch shift. I gave him the news as I stared directly into my boss’s eyes with my arm around his shoulder. A week later, I turned in my resignation (on friendly terms), did damage control for this kid – talked to his dad, talked to him quite a bit, introduced him to the new lunch lady as a boy who was becoming a fire fighter (not as the boy who got kicked out of my kitchen), made sure everyone who asked knew that the decision was not mine to let him go.
I hope I am not forced by financial circumstance to go back to a corporation for a job. Saying never is not wise, yet, I am too old and set in my “ways” to go in hoping for a fulfilling experience.
This chapter is dedicated to Blake, the fire fighter.