Monday, September 8, 2014

Dish Pit Update: Interesting Dishwashing Update

I tried to make sense of my situation from the Biblical perspective, and this is what I came up with. I tried to defend my view, so that we could hopefully come up with the truth. The rest of my post tells you all.

Thanks again for everything.

Things got real interesting. TL;DR version: I got a warning by 2 coworkers that I and the other new guy were too slow; I prayed for a miracle, and 3 or 4 interesting things happened. I encourage you to read the long version, though. It's like reading a modern day Bible story, in my opinion.

It started at the end of a shift, when a bunch of people came to help me close. They were both saying that I and the other new dish washer needed to be able to do a lot more than we did. In other words, after weeks of experience, we should be able to go faster. So, I prayed, and I prayed for a miracle. Things looked pretty grim.

By the end of the week, I did a lot better. They were beginning to cheer, and to pass me compliments. In the middle of the week, I asked the best dishwasher to give me a letter grade, he estimated that I got about a C for my performance during the second hardest part of that shift. At the end of the week, he gave me an A for the same part, and an A for just before the hardest part [if I recall correctly]. I thought that he was just being polite, but I did find it a little encouraging.

I consider this to be miraculous, because I normally don't move myself fast compared to other people, so in order to keep up I needed a little help. I am quite certain that the physical skills that I have are temporary, more so than for other people. We'll never know, though.

I thought that that would be the end of the story, but things got even more interesting, when 1 of those 2 coworkers, whom I shall call 'the antagonist" gave an unusual direct order to not soak any dishes or pans, and to wash them in the order that they came in, regardless of what was most needed. He is 1 of 2 first chefs, which seem to be like assistant managers. They can send you home early and order you around. He was the only person in the entire kitchen to come up with such an unusual ideas. Often, when I pass his orders and the orders of another manager, I get these weird looks, with "I've been working here for _____ months [or weeks or years], and I've never done that." That's why I am so distrustful of the management here.

This really stressed me out, because I was just starting to make progress, and to have a direct order block me from maintaining my speed could have easily spelled doom. I'm sure that if I tried, I could have reported it to the manager, but I didn't want to come across as ratting out a coworker, and I didn't know how the manager would react. So, I prayed for a miracle; that is, *if* I recall correctly, and my memory has been failing.

The next day, or the day after, I went in, and came across a third coworker. All coworkers tend to pass me hints and tips on how to do my job, however, this third coworker has been a little persistent. I think that it's because I happen to see him on transit, and then we end up chatting. So, I passed him the order to not soak the dishes, because his advice was to set up a tub of hot water. I didn't really like his advice, because his specific technique seemed to take a lot of extra time in the grand scheme of things. The manager, who hired me, overheard the conversation, and then asked, what the antagonist said. So I repeated it to the manager, and then the manager said to not worry about the antagonist. The manager committed to speaking to the antagonist. He also explained that the antagonist believes that he knows more about dish washing than he really knows, and that seems to match my observations.

I found this interesting, because conflicts normally don't work out so smoothly for me. In this case, 1 antagonist cancelled out the suggestion/order of another antagonist, and then a supporter cancelled out the remaining order of another antagonist.

Another interesting aspect of this story, is that if I hadn't bothered to pass on the order at that specific time, then the manager would have had to find out about it another way, in order to help me out, and I don't know how that would happen, since I would have avoided reporting the problem.

Another interesting aspect of the story is that the antagonist isn't really an actual antagonist in real life. He's caring, and polite. On a conscious level, he probably is trying to do what is best for the organization and the individual. He doesn't seem to overwork anybody. I find that he cooks really well, too. I highly doubt that he is playing politics or those social status games. All these things are probably what make problems so challenging. Sometimes, we look at who is mistreating us, and then we categorize them into enemies, and then we don't trust them.

I wondered if there was an example of this in the Bible, and I did find something. I also wondered if there were an opposite example, where somebody might try to hurt us or ruin our plans, but in the grand scheme of things, they might actual propel us forward. Not surprisingly, I found a couple of great examples of this in the Bible.

Jacob had many sons, and he favoured Joseph, right? God's plan was to pull Joseph to the place, where he could command all of Egypt, except Pharaoh, to save them from the famine. Joseph did everything to hold Joseph back to protect Joseph, but that was antagonistic, because it conflicted with God's plan. Even though Jacob thought of himself as a good guy, he really was an antagonist. Even though Jacob's actions took place in a family context, this could also be thought of as a work context, where Jacob was the boss, so we can look at it for insight to our work problems.

Joseph's problems didn't end there. When he was in Potiphar's house, Potiphar kept Joseph in slavery, which was antagonistic towards Joseph and Jacob's goals, but it also kept Joseph moving towards God's goals. That means that in the grand scheme of things, Potiphar wasn't really an antagonist. We often think of an antagonist as a somebody who opposes us, and prevents us from getting what we want. They are often characterized as uncaring, evil, and rude. In the grand scheme of things, this could be completely untrue.

Is there a better example than Potiphar? Yes! His wife takes up the lion's share of verses in the chapter. She tried to pull him towards her goals, which was in opposition to what Jacob and Joseph wanted, and when Joseph resisted, she pushed him deeper into slavery, which was even farther away from what Joseph and Jacob wanted. It could be said that she was even more of a helper to God and Joseph than Potiphar was.

I'm still a bit mixed up on my own story, but I think that the moral of my story and a lesson that we can learn from Joseph's story is that we are supposed to continue to do the right thing, and we have to pick our battles, and we need to be aware of who will push us forward. Having friends at work [or not having friends] is great, but that is completely separate from is pushing us forward. Also, next time, somebody says, "Hey, don't worry about that.", he might be right about the immediate context, but it might be a sign that trouble is brewing in the greater context. For example, the guy who is continually training me, also has to submit to the antagonist, unless the manager steps in. So, if I ignore what the antagonist says, while the antagonist is there, then things won't work well.

Another interesting thing is that a fourth coworker took 1 of the things that I had set up for my use. I tried to talk to him about it, and then suggest that he use a similar thing instead, but he kept giving me attitude. Based on the positive results with my manager, I decided to report it to my manager, and it worked out okay.

Things were going so well, so I asked my manager if I could set aside time to teach the other new dishwasher some hints and tips that I picked up, and my manager agreed. The other dishwasher and I have 1 time during a normal week, where our shifts overlap. I believe that this is a good time to teach, because things are slow, and we can take our time to learn and practise.

Things weren't going smoothly, when I tried to teach him, which surprised me, because he liked my teaching at the beginning. I decided to be persistent, but that only antagonized him, which kind of makes me an antagonist, doesn't it? So, my antagonist came and ordered me to stop doing what I was doing, even after I explained that I had permission from the manager. I was tempted to fight this battle, but I decided to accept the "loss". We have to pick our battles, right? After all, the dishwasher wasn't interested in learning, and it was his job on the line. I did my part in preparing things to teach him. I looked out for him and the kid that he was supporting. It was up to him now.

Frankly speaking, I find it kind of unethical to not learn as much as possible about your job. In this day and age, even getting a part time job is almost a luxury, so I think that if he fails to perform, then he deserves to be fired. I kind of wish that he would be fired, just so that I could see the story unfold to its logical conclusion. I think that he wasn't able to read the context very well, and he made an unwise judgement on what to do. That being said, I do hope that he manages to keep the job.

I felt justified in believing my assumptions about his skill, because even the experienced dishwashers didn't use the same techniques that I discovered in this short time. I was really surprised to discover that.

The story doesn't end there. The antagonist started sending people home, if they didn't wear safe shoes. It's required by law and by the insurance company. I would have probably been sent home, if it weren't for the fact that I bought the right shoes just the day before. The day before was my birthday, so it was probably the best time to buy things that I needed. It felt like a treat, whether or not it really was. It's like God compelled me to buy shoes just at the last possible moment.

Most/All of these facts are pretty obvious, in and of themselves, but putting them together to guide us to get what we need and want are a bit challenging. I hope that I shed light on how you can help yourselves.

Also, all of these events are not miraculous in and of themselves. It's really the stringing together of the events that make this so miraculous.

I also hope that I gave you a meaningful update on what is going on in my life.

The end. Thank you for reading!

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